Do one thing and do it well. That’s something I should try.
I used to tell people my ideal job would be a mattress tester. Specifically in the field of nap science. But I didn’t stick with it. I tried to broaden my appeal to being literate and capable of doing division and occasionally driving a car. Now here I am. Jack of all trades and master of none.
Not like the smarties running the Blue Donkey Cafe food truck. Richard Glitsch and “Dancin'” Anne Ogorek have it figured out. They do Guatemalan-style tacos and sides. That’s it.
And when the menu is so straight-forward, it gives them a chance to perfect the craft rather than constantly trying to innovate.
Not that innovation is bad, it’s just that, with food trucks, sometimes a lack of focus leads to a less-than-stellar product. That’s not a problem at the Blue Donkey Cafe.
Here is the menu at the Blue Donkey:
Sweet and spicy creamed corn.
Okay, that last one will require an explanation, but let’s deal with the main courses first.
“I use ground beef for the tacos because that’s how I was taught,” Ogorek said. People complain that ground beef isn’t “authentic,” but if you learn to make Guatemalan tacos from a woman from Guatemala and she uses ground beef, how much more authentic can you get?
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: authentic doesn’t mean much in the world of food. I’m as guilty as anybody else for using it, but the truth is, people all over the world make food in different ways. Yes, ground beef is used outside of Tex-Mex taco joints. Yes, hard-shelled tacos are eaten in parts of Mexico and South America. Some additions are extremely American, like putting sour cream on tacos or barbecue sauce on sushi, but so what? Eat what you like, not what someone tells you to like.
What I found when I visited Blue Donkey was the beef tacos were a bit more mild than the chicken tacos, but that varies day to day, Glitsch said. That’s because they use real, fresh serrano peppers to season the meat, which means some days the chicken is spicier and sometimes the beef is spicier.
Why use serranos instead of jalapenos?
“Serranos hit harder, but fade faster,” Glitsch said. “A serrano will turn you loose. Jalapeno heat holds on longer.”
So if you enjoy the initial rush of a hot pepper, but not the lingering burn, serranos are a better choice.
I love the heat. It’s sneaky. A couple of bites in, you might find yourself breathing a bit of fire. But, true to Glitsch’s word, the burning subsides quickly and you’re ready to eat some more.
If you’re not big on heat, ask for the tacos sans salsa. I don’t like your decision, but I will fight* to the death** for your right to make it.
**annoyance of everyone around me
Also, the fried shells are kind of a wonder. They’re soft in the middle, but crispy enough around the edges to hold their shape. I’m a fan.
The black beans have been an Ogorek favorite for 30 years. I think they’re hearty, if a bit plain. Do yourself a favor and ask for a splash of salsa on top. It’ll liven up the mix.
The creamed corn is a recent addition and a welcome one, at that. The mild sweetness hits first, but that sneaky heat comes on and tickles the back of the tongue enticingly. Better still, the corn kernels aren’t over-processed. There’s still a nice pop to them, so there’s good texture.
Now, let’s talk about Donkey Poo.
Glitsch said it’s fast become a best seller for the truck and one bite will tell you why. Donkey Poo is their version of guacamole. The ingredients are simple: avocado, red onion, diced tomato, cucumber, lime juice and a touch of olive oil.
I like cucumbers, but I’d rarely call them compelling. Here, however, they add a lightness and an added burst of fresh, green flavor.
“Avocados aren’t fresh and green enough for you, Greg?” asks the voice in my head that clearly hates me.
Yes, voice, they are. But avocados are also fatty and creamy and kind of heavy. The cucumber breaks that up, as do the red onion and tomato, and gives it a structure that I really love.
Poo isn’t always available, but that’s because getting good avocados takes time. Best to find Blue Donkey on their regularly scheduled appearances, when they’ve had time to purchase and ripen avocados for the purpose.
Winter can be a tough time for food trucks, so if you get a chance, please do visit Blue Donkey Cafe. The food is good. The people are nice. I want them to stay in business so I can eat more Guatemalan-style tacos and eat piles of Donkey Poo.
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Black beans (with salsa)
Sweet and spicy creamed corn