Intense, Greasy, and Focused: Vallarta's Tacos Are Perfect Late-Night Food

matt m./Yelp
The taco-maker's moved inside, but everything else is the same.
Taqueria Vallarta used to keep its taco contraption out on 24th Street, an alluring, insidious cart with a built-in metal bowl heaped with small piles of various meaty fillings ― chorizo, pollo, cabeza, and so on ― all sizzling away, oozing their juices into one another. At 2 a.m. ― when we typically stopped by ― we always imagined the spread as a flower, with the fillings like petals radiating off from a center of grilled onions.

Today, the cart is inside the establishment and you pay $1.50 at the counter for each taco you want. The tacos are small, but intense, greasy, and focused. There is no cheese or guacamole. There are no beans. They come on paper plates, and you customize each steaming disc topped with pinches of crunchy, chewy, hacked-up meat on your own from the bar of fixings along the front of the cart, adding minced raw onions, cilantro, radish slices, and lime wedges as you see fit, and finally, tossing on spoonfuls of fresh green salsa, a less spicy red, or a thicker, darker, longer-cooked sauce redolent of smoked chiles. We think of them as the taqueria equivalent of White Castle sliders because they're petite, available late, and usually consumed in pairs ― though you wouldn't want to buy anything this messy by the sack.

Taqueria Vallarta 3033 24th St. (at Balmy ), 826-8116

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