Restaurant review: The Taco Bus - Taqueria La Carreta

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Taqueria La Carreta. Photo by Sean Wheatley
by Sean Wheatley

When I first moved from Los Angeles to Seattle nearly 17 years ago, I immediately noticed a lack of good Mexican food. Sure, you could find some classic American style huge plate Mexican grub and bar spots, but the area was in need of the real deal. 

I was soon shown White Center with the original Guyamas and I knew there was hope. Gorditos came along (still top notch) and then the Baja grill idea was done nicely enough with Taco Del Mar. Taco trucks and buses started popping up along Rainier Ave. and along Highway 99 up north. 

The interior is immaculately clean. Photo by S. Wheatley.
El Carreton appeared - much to my delight - in the parking lot of the 76 station on Aurora and 165th. The fact that I could walk there made it all the better. For a couple years I was in heaven. Then it was gone just as abrupty as it appeared. Sadness. There were other taco trucks around, but nothing like this one.

Luckily they opened again in a new location down next to the McDonald's along Aurora with a new name: Taqueria La Carreta. Still walkable. The same amazing interior with its hammered metal sheeting along the sides and ceiling, custom built seats and counters, and a fully functioning kitchen that's kept immaculately clean - makes you forget that you're inside of an old school bus. Except when you notice the trash can is sitting on the driver's seat. This place is totally reliable for a really solid Mexican meal. Gotta get tacos at a taco bus, but the menu, in picture form (I have a feeling I've seen these photos at a few places...) across the top sides of the inside of the bus, offers tons of choices.

Photo by S. Wheatley
The Mulitas are especially good, although they turn into grease bombs pretty quickly with the all the meat, cheese and avocado melting together between two hot corn tortillas. Pure genius whoever came up with that. They have a "salsa bar" where you can add to your plate things like pickled carrots and peppers, an onion/cilantro mix and lemon. The salsas are now kept in the fridge (I'm sure due to health department regulations), but both add a lot to the food so be sure to try both the green and slightly hotter red sauces. Now I can finally be proud of the NW representing in the Mexican food category and Shoreline has certainly done its part to help.

Taqueria La Carreta  15000 Aurora Ave N. parking lot

Sean Wheatley's entertainment services business Seattle Parties keeps him busy in the evenings. He and his wife Leslie eat out so much that he starting writing restaurant reviews, which he now shares with us.


Anonymous,  January 27, 2011 at 10:09 AM  

Here, here!! Totally agree. Love the Taco Bus and the people.
Love the quesdilla's!

Thanks for reviewing!

Anonymous,  January 27, 2011 at 10:42 AM  

Great review!!!

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