The whole family recently went on a Caribbean cruise for spring break - four days of poolside cocktails with an 8-hour stop in Cozumel one day. Not only was I excited to cruise again, I looked forward to taking Stuffed Taco to Mexico.
After joining some Cozumel message boards and connecting with a few of the locals over the internet, I had created quite a list of candidates for my Caribbeann taco crawl and drew up a google map of the places I intended to review.
Eight hours, however, goes quickly in Mexico. Especially when trying to coordinate the wishes of 14 other family members after a long night on the Lido deck.
Before any taco stops, the family and I had reservations at Chankanaab National Park. After swimming with the dolphins and doing a little snorkeling with my son, we realized we wouldn't have time to travel to the heart of Cozumel as planned if we were going to make it back to the ship on time. My dad and brother and I, with 3 kids in tow hailed a van and asked our driver to recommend a couple quick stops. He was a willing guide and rattled off the names of a few touristy restaurants, pointing them out as the cab seemed to somehow drive itself at times. We told him we weren't interested in such places and asked him to take us to the closest and most authentic place he knew of. He laughed and shook his head. "Ahhh... quieren comer donde nosotros comemos!" (You want to eat what WE eat!) Si!
We quickly found ourselves at a late model blue Chevy pick-up parked at Muelle and Melgar. Beneath the attached canopy on the back we watched a young man preparing different meats on a flat grill, taco toppings surrounding him, and a mini salsa bar.
We observed for a moment and chatted it up with the locals. I couldn't help but notice an abandon taco with a single bite taken out of it. I asked the cook what was up with the taco. He said someone had put too much salsa on it and couldn't finish it. After ONE bite. Good warning. I decided to proceed with caution when spicing up my meal.
Our meat choices that day: chicken, pork, beef and fish. But sadly, no shrimp. Between the six of us, we tried just about one of everything. My dad requested the ultimate torta combo - one sandwich, every kind of meat available. All of the four homemade salsas, including an avocado salsa, tasted amazing. They also offered a mild red salsa and a fiery HOT salsa. (We do mean HOT.) And lastly, the salsa verde should have come with its own warning.
Overall, you might call this place a diamond in the rough - if you're brave enough to rough it by eating out of truck in Mexico. Three adults and three kids were able to eat and drink for 20 American dollars, with a tip. And in case you're wondering, all were fine the next day.
I have to say, if you're ever in Cozumel and close to Puerto Maya, you need to at least try a torta from the blue truck.