Cooking with Kids: Now You're Speaking My Lengua
What is it about taco trucks? Does anybody not love them, aside from competing Mexican restaurant owners? Do four-year-olds love taco trucks?
I decided to find out. I took my four-year-old daughter, Iris, to Tacos El Asadero this week, and I think it's fair to say Tacos El Asadero is now her favorite place in the entire world.
El Asadero is Seattle's best-known taco truck—a bus, actually, where you can sit inside and enjoy your taco, mulita, or torta while staring through filmy old bus windows. We stepped inside and ordered several tacos at $1 each. Iris's favorite was the lengua, tender braised beef tongue. She entertained other customers by singing, "Lengua, lengua, lengua," to the tune of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." Then she stole one of my tortillas and created her own taco with a mix of lengua, carnitas, and carne asada. "I'm eating a real taco!" she declared, dropping meat on the floor of the bus.
So, I think my experiment conclusively establishes that even picky kids love taco trucks, but I still don't quite know why. The food was tasty, of course, and we enjoyed the novelty of eating inside a bus. Iris was able to take charge of the whole process, which made her feel grown-up. She could tell I liked the place, and that probably rubbed off on her, but when I took her out for a croque-monsieur at my favorite French place a couple weeks ago, she wasn't terribly impressed. Overall, the taco bus wouldn't seem to offer a kid anything better than a trip to Burgerville.
Iris likes eating at Burgerville, but it's not a life-changing experience. When we got home from the taco bus, in contrast, Iris told me, "I think they should park a taco bus in front of our house and it should stay there for a hundred years." Me too.
About the author: Matthew Amster-Burton lives in Seattle. His work appears frequently in the Seattle Times and Seattle magazine. He also maintains the blog Roots and Grubs. His favorite food is pad Thai.
Tacos El Asadero
Address: 3517 Rainier Ave S, Seattle, WA 98144 (map)
Hours: 10am - 10pm daily