The ugly truth is that for all Boulder’s highminded foodieism, it’s no picnic finding a decent taco to take on a picnic. Sure there’s some decent facsimiles, but because of Boulder’s obscene rents and completely absurd food truck regulations, if you want the real goods, the flavors of fried pork marinated in diesel exhaust and hot sauce that stings like the crack of whip, then, Katniss-like, you have to get out of the Capitol and into the Districts where the poors live.
Or at least into the fringes.
Up until last week, La Choza was Boulder’s dirty little secret: a small trailer parked spitting distance from the edge of town on N. Broadway that dished delish on the taco tip. Its hours sucked, its location was invisible and the parking lot it was in had all the ambiance you’d expect of a sun-battered, weather-cracked patch of shade-free asphalt on the edge of town. But no more. As of this week, La Choza is moving on up to the east side ... of the parking lot.
La Choza took up its new brick and mortar digs in one of the vacant slots in the shopping center its parking lot served on Aug. 2, and if the line out the door and the 45-minute wait for a quartet of tacos de pastor was any clue, it’s a move Boulder is, ahem, “hungry for.”
The new and improved Inside La Choza is every thing you could want from a real taqueria: a cramped interior with no air conditioning, bold aromas in every direction, self-serve horchata, prices that seem a decade out of step with inflation, and with a one to ten ratio of people ordering in english to spanish. There are only six tables, low ceilings and the place is bustling with noise. As The Cure sang, “just like heaven.”
The tacos de pastor ($7) I ordered were sweet and spicy, with full chunks of pineapple and a dusting of chili powder on lightly grilled corn tortillas. The tacos de carnitas were fried crispy, avoiding all of the sogginess that can come with pork.
My torta de asada ($6 with chips and salsa), was great, with pillowy bread and rich bits of beef.
And the piece de resistance: the $3.25 burrito. It isn’t the fresh-mex style that has come into vogue from the success of Chipotle, but the down and dirty roach coach style that fills bellies and kills hangovers dead.
La Choza also has a selection of burgers and grilled meat platters, as well as Mexican standards like enchiladas and chili rellenos.
Look sharp gringo, these are the tacos you’ve been looking for. But expect to wait a few minutes, because there’s a lot of folks that have been looking for them as well.
But for those already nostalgic for the trailer, don’t worry. The owners posted a sign saying they are planning to move it to 47th and Pearl where it can tacofy Boulder’s eastern fringe along with its northern tip. Once that is inevitably a success as well, we’d like to call La Choza’s attention to the underserved market in south Boulder where Boulder Weekly just happens to be located. Just sayin’.