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Monday, March 31, 2008

Health Department Shuts Down Mediocre Taco Truck

posted by on March 31 at 13:30 PM

The Seattle Department of Health has ordered Rancho Bravos Tacos truck—on 2nd Ave North and North 45th—to close after inspectors found several health violations, including improper food storage and inadequate hand washing facilities.


The taco truck groupies I know have always raved about Rancho Bravo, but I’ve never been dazzled by their food. If you’re looking for a good burrito spot, check out the now-defunct Los Taco Trucks blog. I’d recommend heading up to the criminally underrated Taqueria La Pasadita near Northgate.

Photo via Flickr.

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Fuck. They had the best Tacos Al Pastor in town. The one by Northgate doesn't even compare.

Posted by C | March 31, 2008 1:32 PM

I wish that Seattle had more food-wagons. I get a bit jealous whenever I go down to Portland and see the multitudes of wagons they have. It's a guilty pleasure, but a pleasure nonetheless.

Posted by JC | March 31, 2008 1:41 PM

See people? The dork who thinks he's so cool for spewing Hummer-loads of pollution from a two-stroke moped is a hipster douche. Please learn to tell the difference.

You're allowed to kick those over, by the way.

Posted by elenchos | March 31, 2008 1:43 PM

Are you sure, Jonah? I tried to get a burrito here on Saturday and their sign said they were just "closed for the weekend". They were obviously cleaning the hell out of the thing, and my assumption was that it would reopen shortly.

Posted by DOUG. | March 31, 2008 1:45 PM

@ Doug-

The health dept. site says it's still closed. They're allowed to reopen whenever they get up to code, but I think it usually takes about a week.

Posted by Jonah S | March 31, 2008 1:57 PM

nooo! the only place in wallingford to grab a bite to eat after 2 am.

Posted by Cale | March 31, 2008 2:04 PM

I'll stick to Agua Verde, thanks.

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 31, 2008 2:08 PM

DAMN!! Where am I supposed to get my food poisoning now??!!! Fuck that sucks!! Life is not fair unless I can eat from a roach coach and spend a week shitting liquid crap out of my asshole!!!

Posted by Andrew | March 31, 2008 2:08 PM

@6 Not really. Milano pizza is open until 3 a.m.

Posted by apres_moi | March 31, 2008 2:13 PM

Went by Sushi Land on lower Queen Anne on Sunday, and it was closed for water problems. Didn't go by today, anybody know what's going on?

Posted by left coast | March 31, 2008 2:21 PM

is it bad if i like the place but still tell you that i once saw one of the gals there tending to a sick pidgeon she had in a box out back and ...maybe...changed gloves once she went back in? and then that i still ate my tacos with delight afterwards?

Posted by erin | March 31, 2008 2:22 PM

Elenchos, it's quite possible that this is all this guy could afford which is the big lure of these things, not "thinking he's cool" as you say. And I would still bet my money on the oldest, filthiest two-strokes over the Hummer. I've never seen a two-stroke scooter sit in stop-and-go traffic on the freeway for 2 hours every day, the very act which creates the most pollution. Most scooter owners use them for short local trips as they're much too annoying for anything else.

Posted by Citizen Gregg | March 31, 2008 2:27 PM

I never ate there but was happy it existed. A taco truck in a Winchell's doughnut parking lot. Wallingford is an interesting, perplexing neighborhood.

Posted by homage to me | March 31, 2008 2:41 PM

Sorry, @13, but those two-strokes emit more carbon in an hour than a Hummer does in a year.

I agree that La Pasadita is supercalifragilistic (don't get al pastor, get the carnitas), but it's also really far away. Rancho Bravos is right there. North of the ship canal is woefully underserved by taco trucks. Aqua Verde doesn't even begin to compare.

Posted by Fnarf | March 31, 2008 2:49 PM

It's funny, too, how all anybody wants to talk about now is carbon. As if we don't worry if the air is poisoned or not, only greenhouse gases. The climate might not care if you're breathing CO or CO2, but one of them causes brain damage and heart problems. Or just kills you. The climate also doesn't care that you're breathing raw hydrocarbons, but you'll care when the benzene makes you puke, and eventually gives you cancer. So big SUVs are hogs, but they are clean. Two-strokes are filthy, filthy dirty, and that shit will kill you dead.

And nobody goes to all the trouble and expense of keeping an antique moped running because they're poor; quite the opposite.

Posted by elenchos | March 31, 2008 2:58 PM

Of course, a more insightful and more germane question might be "Why do criminals rate the second mentioned taco place so low?"

I'm betting it's the service.

They put up with bad service by rating it low.

Posted by Will in Seattle | March 31, 2008 3:02 PM

Damn. I'd agree that this wasn't the best taco truck in Seattle (Rainier near Walden and 155th and Aurora are certainly better).

