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Azteca Taqueria, lit up for evening service

Image: Alice Levitt

The outside of the styrofoam container was coated in a thin film of lard, as if the ladies staffing the Azteca Taqueria truck had thought the receptacle seemed stressed and needed a massage. I had waited for my order alone, next to the tents that sell religious icons and housewares at the corner of West Cavalcade. and Airline. Maybe regulars of Airline's taco truck alley knew something I didn't and stayed away. But I wanted to give the lonely little guy a try.

This was the result:

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Carnitas platter with all the fixings

Image: Alice Levitt

Admittedly, the lard-rubbed container I brought home wouldn't win any awards for presentation, but that's a given. Driving the five minutes home was an effort, as eau de pork waged a most pleasing assault. And when I opened the greasy bag, I felt like I was unwrapping gift after gift.

First, the styrofoam container, with cumin-scented rice so big on flavor I overlooked its mushiness. The beans were disappointingly lukewarm but tasted of bacon. But the centerpiece was the pork. The tangles of tender flesh had been warmed on the griddle, resulting in a burnt umber jacket of crispness.

I piled the meat into one of the excess of deep-yellow, fresh corn tortillas (my choice; flour is also available), squeezed on some lime and dipped the wraps into oregano-flavored green hot sauce.

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Barbacoa taco

Image: Alice Levitt

I tried a single ready-made taco, too. The barbacoa was beefy, rich and slightly sweet. Unfortunately, in my short trip home, the tightly wrapped package managed to steam the impact from the cilantro. Next time, I'll ask for it on the side and throw it in myself when I'm ready to eat it. 

There are nearly infinite trucks left to try, but score one for the little guy at the corner of West Cavalacade and Airline.

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