Food Porn: Monte Alban

A few weeks ago I traveled to Medina with the Lloyd guys in an attempt to try Monte Alban’s taco stand. It didn’t work out because the taco stand was closed for a wedding, but we managed to have some really good tacos down the street at a second taco stand (El Gran Burrito). I didn’t want to wait long to make the long trip back to Medina, so last weekend I made another taco run after some apple picking at the lovely LynOaken Farms.

This taco truck/stand really doesn’t stand out from the road so it’s easy to pass it by. All you can see from the road is an open window on a long, white trailer. There is no sign, they don’t have a printed menu and they have only a single picnic table for outdoor dining. They also don’t make it that easy to eat there for those not in the immediate area. The hours for the taco stand (different then the store) are Friday through Sunday from 11am (ish) to 6 (ish) and it’s cash only. There is an indoor eating area with several tables, some napkins and a television that was playing a Spanish version of MTV.

The menu is simple: tacos and tortas (sandwiches). You have to ask what meats they are offering that day as they seem to change based on what they have on hand. On this particular day they were serving chorizo, al pastor (a sweet pork), beef, chicken and pork. I asked for one of each and ended up with 7 tacos and a couple doubles. The English of the women working on the truck is limited, so expect some mistakes. The tacos are prepared in the traditional Mexican style with the meat chopped into small pieces and served on a small tortilla with just onion and cilantro. Some of the tacos were great, specifically the chorizo and al pastor. The chorizo had nice heat while the al pastor was tender and sweet. However, the chicken, pork and beef were dry and chewy. After adding some hot sauce, the tacos improved slightly, but I was still a bit disappointed.

Our friend Andrew Galarneau emphasized how good the tortas are, so we ordered an al pastor one. It was pretty much a Mexican sub, served on a toasted roll with meat, lettuce, refried beans and some soft queso blanco. As with the tacos, the al pastor was sweet and tender, if I had ordered beef or chicken the torta probably would not have been as good. It’s not exactly a mind blowing sandwich or something that couldn’t be recreated, but I would definitely order one again if I happened to be in the area.

We left Monte Alban only party satisfied and still hungry, so we traveled a couple feet down the 31 to El Gran Burrito and ordered a quesadilla and some more tacos. In comparison, I think the flavor of the standard chicken/pork/beef tacos at El Gran are much more complex and interesting. Not to mention that the do-it-yourself spicy red sauce and avocado sauce at El Gran are really fantastic. If I had to choose between the two taco stands, El Gran Burrito would definitely win.

I’ve read reviews online that have mentioned more exotic meats (brain, ‘headmeat’, tongue) available for tacos at Monte Alban, but unfortunately those weren’t available on our trip. It’s still fun going to a taco stand that not many people know about to have an authentic Mexican meal, but if you are making the trip to Medina make sure it’s not just for these tacos.

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