By Mike Thayer
Who makes the best tacos in the Wichita Metro?
Traveling around the ICT, I'm sampling the taco offerings from just about any joint that has tacos on the menu. It doesn't really matter who, I'll be eating tacos from local joints, regional restaurants and the national chains. To determine a true champion of tacos in the metro, a broad sampling has to be taken in order to measure the best. I'm on a mission in the name of "taco science" (cough).
For my first meal of the day (I developed the habit of skipping breakfast during my Burger Challenge) I headed over to the west side of town and Alondra's Tacos. This cash only business is nested in the Riverbend Shopping Center in the corner of a stand alone building that is kind of tucked in behind the Smoke Stax Tobacco Shop. If you're not familiar with the area and not paying attention, you can drive right by the place before you realize it.
I entered the restaurant a bit after their opening time of 11am and was greeted nicely by a lady busy doing some table prep. I proceeded to the counter where another lady provided me a welcoming "Good morning." She provided me a menu, which for a first timer like me was easier to read than the menu board posted above. I went with my now typical assortment of tacos (before this Challenge is over, restaurants are probably going know I'm present by the order, not because they recognize me), Carnitas, Barbacoa, Carne Asada, Al Pastor and a Pollo.
After taking my order I took a seat and got busy texting and emailing as I waited. The smells emanating from the kitchen in the creation of my order were awesome! I didn't have to wait long for my meal to be boxed, bagged and presented. I thanked the ladies and headed out the door. Driving down the road, the enticing aromas were teasing me! Now if you're familiar with the area, you know that driving eastbound on 21st street makes you vulnerable to being stopped by trains at any one of the numerous railroad crossings east of Broadway. Well, today I didn't care about having to wait for a train to pass through, I HAD TACOS! I thought to myself, "Take your time train!"
I opened up the container and a huge whiff of seasoned meats and cilantro pleasantly hit me in the face. A nice presentation, I was pleasantly surprised that the tortillas were doubled up and there were plenty of lime wedges for squeezing. All the tacos were dressed the same, with plenty of fresh onion and cilantro. I got sauce on the side, but frankly, it wasn't needed. All the tacos were generous in portion and the meats well seasoned, tender and juicy. All the tacos were equally good, it was hard to pick a favorite and there's something to be said for keeping things simple. When your ingredients are high quality and fresh, you don't need a whole lot to really get a taco to sing. Properly seasoned & cooked meats + cilantro & onion + a squeeze of lime + fresh tortillas = A damn good taco, with the Al Pastor tops in the bunch.
Costing me $13.75 for five tacos, Alondra's Tacos lineup of tacos scored 58 points out of a possible 63, earning 5 out of 5 Bachelor on the Cheap stars. All of the tacos are definite repeat buys and next time I wouldn't care once again if stopped by a train, but I think I'll dine in should I need to order more!
Located at 1580 W 21st St, Wichita, KS 67203 the service at Alondra's Tacos was polite, friendly and fast.
$pend Wisely My Friends...
Related: Other Taco Joints Reviewed So Far
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