I might just be the most unqualified person EVER to comment on Mexican food. Growing up in the Northwest of England in the 80s/90s I don’t recollect any Mexican food experiences. In fact, I think my first taco would have been eaten at the grand old age of 25 when I moved to the US.
Earlier this year when we went back to the UK to visit family, my parents took us to a new “Mexican” restaurant. Yup, those would be air quotes around the Mexican part of the restaurant. We started with a bowl of olives marinated in extra virgin olive oil with Italian herbs…but you know, there were complimentary sombreros to wear. A request for queso was met with baffled looks, you get the idea!
Therefore, I won’t be making any comments on the authenticity of this Mexican food truck but trust me when I say you NEED to find the El Corazon food truck and get one of everything the next time you’re in Portland, ME. If you’re planning a wedding in Maine or a party, note that El Corazon food truck will even come to you and cater your event – late night tacos? Yes please!
El Corazon Food Truck can usually be found Tuesday – Friday 11am – 2:30pm at the intersection of Spring St and Temple St in Portland, ME and then at one of the various local breweries on the weekend. They’re really great about updating their schedule and you can also find updates on their facebook page. Order at the truck, hang out on the sidewalk with a fresh agua fresca and you’ll leave with a happy belly and change from $10. What’s not to love about that?
I was joined by my friend Michele, who traveled extensively as a child and spent a number of years actually eating Mexican food IN Mexico. Michele has been urging me to visit El Corazon ever since I moved to Maine and yup, she was right. We started with a couple of Baja fish tacos ($3/each) with generous chunks of lightly fried fish, nestled in a mildly spicy chipotle aioli with crunchy cabbage and cilantro. Sidewalk eating is the best as you don’t have to worry about the juices dripping off the taco and running down your hands. I really wanted to order another fish taco but we had other items to try!
Taquitos are rolled and filled corn tacos, deep fried and served with guacamole, sour cream and cheese. You can choose from potato and cheese, chicken or shredded beef. At just $3.75 for three taquitos that’s a steal, and the best part? You can get one of each filing so try them all.
A small chalkboard lists the daily specials; the empanada was sold out so we ordered the tamale of the day. For the uninitiated, a tamale is a traditional dish made of masa (Spanish for dough), around a tasty filing, steamed in a corn husk or banana leaf. The husk or leaf wrapping is discarded before eating. The El Corazon tamale of the day ($3.50) was stuffed with housemade chorizo and Oaxaca cheese.
At this point we were pretty stuffed but we soldiered on. The house specialty is a Sonoran hot dog (pushing the boat out at $4.00). A bacon-wrapped hot dog, yes, bacon-wrapped hot dog is topped with beans, pico de gallo, shredded cheese, guacamole, mustard and mayo. Holy hot dog, this was good. Even the bun was a standout – not your average hot dog bun but a substantial grilled bread bun that supported the loaded hot dog perfectly. The bacon wrapping was thin and crispy and Michele declared this “Last meal worthy!”
See that bacon-wrapped hot dog just peeping though the generous toppings of pico de gallo, cheese and guacamole? Going forward, all hot dogs will seem kind of lame after this one.
Did you know that Portland, Maine has a pretty thriving food truck scene? Here’s a great round up from Kate at Blueberry Files. I think I might set myself a summer challenge of visiting ALL the Maine Food Trucks!
El Corazon offers “Mexican Food From The Heart” and they’ve certainly got a taco-sized place in my heart now. If you’re hungry for an affordable and incredibly tasty lunch in Portland, Maine make sure to visit El Corazon and get at least one fish taco!
El Corazon Food Truck
Spring St (at intersection with Temple St), Portland Maine
Usually Tue – Fri 11am – 2:30pm
El Corazon Menu
There’s limited street parking (paid) and El Corazon takes cash or credit cards. Popular items often sell out so get there early if you want the full selection.