Submitted by cpujockey t3_y69ai6 in vermont

Well the mrs and I decided to venture out and hit up this taco joint in middlebury.

much to our surprise the place was a bit difficult to find until we found the sign pointing to the establishment. Thanks google.. and well it's got charm, def punk rock vibes. Pretty busy by the looks of it.

We grabbed our menus, sat down, wanted to get some chips and slasa - nope, out of slasa... so ok, fine we'll do chips and guac. well the chips were just deep fried uncut tostadas - that were chewy, not crispy. the guac was just guac - nothing special about this.

Then our order came up for a slow burn and shrimp tacos. These tacos were double wrapped in non-toasted street taco style tortillas - a serious sin for anyone who enjoys real tacos... and well there was no burn on the slow burn, i could taste a lot of cilantro, but the pork was pretty dry like when you put country ribs in a slow cooker too long. The mrs's shrimp tacos were actually spicier than what I had which was odd. but anywho, they were out of diet soda, no biggy, just had a cane sugar soda, so what evs.

over all I rate this experience a 1.5 out of 5 stars. flavors were off, nothing authentic, and a bit too pricy. I remember the mrs telling me she did not want to tell me how much it all cost so I am going to assume we probably spent around 50 bucks for this let down.

this place is a tourist trap and could benefit from some remedial education on how to properly culturally appropriate tacos.



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Top-Collection-5036 t1_iso3zof wrote

I have to question your statement “a serious sin for anyone who eats real tacos”. Was this in reference to the double tortilla? Or the fact that the tacos weren’t toasted? I lived in San Diego for many years and ate regularly at countless authentic, Mexican taquerias and tortillas are never ever toasted for tacos and more often than not you get two tortillas per taco. The idea is to eat the first one and whatever fillings you lose can then be eaten as a second taco as they fall into the other tortilla.


Accurate-Tell8 t1_iso9tml wrote

Exactly. Someone coming on here complaining about the tacos not being authentic and then bashing the place for not toasting the tortillas 😂


raincntry t1_iso3na8 wrote

I have never understood how they got a reputation for good food. Their tacos are bad. I think they benefit from being one of the earlier taco places around.


Twombls t1_isoaif7 wrote

The other locations are fine. The middlebury one is just really bad.


raincntry t1_isona4h wrote

To each their own. I find them overwrought and simply bad. I've had them in Middlebury, Essex Jct. and Montp. I've given them enough opportunity to make a good taco and they always fail. I'm with other posters on this thread, there's not much, if any, good Mexican food in VT. Certainly nothing like a good, fast, simple taqueria.


Twombls t1_isookdv wrote

Thats why I said "fine" not good. The food I had at the middlebury mad taco was like actually bad. Like my gf assumed that they poured a ton of liquid smoke on it or something. It had an off taste that made both of us nauseous.


fauxsota t1_isnxl2n wrote

The mad river valley location is the tits


Loudergood t1_isv10oz wrote

It is and they've been riding that reputation elsewhere unfortunately.


kingloki802 t1_isnzyeo wrote

Essex Junction location has similar issues. And the guys are kinda jerks too.


Distinguished_Parrot t1_isqb2l7 wrote

I was excited as hell when they opened up their Essex location. We had to go back twice after to make sure it wasn't the chef having a bad day. The chips, as OP noticed, have a horrible consistency and get inedibly greasier as they sat out. Everything was overseasoned and weren't very tasty.

The positives were that their 8-10 salsas were hotter than what you could find anywhere around at the time, and their spicy margs were amazing with mezcal.


random_vermonter t1_iso5s03 wrote

If you want tacos, make them yourself. You won’t find authentic anything in VT.


Deuce-anda-half t1_isoka9h wrote

Hard disagree. I think that there are many authentic Himalayan spots in Chittenden Co.


Twombls t1_isooqf6 wrote

Yeah. Its almost like we get authentic food representative of the population that lives here.


