Tag Archives: Mexican food

hipster-laden tacos

You may recall that recently Tristan wrote about hipster free tacos. Not long after his Mad Mex experience, I had the good fortune to catch the Mecca of Melbourne movable eateries, or one half at least – the newish Taco Truck.

I wouldn’t normally go out of my way to visit the Taco Truck because it normally frequents a part of town that is sadly quite far from me. However, on this particular really horribly freezing night, for some amazing reason, they broadcast on their Twitter account that they would be at Glenn College at La Trobe University, Bundoora.

There is nothing out this way. Sure, the Bedroom Philosopher has immortalised the number 86 tram (from Bundoora RMIT campus to Spencer Street Station), but Bundoora has very little in the way to celebrate unless you go further north and catch a rare but magic glimpse of the semi-naked all-seasons Mill Park running man. God, I’d love to meet that dude.

So after driving around for half an hour on La Trobe’s grounds and getting directions off strangers (some of whom were kind enough to warn me emphatically not to walk through certain parts of the campus alone…shudder), I made it to the bloody truck. La Trobe, you guys need maps and adequate lighting about your traps. And competent security guards.

I do like that they’d (I assume) trekked out all the way to the outer north because there was a joint Filipino, Indian and Australian art exhibition so luckily for me (as I was dressed very shabbily), there was a distinct dea(r)th of hipsters. In fact, it was quite a friendly sound, hearing some folks speaking my mother’s native tongue Tagalog and folks of all ages queueing up for the food.

I bellowed my order as loudly as I could and waited in line for half an hour (this was only really an issue because it was below 10C. Ordering beer in the meantime was out of the question because it was that cold. A sad state of affairs).

They had a good deal going – $12 for a plate of two tacos and corn chips. You could choose from fish, chicken or potato. I chose fish and chicken. As soon as I got my order (which I suspect they may have forgotten to fill initially), I literally ran back to my car, started it and ate in relative warmth.

Taco Truck plate

Of course when the hipster half of the blog visited where it’s normally placed in Carlton, he got a much prettier picture of his nosh.

The corn chips were great. I’m hoping Clovis, the owner of Mad Mex wasn’t lying when he said that their own corn chips were authentic because if this is the case, then that makes Taco Truck’s ones equally so – they were very, very similar in taste.

I was sceptical at first about the fish in the taco being battered but one bite slayed any such fears I had – the fish taco was divine and my overt carnivore actually preferred that over the chicken taco though that was also flavoursome and fresh. Wish I’d ordered an extra one.

Now, to retry Beatbox Kitchen and judge them outside of Laneway Festival constraints.

Taco Truck on Urbanspoon

hipster free tacos

Full disclosure: while Gem had very recently eaten as a guest of Mad Mex’s, this review is based upon my experience and at my own cost.

Corona as art.

A phrase not often uttered I suspect. Especially not by this (beer) snob.

That is, however, a rather apt description of Mad Mex’s light fittings in their Melbourne Central shop – perhaps the most beautiful and tasteful (ha, a pun) take on Corona yet – made from Coronas consumed by customers.

Aside from the lost-found-garbage art stuck to the ceiling thing they’ve got going on, Mad Mex looks pretty fast foody. One could be forgiven for walking past in sheer ignorance and derisive judgement, especially in a food court of a big arse shopping centre. However as the cliche goes, looks can be deceiving. Mad Mex fills the new but old and rapidly expanding fast casual segment. Think Nando’s, Grill’d and other similar restaurants where it kind of feels a bit fast food but served on a ceramic plate, using a lettuce other than Iceberg.

Yeah, one of those places.

If the marketing copy of Mad Mex’s corporate website is to believed, the chain was conceived to fill a gap in the quality Mexican food niche within Australia. After the run-away success of restaurants like Mamasita with their fresh and light menus (unlike the bastardised stodgy sour-cream-and-cheese Tex-Mex most Australians are familiar with as ‘Mexican’) I’d have to agree with them. I’m surprised it’s taken this long to see some quality Mexican food in Australia — apparently our collective repulsion at having to eat at Taco Bill wasn’t loud enough (though don’t knock their margaritas, bitch!).

Very much like a Subway or similar franchise, customers are herded cattle-style from one side of the counter to the other, to pick and choose their toppings. At its simplest it’s a three-step process: first, you must choose your Mad Mex style (i.e. what you’re having). I chose the burrito — I was hungry and it was the most expensive option on the menu at $10.90. Being the simple creature that I am I equated the most expensive item with also being the largest. Second, the meaty or (if you’re that way inclined) vegetably innards are picked — I went the Carnitas, a slow-cooked shredded pork. Then the last step: the ‘piece of resistance’:the salsa.

I chose Picante, a habanero based salsa which is the hottest in the line-up, but for my palate not particularly so. Fear not. More chilli sauce can be acquired. In the midst of the mêlée, I secured a serving of guacamole too. All in all, it came up looking a treat, I think you’ll agree. Other than looking great, it tasted pretty rad too.

While I haven’t yet tried the their tacos (though I will be back), I suspect they may rival the famed Taco Truck. Best of all, no hipsters.

Mad Mex - Fresh Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon

it continues – breakfast burrito hunting

A few South Yarra dwellers on the twitters organise a breakfast burrito get-together every Sunday or so and @starinmelbourne very kindly got together a crew to head up north of the river to sample the breakfast burrito at Trippy Taco in Collingwood. When we arrived, they were deeply engrossed in some seriously cool word games, or as I like to call it, analogue Words With Friends.

Bananagrams-breffix burrito crew

To my glee, there was also a breakfast quesadilla on the menu so I decided that I’d get that to see how it compared to the breakfast burrito. The tortilla is really soft without having that tasteless doughiness. The fillings are delicious. If you were really hungry, you might need two. Delicious. I think it was better than the burrito.


Tris ordered the breakfast burrito. Sadly, it is not adequate to feed the man-sized hunger that only a manly man can feel after a Saturday night of drinking. Kind of cool that it comes wrapped up and served to you in one of those plastic baskets that would be at home in an American diner (indeed, they use them at Misty’s Diner for their fries). I would probably order this if I were only peckish and felt pretty bad for T so made him have some of my quesadilla.


I slugged my breakfast down with the help of a Colombian soy hot chocolate which tasted like it was laced with alcohol.


It’s a pretty tiny place and the staff aren’t brimming with friendliness but I’d try this place for dinner. Do note that they are vegetarian!

Trippy Taco doesn’t open till 12pm on Sunday so we didn’t really go for breakfast or brunch proper. Good to know we have some options up north but I believe continuation of the hunt will take us south of the Yarra again…so far the south has served us well as you can see in this post. Just remember – if you go with this crew, you might have to play cool, nerdy word games. Thanks Em!

Trippy Taco on Urbanspoon