by Keith Kanderski
Walnut Wednesdays – June 3rd
The passageway to summer in downtown Cleveland starts with Walnut Wednesdays, on the corner of East 12th and Walnut. This event is a gathering of food trucks and typically includes performances by local musicians. It will happen each and every Wednesday (rain or shine) from May 6th – September 30th from 11am – 1:30pm. The goal for me is to patronize a different truck each week.
Beautiful weather. Mid-60s. I went a little later than normal this week due to a meeting, so I’m not sure if the extra crowds were because of the perfect weather or because of me being there at a later time. In any case, it was great seeing a part of downtown Cleveland bustling with activity.
Barrio also has three brick and mortar shops (Tremont, Lakewood, Gateway). I went to the Lakewood location once and enjoyed it (it was actually at a get-together to discuss this blog). Anyway, after seeing the Barrio Taco truck for a while, I finally tried it out.
I ordered one of each taco (Chicken, Chorizo, and Bean). In a change from my norm, I went with my boss, and we decided to head back to the office after ordering; I had been eating in the park. I’d say this decision turned out to be a good one.
Barrio keeps it simple, which seems to be perfect for a truck. Each taco comes topped with Barrio Slaw, Queso Fresco (translation: fresh cheese), and Ohio Sweet Corn Salsa. The variance is typically just the protein and the sauce. They’ve hit on a great interchangeable combination, as the filler combined with the unique ingredients perfectly. For me, I admit that I’m a sucker for corn in my tacos. I love flour tortillas with fresh corn inside, so they already hit my flavor loves right there.
I started with the black bean, and the beans were perfectly soft yet firm. There is a fine line between undercooked and overcooked (or soaked) beans, and these were perfect. The chicken was next. It was also tender and spiced well. It is easy for chicken to be bland, but they had it flavored nicely. Lastly, the chorizo. There was some spice on this one. I don’t know if it came from the meat, the aioli, or both. I didn’t feel much heat from the previous two, but this one had my nose running for a good while afterwards. The taste of it was…well…it tasted like chorizo, which is a Mexican sausage. It’s great in eggs, taco, or anything else you can think of that would have a crumbled meat. Barrio, by the way, has a great one. On a side note, Trader Joe’s has/had (I assume they still have it) a Vegetarian or Vegan chorizo that I highly recommend (it’s been too long – I need to explore that again). The only issue I almost had with the tacos (and this is a common issue amongst trucks) is that the sauce was watery enough that it slid right out the back of my taco. If I was eating at the park, I think I would’ve been a mess. My desk, luckily, took the hit until I was able to eat the taco a bit more cleanly.
The service was friendly. The food was excellent. The price is right along with what you will find at the other taco trucks, but the food quality is near the top. One word of warning, Barrio only accepts cash, so make sure you bring some of the green along to taste these wonderful tacos.
Which trucks will be there next week? What will be on their menus? Which one will I try? Tune in next week. Same truck time. Same truck channel.