But this one was the closest one to North Capitol Hill. It was reasonably priced. It was open until like 3am on the weekends, and in countless times eating there I never got sick. Oh well. I hope they can clean up their act and get back in business.

Posted by j-lon | March 31, 2008 3:03 PM

i was pretty sure that i got food poisoning from there two weeks ago -- this sadly confirms my suspicions . . .

Posted by in wallingford | March 31, 2008 3:06 PM

DAMN! This was my favorite Mexican food in Seattle. I don't know whether to feel disgusted or relieved now.

All I do know is that there is no freaking way I'm going to TacoTime with their bullshit "Mexi-fries".

Posted by Shilo Urban | March 31, 2008 3:09 PM

Whatever taco truck in White Center we at the office go to for lunch sometimes is awesome. If I had a car I'd be eating there constantly.

Posted by Abby | March 31, 2008 3:32 PM

Fnarf, your eyes must be brown. H/t Rover Eric.

A 2-stroke vehicle is kinda like a diesel vehicle - it emits more particulate matter into the air than a 4-stroke vehicle or car. This is what contributes to smog among other things.

A 2-stroke scooter emits LESS CO2 than your standard car or SUV or whatever, so it's cleaner in that regard. Something that gets 75-130 mpg is going to be naturally cleaner on the CO2 tip than something that gets 1/5 of that mileage.

Posted by left coast | March 31, 2008 3:38 PM

that's great and everything, bobcat, but what good does that do me? stuck on Capitol Hill. drunk. not owning a car. it'd be pretty un-PC of me if I did own one and drove drunk to that place, don't you think? why are you sooooo cruel?

I think a few times I ate at the Wallingford location, I didn't get sick per se, but felt a little iffy. I have a pretty strong stomach, so food poisoning is rarely to never an issue. still that sucks.

Posted by Lee | March 31, 2008 3:41 PM

look at how awkward he is standing in that picture. that alone is enough reason to mock him.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | March 31, 2008 3:44 PM

also, anyone in the food service industry will tell you there's this new guy on the beat who's a mega asshole. it could have been something like a clogged sink that got them, he's insane.

Posted by erin | March 31, 2008 3:48 PM

Their food was fucking great. I knew that the conditions may be less than ideal - look at the place - but a little bacteria is sometimes a good thing. I hope they can clean up and get back to business.

Posted by Gabe Global | March 31, 2008 3:53 PM


The the HC that goes into your engine has to all go somewhere. The H in a newer 4 stroke engine becomes H2O, which is clean. In a dirty two stroke, a third of it remains HC, fouling the air with unburned gasoline. Two stroke boats and jet skis spew this into the water where it kills the fish and turtles and so on.

The C, carbon, has to either become CO or CO2. It can't just disappear. CO2 is not poisonous, but it is a greenhouse gas. Clean engines emit mostly CO2. Dirty engines like two strokes emit far less CO2, because they replace it with CO. Carbon monoxide is also a greenhouse gas -- there is nothing gained by subbing CO for CO2. You lose over again because CO is bad for the climate and also poisons everything that breathes.

And this is all assuming the best case scenario with a relatively modern two stroke. The worn out old mopeds and scooters that the hipsters ride are far less efficient.

Posted by elenchos | March 31, 2008 4:01 PM

"Criminals", Will? Huh? Forget some of your pills again?

Posted by Fnarf | March 31, 2008 4:09 PM

It's unburned oil, not gas. I'm not saying there are no emissions, the question was whether a two stroke emits more than a Hummer or SUV. I burn one gallon a week commuting. Burning that gallon is not equivalent to the 10 gallons or more that an SUV would burn to go the same distance.

Posted by left coast | March 31, 2008 4:24 PM

We need the government and a bureaucrat to protect people from eating stuff that can harm them. Governments solve everything.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | March 31, 2008 4:27 PM

Left coast, you are confusing consumption rates with pollution rates. No one is arguing that the Hummer doesn't suck down ten times as much gas. But Hummers, however much gas they guzzle, are actually pretty clean at the tailpipe, as are all modern vehicles. It has a big 'ol catalytic converter, for one thing. Fuel-efficient SULEV cars do even better on emissions, but two-stroke anythings -- scooters or leaf blowers -- just spew unbelievable amounts of gunk into the air.

Posted by Fnarf | March 31, 2008 5:03 PM

Fnarf, you are confusing junk and greenhouse gases.

Posted by left coast | March 31, 2008 5:17 PM

That White Center one is the best. Does anybody know the exact intersection?

Posted by Abe | March 31, 2008 5:24 PM

Taqueria La Fondita 2 is between 15th and 16th Ave SW - (perhaps at 100th or 102nd - sorry!) it's behind Pho Tai and kitty corner to the New Angkor Market, and yes, it does rule the earth. Much better than the overpriced Wallingford roach coach in question...

