Although I see an abundance of food trucks all over DC, very few are gluten-free friendly. Cooking in such close corners is certainly not conducive to avoiding cross-contact with wheat, barley, and rye, so the only food trucks I trust are ones that are 100% free from gluten.
While attending the opening festival of the Kennedy Center’s new expansion, I was thrilled to discover a new-to-me food truck that fit the bill with a completely gluten-free menu that’s also rather vegetarian and vegan-friendly as well.
Not one to ever pass up a chance to try tacos, I totally threw out my prior plans for dinner in favor of giving that food truck– Pablo’s Toc O’s– a try. After all, the discovery of a dedicated gluten-free food truck is always a “drop everything and try it out” situation!
As mentioned, with their completely gluten-free menu, ordering Pablo’s Toc O’s was totally a fear-free experience, as I didn’t have to worry about cross contact due to the presence of flour tortillas (seriously, the bane of my existence!). With tacos featuring a variety of meats (and a vegan option) as well as several side options, I appreciated the variety of food offered by the Pablo’s Toc O’s team, and that vegan items were noted (the vegan tacos, pickled veggies, and rice and beans). Due to the long line to order, I didn’t play 20 questions with determining if the meat-based options were (or could be made) dairy-free and planned to order the vegan tacos.
The tacos come in a pairing of two, and are stuffed to the brim with seasonal veggies, cilantro, vegetarian beans, cabbage slaw, onions, and roasted tomato sauce. Unfortunately, the generous portioning of the filling was more than the single-tortilla tacos could handle, so it made eating them a rather messy affair. Although I embarked on each taco in a handheld fashion, I quickly switched to a fork after a few bites.
I rarely liked the spicy, robust sauces on the taco and the clear freshness of the ingredients. As someone who’s not a huge fan of corn kernels, I could have definitely left those and been a much happier camper. I enjoyed the many textures and vegetables that went into the taco, but some were rather large in size (especially the onion), which contributed to the unwieldiness of tacos as I attempted to eat them.
I really wanted to fall in love with Pablo’s Toc O’s but they just didn’t outshine some of the stellar tacos I’ve eaten in the past few years. I definitely plan to give them a second chance, and think one of their meat tacos is more up my alley in looking at the ingredient lists retroactively. While I wasn’t totally thrilled by my order, I’m really glad Pablo’s Toc O’s is on the DC food truck scene, and appreciate one more eatery (albeit a mobile one), where I can order without fear from gluten.