Footie57 t1_isnxv8d wrote

I was a little disappointed when I went a couple months back too. I just chalked it up to being super spoiled with great tacos where I used to live


cpujockey OP t1_isnya7d wrote

Yeah part of the "problem" is I eat real authentic tacos and mexican food when visiting the mrs' family and I cook pretty good tacos. Just nothing about this visit screamed come back for more or the food is good. I am surprised how much business they were pulling in.


justreadthearticle t1_isnzjwy wrote

Isn't this just the reality of the Mexican food in New England? Outside of the stretch of I-95 that goes from NYC to Portland, is there actually any authentic Mexican in the northeast? If so, can you list them out because I'm always looking.


pro_conser333 t1_isnzv4f wrote

Try Aranda’s in Barre/Berlin on 302. It’s amazing and definitely authentic.


cpujockey OP t1_iso04my wrote

I'll keep that in mind if I'm around that area.

I am down in Addison county so food choices are not exactly top not unless you want to go to tourtelle and spend a boat load of cash on some really adventurous tasty food.


pro_conser333 t1_isprhri wrote

I know this is an unpopular opinion here but I find it hard to find good restaurants in Vermont. It’s like they are afraid to use spices and give the food some flavor. There’s only a small handful of restaurants that I enjoy here.


cpujockey OP t1_isprt0n wrote

> It’s like they are afraid to use spices and give the food some flavor.

yes and a lot of times they are afraid of authentic amounts of flavors too.


nomadicbohunk t1_iso5x2v wrote

This might help: In Springfield, MA...Hartford CT area....Framingham, MA. Somewhere in Western MA I found actual homemade Oaxacan mole at some place. Waltham, MA has a couple good places too. I'm kind of lumping Salvadorian/Guatemalan in with Mexican here... Oh yeah. There's a truck in Springfield right off the interstate that's REALLY good. Good for anywhere and I've lived all over and grew up on this kind of food on the regular. Um, they make those birria tacos with Oxacan cheese where they griddle them like in Tijiuana. I haven't gotten those there yet. Look that up and you'll find them. Most places are very solid, but they still make me miss my favorite trucks and shacks in Mexico and across the US.

Springfield does have some super solid food options in general if you're into the whole $5 food made by a grandma in a shack thing rather than the VT $30 hyper local hipster thing. The $75 fried chicken in Winooski cracks me up. Someone took me there. It was fine, but I'd had better fried chicken in the south from gas stations for about 1/5 the price.


TheMobyDicks t1_isoz6tk wrote

There is a small section of Lynn, MA (yeah, I know...) that is Guatemalan and on both sides of the street you get authentic Guatemalan food, in restaurants and grocery.


cpujockey OP t1_isnzvxc wrote

the fucked up thing is it's not hard to make authentic mexican food. I'd say it's one of the easiest most delicious things to cook at home hands down.

additionally, if an establishment is going to veer off the authentic path, at least do it well, be brave, do things unconventional - not cheap and an imitation.

Not Not Tacos does it right according to my friends in CA when it comes to stepping outside the box and doing cool shit with tacos. But these guys really need to step up their game.


ElDub73 t1_iso0mtl wrote

It’s not hard to make authentic Mexican?

I’d suggest it’s not hard to make crappy inauthentic Mexican.

The real stuff is not that easy.


cpujockey OP t1_iso1qj8 wrote

> The real stuff is not that easy.

I guess a lot of you don't have much experience in a kitchen. I worked with st. pierre catering in my formative years before moving on to IT. I also had a passion for food growing up especially food that was spicy. Alton Brown, Jacques Pepin, Justin Wilson, and others were my idols growing up on tv. I guess I just really love food.


ElDub73 t1_iso3t54 wrote

I didn’t say I couldn’t cook it; I was just trying to get across that it’s hard to make it they way they do in the areas known for that food.


joementumsa t1_iso76nj wrote

You can get better tacos for half the price at the movie theater in Middlebury.