Posted by Mr. X | March 31, 2008 5:36 PM

I like the taco truck by Northgate. I always stop when I'm passing through.

Posted by Hey wait | March 31, 2008 5:46 PM

people in seattle waxing mexican food motivates me to go back to the bay area. 4 years

Posted by Bellevue Ave | March 31, 2008 6:44 PM

I just moved to Wallingford a month ago. That place was cheap, within walking distance and DELICIOUS. Some of the best Mexican food I've had in Seattle.

I really hope they reopen soon.

On the food poisoning issue: I have a REALLY sensitive stomach and I never felt sick after eating there.

I have some of their salsa stockpiled in the fridge actually, now that I think about it.

Posted by Dawgson | March 31, 2008 6:57 PM

Maybe it nosedove in quality over recent weeks, but I liked my experience with the Rancho Bravo Taco Truck's rice and bean bowls back in the day.

I hope they clean up, return and stay in line. It'll be a shame if they disappear and Wallyworld's food options are reduced to Dick's and nothing else.

Posted by Gomez | March 31, 2008 7:30 PM

Late night food options, I mean

Posted by Gomez | March 31, 2008 7:33 PM

james taylor sings a song about mexican food. come to think of it, if jimmy buffett wanted to sing that song, he could, and make $$. even if that taco truck played music - which it doesn't - i doubt they would be playing that JT song. or any JT song, timbalake or taylor. carly simon bagged JT senior. and paul!

i've gotten the shits at tacos guyamos on south broadway 3 times....never once did i say i wouldn't go back...but never once did i think that it would hapen again....yet it did and does. never once did i get the shits at a taco truck proper OR any the the 'bertos (filia., dos., erri., etc.) shops in the SW. never......never give a loan to a taco truck trucker. never.

Posted by HRCfangrrrl | March 31, 2008 9:14 PM

i recommend the taco truck at 145th and 15th NE ... i really have nothing else useful to add. thank you.

Posted by superyeadon | March 31, 2008 9:57 PM

*screams to the heavens*

it is not every parking lot in seattle where you can find delicious delicious quesadillas and then pop in to a winchells for donuts and then cross the street to get comic books.

this may mean the death of my favorite block..

Posted by crying in her burrito | March 31, 2008 10:38 PM

Oh, Pasadita! Back when I worked at Pacific Topsoil, just about every day someone would drive the six blocks and get tacos for the team. Then they would get covered in dust and truck fumes at work. Mmmm...

Posted by Garth | April 1, 2008 12:02 AM

Their tacos were pretty damn good. And they stayed open until just after bar closing time on weekends. What's not to like?

Posted by MadDogM13 | April 1, 2008 1:55 AM

On the food poisoning issue -- the taco truck (as we call it) is like a crack provider to my roommates and I. Meaning between the four of us we're eating there 5-10 times a week. We've been doing this for months. And we've never had any problems.

Man, I hope they reopen.

Posted by RRC | April 1, 2008 2:04 AM
I'll stick to Agua Verde, thanks.

Sorry @7 (Will in Seattle), have to agree with Fnarf on this. Agua Verde is another overpriced, overrated purveyor of Mexican food. The only Mexican place near the UW that serves the real thing is Mi Charrito.

Posted by Will in 98103 | April 1, 2008 10:18 AM

That guy in the canadian tuxedo is obviously worried about how tight his jeans are than the emissions coming from his peugeot.

Posted by BBCNEWSTODAY | April 1, 2008 11:09 PM

you'd better believe that if i ever see someone kicking over my moped, they will be getting hit in the face with whatever i can get my hands on at the time

Posted by terry dean | April 1, 2008 11:28 PM

I have a 2008 moped. Two-stroke. With a catalytic converter in the pipe. Meets the environmental guidelines for FOUR-STROKE vehicles in EVERY state in the US. Plus I get 120 miles to the gallon. Stop thinking that ALL two-strokes are evil. We have technology to make them better. Ass.

My pants also fit much better than that dudes do.

Posted by I have a job. | April 1, 2008 11:28 PM

I ride a moped in Seattle. I will take responsibility and apologize for single-handedly destroying the environment. I will not, however, allow for the man in that photo to represent me.

Posted by chicagoaoago | April 2, 2008 9:57 AM

if anyone ever kicks over my moped, i will use terry dean to bash their faces in!

Posted by turd | April 2, 2008 10:47 AM

Leave this so-called 'hipster' alone, what you don't see in this picture is he totally has tardcrutches and riding mopeds is the only joy he gets out of a life of constant pain. If that's not worth destroying the environment then i don't know what is.

Posted by BAH | April 2, 2008 12:22 PM

if anyone actually cares about the topic of this slog post still, the taco truck was open again as of last night. go fill up on your asada tacos asap.

Posted by swank | April 2, 2008 8:11 PM

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