One taco short of a combination plate

I’ve longed after the tacos at Kogi BBQ. I’ve followed their Twitter feed. And last fall, I finally had their tacos. Since then, a bevy of food trucks has infiltrated greater Los Angeles, ranging from breakfast foods to french fries. It’s very difficult to keep up with the latest food truck on the road. Luckily there’s a Web site that keeps track. All while watching this, I can’t help but wonder when will San Diego get its own food truck? And I’m not talking about the usual roach coach parked in front of various office buildings either.

Tabe BBQ truck
Now there is: Tabe BBQ.

The Tabe BBQ truck has been operational since late last year and much like Kogi BBQ, they offer a fusion of Mexican and Korean food. The menu offers up tacos, burritos and bowls with your choice of beef, chicken, spicy pork and beer-battered fish and sides of fries with or without toppings. They update their location somewhat regularly on Twitter and on my first visit, they were within a short distance of my neighborhood.

So what that it was only 10:00 on a Saturday morning? I was going to be near the first in line for a taco. Thing is, there was no line. (Most people in that area were attending the 1st annual Anime Conji at the DoubleTree Hotel.) I just walked up to the truck and placed an order for a fish taco and spicy pork.

Pork and fish taco
Both the fish and pork fillings are tucked inside of a flour taco-size tortilla. The fillet of fish is battered and deep fried and topped with their house-made salsa and a slice of Mandarin orange. Good flavors overall, according to Paul (I didn’t have a chance to taste the taco) but the amount of fish was left to be desired. The pork taco was much heartier and was especially spicy even without their salsa. The pork was nicely cooked but meat filling seemed to be overly wet and heavy with the cooking marinade.

Spicy pork taco
While chowing down on breakfast lunch, I learned that Tabe BBQ also has a non-mobile location. On Murphy Canyon Road. In a gas station. Lucky for me it’s near my place of work and I’m always craving tacos for lunch.

I’ve actually had tacos here before, but it was another joint whose name eludes me. Tabe has taken its place. The patio dining over looks the car wash so it’s a perfect location to hang out, eat some food and get your car spic and span.

Tabe menu-gas
They offer the same selection as their mobile counterpart but if you look closely, there is a price difference — all tacos are $1.99 at the gas station location. The fish taco at the truck tacks on an additional $.26 more at $2.25. Huh. Maybe it’s mobile deep-frying fee. Burritos are $5 at the gas station regardless of filling. At the truck the BBQ beef is $5.25 and fish is $5.50 with everything else at the $5 mark. Bowls are $5.25 at either location. Even their Web site is conflicted, showing prices found at their non-mobile location.

There it is
But back to their brick-and-mortar place of business. The kitchen and order window is right behind the regular gas paying counter, right by the coffee, nachos and ice cream. Order up and it’s ready to go in minutes. The marinade for both the beef and chicken seemed almost absent from my tacos and even a little dry. The real star of these tacos was the salsas — pineapple and papaya — both very fresh and light on the palate. I would stick with the spicy pork tacos. I will eventually try their bowls someday.

Much like the truck, there was no line, despite the huge drive-thru line up at Taco Bell across the way. Very unfortunate that people would rather stay in their car and get generic Mexican food than park and walk over to Tabe.

Tabe’s Twitter updates can be found here.
Tabe’s brick and mortar location is located at 3690 Murphy Canyon Rd. and is open from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

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