Taqueria Reynoso – No Fork Required

Taca Barbacoa Dorado

My lunch life has gotten pretty stale and boring ever since I got tied down to this employment gig.  The client has a no eating at your desk policy which was presumably enacted long ago, when someone brought in an unbearably fragrant meal and emptied out the building.  Given that I’m usually working through lunch, I have to skirt the policy and eat at my desk, trying to fly under the radar while typing away at my spreadsheets.   However, this means that I am limited to sterile and fork friendly foods like salads, hence my unsolicited friendship with Jack-in-the-Box.  Only a 2 minute drive away, Jack fits the bill for these lunchtime occasions but when you’re shackled to something that you didn’t choose for yourself, it breeds latent dissatisfaction. Jack is nice and all, but just how many southwest chicken salads should one girl have to eat in a lifetime?

Once I’m out the front doors of the building though, I throw away the fork and run straight to a rendezvous with Taqueria Reynoso for my weekly fix of finger licking saucy, meaty goodness–everything I’m not allowed to have at my cubicle.  When someone tells you that you can’t have something, you’re gonna want it more.

I’ve had my share of taqueria and taco truck fare and Reynoso is still the best.  I love this place so much,  if it were a person, we would be Facebook friends and our statuses would be “in a relationship”. Before you ask Dr. Phil to stage a hack intervention, here’s why Reynoso is the one.

First off, it’s in a gritty, no frills location in Fruitvale so les poseurs don’t bother to show up, leaving the joint to die-hard chowhounds like me. Despite the unattractive glare of the stark walls and tables, once you get past the shallow end of the pool and look deeper, this place has true substance.  There’s no froufrou, dandy Andy thing going on with the tacos here–just warm corn tortillas, meat, cilantro, onions, salsa, and a squeeze of lime.  Every time I have one of these tacos, I end up licking the sauce that inevitably drips down my fingers and scavenging every last little bit of filling that falls onto my plate.

Reynoso has my favorite al pastor in the bay area. The slabs of meat are roasted on a rotating vertical spit, creating that delectable blend of juicy meat with crispy, caramelized edges.  This is the real deal, you can’t fake this stuff on a flat top grill.  They also have this a magical concoction they call campechano.  In Spanish, campechano means good-natured or cordial. Here at Reynoso, this translates into a mouth-friendly blend of chorizo and carne asada that tastes like bacon-wrapped steak.  It’s fantastic in a taco or in a monster burrito with their fluffy rice and whole beans.

And the best snub at the  “don’t eat at your desk lunch policy” is their tacos dorados with barbacoa, consisting of two layers of corn tortillas into which tender chunks of beef are securely tucked, and served with grilled onions. The inner tortilla is soft and yielding to the bite, while the outer layer is nice and crispy from being fried. Absolute heaven. I can’t think of anything better than this but the Slumlord and The Doctor say that the carnitas tortas is a sure bet but I’ve yet to get one before they’re sold out.

I know I’m gushing about Taqueria Reynoso but true love cannot be muted and I cannot bear to be apart from it. It is my saving grace on those tortuous and repetitive salad lunch days when my eyes are glazed over from staring at the screen to much and my lower body is stiff from being planted in one spot for too long.  There can be no substitute.

A taco campechano up close and personal


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