Fun-Pomegranate6703 t1_ison7r6 wrote

Lmao OP has no credibility talking about real Mexican food, but I will say Mad Taco is pretty bad. I was excited to try it since it’s one of the few places around that serves Al Pastor, but what I got was just flavorless pulled pork. That would be like ordering a cheesesteak and just getting a cheeseburger. FWIW, Taco Gordo in Burlington has Pastor that rivals any I are growing up in Colorado


df33702021 t1_isp7rp8 wrote

The irony there is Al Pastor was created by Lebanese immigrants to Mexico in the 1930s.


Fun-Pomegranate6703 t1_isp8f4r wrote

Idk why anything about that is ironic. The story behind Al Pastor is certainly interesting and it’s really cool to see the mix of cultures through the food, but how is that ironic?


df33702021 t1_isp8t6b wrote

Is it truly Authentic Mexican? Seems like a fusion.


Fun-Pomegranate6703 t1_isplhg9 wrote

I would say so? It was created in Mexico, grew in Mexico, and now consumers attribute the food to Mexico. But totally understand what you’re talking about- pretty much every ‘real’ Mexican joint I’ve been to out west serves Al Pastor, even if it’s heavily influenced by Lebanese cuisine (in the sense that it’s cooked and carved on a big spit.)


df33702021 t1_isq07c2 wrote

A lot of Mexican food is the same. One big melting pot.

As I have read: "Take your typical street taco, for instance. You've got beef or pork with cilantro, onion, and lime juice seasoned with hot sauce, garlic,
and cumin on a tortilla. Out of all the ingredients, only the chili peppers in the hot sauce and tortilla are native Mexican products, and the tortilla doesn't even count if it's made with wheat flour"


happyonthehill802 t1_isnxbl6 wrote

Weird, the one in montpellier has always been really good. Never tried middlebury


Twombls t1_iso9l7p wrote

The Waitsfield one is good too. The middlebury one is just bad. Like I've eaten at the Waitsfield one a lot after skiing and its pretty good. Not authentic tacos but I couldn't really complain. I took my girlfriend to middlebury and the meat on the tacos just had this pungent wierd taste through all of it. We couldn't tell what it was.


suffragette_citizen t1_iso301a wrote

Unfortunately, most of the "Mexican" places I've been to in VT have been overpriced hipster joints. Thankfully it's not too hard to make pretty authentic stuff at home, and I have family in a couple of places where I can get the real deal.

I don't feel like paying $10+ for 3 measly tacos with "fusion" flavors, stale tortillas and listless salsa, which seems to be the norm.


BothCourage9285 t1_isoqgaj wrote

My hypothesis is any "ethnic" restaurant will have to appeal to the taste buds of locals to be successful. So you sometimes get places that start out very authentic, but become less so over time.

The use of local ingredients, while the right choice IMHO, also changes the outcome. Soil, animal feed and climate isn't the same so there will be a difference in flavor.


zifnabhaplo t1_isp7n0p wrote

I like the Avocado Pit in Manchester,VT. This whole talk about authentic is complicated as what I got in Mexico city was different than California as well as other places in Mexico... anyway, the Avocado pit hit the spot for us.


ElDub73 t1_iso0idp wrote

You really have to massively temper your expectations when looking for mex/Latin food in this area.

I just came back from a trip to San Diego and my palate has been ruined for anything Mexican indefinitely. Everything was so damned good!

There simply isn’t the base of population to make good, authentic cuisine in that style.

Your best bet is to find some good authentic recipes and do it yourself.


cpujockey OP t1_iso1fru wrote

> Your best bet is to find some good authentic recipes and do it yourself.

oh we do. We just did not feel like cooking last night and the mrs's really wanted some tacos and I agreed with the notion.


fergal-dude t1_iso78tq wrote

Why can’t we have one awesome taco truck in Vermont? I’ve been here 20 years, but traveling to The Midwest last year in my hometown, found 3 taquerias in town. This place is smaller than Burlington. My favorite on had tacos for $2 a pop and they were delicious.

