El Paso, TX: Border Eats – Nov 28, 2012

By Contributor | ElPasoinc.com

 Tacoholics

Two years ago, Jessie Pena pioneered the gourmet food truck craze that has hit El Paso. The Tacoholics team found success serving their signature brand of tacos and sandwiches late at night. That success has brought them to an unlikely brick and mortar location inside an Eastside gas station.

The new location also has a new ordering format. Options are endless when you can choose combinations of proteins, tortillas, styles and salsas. Tacos can be purchased individually or in groups of four corn or two flour. Choose between chicken, pork, sirloin or tofu in four styles topped with a choice of four salsas that are made fresh daily.

Plain style, which isn’t plain at all, is seared and seasoned with southwest flavors. A South Texan contains grilled onions and queso fresco, while Campechanos style is topped with homemade chorizo. The most popular style is influenced by a taco that has taken the country by storm thanks to L.A.’s popular Kogi Korean BBQ food truck. Tacoholics is the only place in El Paso where you can enjoy this style of taco. Meat is glazed with a Korean BBQ sauce and topped with cabbage, sriracha and sesame seeds.
If you’re in the mood for something heartier, order the Mexican Philly or La Torta 915 – creatively constructed sandwiches inspired by our region.

All ingredients are fresh and locally sourced, including the tortillas and bread. Anyone fortunate to be within 3 miles of the gas station can have their meal delivered for a minimal fee. On occasion, the food truck can still be found during the late hours of the night. 
Food truck: various locations and times, static location inside the Exxon gas station at 7450 Gateway East. Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. (or until sold out) Price range: $1.50-$6. Vegetarian friendly (corn tortilla tacos and tortas; flour tortilla contains lard). For info visit www.tacoholics.comfacebook.com/tacoholics ortwitter.com/tacoholics.

Maracas

If you’ve ever shopped at the Outlet Shoppes in Canutillo and gotten hungry, chances are you decided to grab a quick bite in the food court. You probably didn’t know that down the street in an abandoned gas station, Ray Ortiz is serving up New York-style Puerto Rican food.

Pressed sandwiches brushed with garlic butter that come in three sizes are the heart of the menu. The Cuban, and most popular menu item, has slow cooked pulled pork, ham, swiss, mustard and pickles. The Sandwich de Bistec is made with top sirloin tips that have been marinated in oregano and vinegar for two days. Sandwiches come with your choice of side, but most order the house specialty, garlic hash browns.

Stop in on Fridays from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. for Puerto Rican specialties such as tostones (fried plantains), pernil (pork shoulder marinated in vinegar and spices), arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas) and more.

Those that aren’t as adventurous can choose from breakfast items, burgers and classic sandwiches like the Philly Cheese Steak or Chicken sandwich.

El Pasoans should be aware that Puerto Rican food isn’t spicy and tends to be on the salty side. Maracas gladly accommodates by offering jalapeños upon request. All meals are served with a small container of Boston baked bean candies to help tame the garlicky aftertaste or to be used as maracas.

911 Talbot Ave., Canutillo, 915-877-7307. Hours: Saturday and Monday 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Tuesday-Friday 7 a.m.-8 p.m., Sunday 12 p.m.-4 p.m. Price range: $2-$10. Vegetarian friendly (veggie sandwich). For more info visitwww.facebook.com/maracas.

Three Legged Monkey

For all the reasons Three Legged Monkey has found itself in the headlines lately, what gets overlooked is that the Eastside bar is a popular spot to grab bar food during the day and late evening hours.

Typical bar fare can be found throughout the menu. The appetizer section has nachos, cheese fries, potato skins, onion rings, mushrooms, wings and quesadillas. Nachos are topped with homemade chile con queso, beans, shredded cheese, sour cream and your choice of beef, chicken or carne asada steak. Burgers, ribeye, chicken sandwiches and brisket tacos are also available.

Reasonable menu prices and good happy hour specials, along with an eclectic combination of sports memorabilia, large animal figures and arcade games make it a fun spot to visit. A court decision in December may change all that come February, so act on that of yours appetite now.

1550 Hawkins, 915-591-8817. Hours: Every day 11 a.m.-2 a.m. (kitchen closes at 12 a.m.). Price range: $3-8. Not vegetarian friendly. For more visit www.threeleggedmonkey.com (online menu differs from current menu).

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