Santa Fe food trucks, trialers carts and stands, the first in a series about inexpensive dining in Santa Fe was updated 1/22/2015
Santa Fe food trucks, stands and carts can offer a money saving solution in a city where dining out can be a pricey. if you know where to go, you can dine well and not break the bank. There are a lot of ethnic restaurants where food is tasty and prices are reasonable. Some of the best dining bargains in town are found at Santa fe food trucks, carts and stands. (The term food “trucks is in quotes because there is an ordinance against food trucks. Recently, the City Council voted to allow food trucks city-wide. They have to be at least 150 feet from a food business and move every three hours. They also have allocated three, first-come, first-serve basis from 6pm daily. Prior to that, food “trucks” had to have a stationary location in order to sell food in Santa Fe.)
People love these outdoor dining venues and some have developed loyal followings. When dining on the street, bring cash; some accept credit cards but, at Santa Fe food trucks and stands, cash is king.
Santa Fe food trucks, carts and stands
Bang Bite (505 Cerrillos Road (505-469-2345), which opened at the corner of Old Santa Fe Trail and Paseo de Peralta in late October 2013, was a hit from the beginning. They moved to the parking just north of the Luna Complex on Cerrillos in November 2015. Chef/owner Enrique Guerrero haf a following in Santa Fe, most recently as owner of Mangiamo Pronto, a small Italian café on Old Santa Fe Trail. He sold the café in 2011. The bright orange trailer offers a seasonal menu, ranging from soups to burgers, to tacos to fresh pasta, to seafood. When asked if there’s a culinary theme, Guerrero’s reply was “great food.” Basically, besides the set seasonal menu, the truck will offer what the chef feels like cooking. It’s a good recipe to stay fresh and passionate about what you are doing. Read more about Bang Bite on Santa Fe Travelers.
Authors note: Bang Bite won Santa Fe’s 2015 Green Chile Cheeseburger Smackdown.
Bonzai Asian Tacos
We were hearing great things about Bonsai Asian Tacos, opened in the spring of 2015 at 3668 Cerrillos Road (they moved to 1599 South St. Francis drive in the fall. We head some good things about and had to check it out. It’s a winner. Mexican Native, Chef Juan Carlos Ruvalcaba has hit a home run with his bright red trailer mixing the taco from his homeland with the flavors of Asia. Veteran of the Terra kitchen under both Chefs Charles Dale and Andrew Cooper, he is a master of flavors. We’ve went there three times in a bit over a week. That says a lot. We love his regular tacos sampling the pulled pork and the beef bulgogi (Korean-style beef). The three taco plate will overwhelm the average appetite. We asked for an extra one and had two each. With a bit of soup and salad it was a filling dinner. The “Xtrem” offers two HUGE tacos with a choice of Korean BBQ beef or duck confit. We tried both. If we had to pick a favorite, we’d go with the beef. Vegans will love this place, too. It’s easy to get most of the offerings sans animal products. Don’t miss the seasonal flavorful Man.Avo.Co (mango, avocado and coconut), a cold soup redolent of lemon grass, lemon leaf, garlic and other flavors that will make your taste buds zing and sing. Bonsai Asian Tacos also offers Asian-style stir fries as well as a burger. Hours can vary and they do some special events so call (505) 316-9418 to make sure they’re open before you go.
Chicago Dog Express
Chicago Dog Express: (600 Cerrillos Road) This hot dog stand’s been a fixture at this busy intersection since the late seventies.. They offer the American classic in a variety of ways. The big seller is the Chicago Dog, loaded with veggies. The Santa Fe Classic and the Coney Dogs are also big sellers. It’s the one I get, Steve orders the Chi Dog. Try the Frito Pie, a local favorite. They’re open Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:00pm (breakfast (burritos and Frito Pies served until 10:30) Saturdays they’re open 10:30 to 4:00. In 2010, they opened a stand at the northeast corner of the Plaza selling hot dogs and Frito Pies. They are there daily in spring and summer, weather permitting, from 11:30am to 2:30pm.
El Chile Toreado
El Chile Toreado: (Cordova Road between St. Francis Drive and Cerrillos Road) This taco/burrito stand has been serving Mexican food for breakfast and lunch Monday to Friday for years. They are a block from Trader Joe’s and around the corner from the St. Francis Drive Whole Foods. There is often a line. Call ahead and order.
Roque’s Carnitas: (Santa Fe Plaza at Old Santa Fe Trail and San Francisco Street) Roque Garcia has been serving up beef carnitas (marinated grilled meat served in a tortilla) and other New Mexican treats at his cart on the Santa Fe Plaza since the mid-1980s. While Roque’s offers tamales and quesadillas, the thing to eat here is carnitas. Thin sliced beef and onions and green chile are grilled right before your eyes and placed in a flour tortilla that’s been heated on the grill. It’s then topped with a tomato, onion, and chopped jalapeño salsa, wrapped in foil, and handed to you with a bunch of napkins. You’ll need them. Hold the carnitas away from your body while you eat it; this heavenly wrap leaks a lot of juice. If you don’t eat beef, Roque’s also makes a chicken version. Roque’s Carnitas is open seven days a week from mid-April through the end of October. Hours are from 10am to 3pm. Winters are spent in sunny Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. If you’re in Santa Fe, and want a quick, delicious, inexpensive lunch, stop by and order one and say, “Steve and Billie sent me.”
If you have a favorite Santa Fe food truck, cart or stand you want to share, let us know.