I think it would be in the realm of possibility for ONE person to have ONE truck where they made a decent taco… hell, you really only have to have about 10 ingredients in the thing. Well, then you’d have to have some gringo tacos with Vermonty shit on them, like some sort of maple one and a vegan one, but still.


ShadowPyronic t1_ispc75l wrote

Tac-o' de Town in Midd is good, but is done for the season.


Twombls t1_iso9f2s wrote

The economics really don't work in burlington for a cheap taco truck.


fergal-dude t1_iso9r8p wrote

Dude, I’ll pay full Burlington price, don’t miss the important points. For example, pre-pandemic my kids begged for $12 crepes from a stand on Church Street, and they seemed steady busy…


cpujockey OP t1_iso7lf8 wrote

> The Midwest last year in my hometown, found 3 taquerias in town.

Sorry to break it to you - but this is vermont.

> I think it would be in the realm of possibility for ONE person to have ONE truck where they made a decent taco… hell, you really only have to have about 10 ingredients in the thing.

could be a game changer, but I don't think the business model works in vermont unless there are a lot of events happening where the truck could be profitable. I'm surprised Beansies does so well.

> We’ll, then you’d have to have some gringo tacos with Vermonty shit on them, like some sort of maple one and a vegan one, but still.

I don't know about that. That kinda sounds awful. Then again, I'm just a native vermonter and an omnivore.


fergal-dude t1_iso8ksx wrote

I know where I’m at dude. But here I sit on a conversation about how bad the tacos are here, so seems there may be a market?

My wife is a health inspector and spends a great deal of time inspecting…food trucks around the state. I’ve personally been to Vermont taco trucks, they sucked but they are around, just not any good ones.

I would think a good business model would be to have a couple options to feed others, but then again I’m a flatlander married to a vegetarian who would love to eat at the same place as my wife. Loads of Mexican dishes are easily made vegetarian by using vegetarian beans. Pretty sure they have vegetarians in Mexico as well…


yafsyiasty t1_isoew1i wrote

Never been there, but someone complaining about not getting authentic Mexican at a VT taco joint is hilarious to me. The condescension, finished off with a cultural appropriation comment…cherry on top!


Twombls t1_isop9v8 wrote

Reddit burlington gets a weekly thread complaining about how our Mexican food is lacking and how we don't have $1 taco trucks. It is but like. I dont necessarily see anyone jumping in to fill that void so maybe there is a reason why we don't.


df33702021 t1_isp64zd wrote

Everyone standardizes on the socal version of a taco which is disappointing.

I went to the one in Essex once. Never again. It was awful. The fillings were like as if they were sitting on a cafeteria style hot table uncovered for a couple days. Dry and cooked to death with blah flavor. It was like the food was 10 days old and everyday sitting in that hot table. It was also super super salty. I tried it, but couldn't eat it. Even with only a couple bites that I tried, I had to suck down a couple glasses of water. I will never go to a Mad Taco again.


0thell0perrell0 t1_isppsp3 wrote

Street tacos, DF style, are done with two soft tacos. You don't know what you're talking about with authentic there.
As for the rest, man sorry you had a bad experience.


amanda468 t1_ispxx6r wrote

Highly over rated and overpriced


cpujockey OP t1_ispy1cp wrote


however the downvotes dont seem to be agreeing with me... I guess I pissed some people off with this post.


ChocolateDiligent t1_ispyqjk wrote

Owner left to smoke weed in the back parking lot in Waitsfield before giving me my check for my meal. After about twenty minutes before I up and left I had to walk out to the parking lot through their kitchen and ask if someone could ring me up before anyone took notice. These people are what we refer to as a vanity business.


Johnny9Toes t1_iso0spn wrote

So, did you add this review to Yelp or Google so it's easier for others to find?


cpujockey OP t1_iso1rn6 wrote

That's something I'll do later. I just wanted to get everyone's thoughts here.