Monthly Archives: March 2012

If you find yourself driving down Clayton Rd, about half-way between downtown Concord and the Clayton border you will pass the Taqueria Los Gallos Express #4, one of the seeming dozens of Mexican restaurants along that 6 mile stretch of strip malls and condominiums.

Los Gallos Express is part of a small local chain (4 stores).  While I don’t say that its has the best Mexican food to be found in Concord, I still often stop there if I’m in the neighborhood at lunch or dinner time, as I was a few days ago.

To digress a bit (and not to whine) – many, if not most, of my meals out are in the course of an often very long work day, during the course of which I may find myself pretty much anywhere in the East Bay.  Sometimes just having the chance to take a break in a pleasant environment, turn off my phone and relax for 15 minutes or a half hour is almost as important as the quality of the food I’m served.

Los Gallos fits that bill perfectly – it’s comfortable, the staff is friendly without being intrusive and the crowd appears to be mainly neighborhood folks, probably from the condos and town homes that lie directly to the southwest or the seemingly-endless subdivisions of 50’s and 60’s ranchers which make up much of central Concord to the north and east.  Overall, it’s a nice place to sit for a bit and decompress.

Don’t misunderstand – the food at Los Gallos is fine, although the real stand-out is the chips and salsa bar. They offer unlimited baskets of excellent (and perhaps made-on-premises?) chips and a great spread of various salsas, peppers, roasted onions etc, asking only that you “don’t waste” them. (I especially like the grilled jalapenos.)

I had my usual – the chile relleno plate

At $5.75, like everything else about this place, not the best deal in the world, but good and comfortable.

Note: Not to imply that any of my visitors are unlettered enough to need the reference in the title explained, but in the event you don’t have your copy at hand and want to read it again, click here.

So the whole hypester hipster food truck thing has finally made it across the bridge and through the tunnel to the ‘burbs with the arrival of the Bay Area Nom Nom Truck in Walnut Creek. Naturally, I had to try it so, on Saturday, when I had nothing else to look forward to but an afternoon in the office catching up on paperwork, I figured I’d ease the pain by treating myself to whatever the truck had to offer.

As promised by the its website, I found the Nom Nom Truck parked at the gas station on the southwest corner of Ygnacio Valley Blvd and Civic.

I confess to a moment of sticker shock when I saw the prices and reflected on the irony of the truck’s promise of bringing banh mi “to the masses” while charging more than any Vietnamese sandwich establishment in the world and I commented to the gentleman at the window, who assured me that I would “see value” in what I got.

With that assurance, I ordered the grilled pork sandwich at $6.75, paid, got my order within what seemed like about 2 minutes, headed back to the office and ate my lunch.

I really wanted to love this, but, the truth is, I was disappointed – it was just OK.

On the good side:

  •  service is fast and the folks in the truck are friendly.
  • the sandwiches are generous – probably a third again as large as the ones you get for a third the price at places like Cam Huong and Thanh Thuy in Oakland or Dakao II in Milpitas. (You do the math on that.)
  • they have big chunks of real meat in them.
  • they’re not bad.
  • they photograph well.

On the not-so-great side:

  • they’re not so great; kinda bland, really (and where were the peppers?)
  • they cost a fortune (maybe an exaggeration)

The thing is that in Walnut Creek I can get a much better (albeit, non-Vietnamese) sandwich for the same more-or-less 7 bucks at Morruci’s or Genova and not have to pay that for the privilege of standing in the rain in a gas station parking lot. (Ok, so it wasn’t actually raining – but it was cloudy)

In short, while the guy was right when he said I’d “see value”, it wasn’t $6.75’s-worth of value. (Maybe $5?) Overall, the Nom Nom truck isn’t bad, it’s just not that special.

I’ll be back when there’s a Groupon.