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Saturday, December 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 30.0° F  Light Snow Fog/Mist
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The Taquería El Norteño taco truck sets up camp in north Madison
Cheap eats and green salsa at Warner Park
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Credit:Linda Falkenstein

You may have read about the Los Angeles-based Korean-fusion taco truck called Kogi BBQ that's the hottest thing in southern Cal, tweeting its ever-changing whereabouts to its wired and hungry foodie fans.

L.A. has an extensive taco truck culture devoted to more traditional Mexican street food as well. Half the fun is looking at the brightly painted RVs that constitute these mobile restaurants, works of underground art in themselves. Both the food and its vehicle delivery systems are chronicled on a number of blogs like The Great Taco Hunt and LA Taco.

Madison now has its own taco truck. Taquería El Norteño has pulled into the parking lot at Warner Park, and there it is going to stay. It has a startling paint job -- in at least one incarnation, it must have been called Rico's Tacos, and in another, it was painted to resemble a brick wall -- and it does not, apparently, vend in places other than the parking lot at Warner Park.

When I first dropped by on an overcast afternoon when the Mallards were not in town, the proprietor was hanging out next to the RV, but he quickly returned to the mobile kitchen, washed his hands, and indicated that the tacos on the menu for the day were chicken and pork. The next day he would have steak tacos and enchiladas as well.

Tacos are just $2 and come topped with onions and cilantro, a slice of lime on the side and a small container of wickedly hot, fresh green tomatillo salsa. This was fantastic and I used most of the cup as dip for some tortilla chips I had in the cupboard.

The barbecued chicken taco was good, certainly hot, with an intense red sauce; the barbecued pork taco better. Both the chicken and the pork are in chunks, not stewed and shredded -- but still quite tender. The carne asada was salty and rich, but a little fatty. Other filling options listed on the menu (though not available when I've dropped by) are fried pork and crispy pork, and I still haven't made it back when the enchiladas or the tamales are available.

Burritos are $5. There are no frills like taco salads in crispy bowls that you can eat, or sides of beans, or desserts. It is, however, one of the best food deals at Warner Park, if you're heading to a Mallards game.

Taquería El Norteño is usually open daily from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. There's no phone -- take that, Natt Spil -- and there's no Twitter feed, either.

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