La Chiquita – Our Taco Truck
Our Taco Truck was a part of our family. A very important part! We spent so many hours there preparing and selling tacos, it was almost a second home. We called her La Chiquita. She was the inspiration behind my logo.
Let me tell you about La Chiquita. She was about the size of a typical UPS truck. To enter La Chiquita, you opened a sliding door on the driver side, tilted the front seat forward and entered. The first thing you see as you turn to your right and follow the narrow path down is a sink with a faucet, much like a kitchen sink with a small ice box above it.
Further down is the prep station where we chopped and prepped the food with my parents. Below the prep station was the refrigerator where all the meat and the essential perishables for a day’s run were stored. Towards the end was a steam table where water was warmed up, and the prepped food was put to stay warm.
At the very end of the taco truck was the Big ‘Ol Grill, known simply as El Comal. This flat grill was where the magic happened. This is where Dad and Mom cooked everything. The tantalizing smell of sizzling meat made me want to eat the tacos instead of serving them. 😉 Thankfully there were 3 fans right above the grill for ventilation, just like in an industrial kitchen.
Running along the left, just opposite the steam table was the humongous 5 gallon fryer. If El Comal was the king, then the fryer was his second hand. The fryer had two baskets where we made the fries, chicken wings and tacos and many other yummy goodies. Thinking about it now, it was some amazing shit!
Almost the entire other side of the truck – about 90% – was the store front. It was where you made the moolah, it was your place of business. Everything a customer might want to buy was on display there – coffee, soda, condiments, you name it! But the most important parts were the menu display and the open windows.
We had a menu advertised but never updated it. We knew when customers were new because they would look at the menu. The menu was nicely scripted; it was done professionally but no, never updated 🙂 It didn’t have to be updated as most of our customers knew what they wanted. More on this to come in a future blog.
The window where people placed orders was a window to a taco world from the outside, almost like children getting a view of Disneyland. It was a place for people to interact with you after they’d placed their orders.
At one of the clubs we served, there was a security guard named Beto. He always came out to greet us and have tacos when we got there at night. Beto was awfully tall, close to 6’5”. At eye level, he would have to look at the top of the truck window. Beto was so tall that he would take me from the taco truck and put me on the roof of the club building. It would have been scary, but thankfully, my parents trusted him. Beto’s wife was a waitress at the same club. She came up to his belly button; she was that short!
The truck had a distinct noise and people knew she was coming down the street. Sometimes I hear noises similar to her and think it’s her. She wasn’t just a truck to us – she provided an honest living and kept us safe.