After a weekend break from tacos, I was right back on the taco wagon Monday morning with a stop at Tacos Don Rafa. Don Rafa is the other major taco cart player on the east side of Sears. This cart sits right on State St, near the 8th South corner. Don Rafa is the 2nd cart that I’ve been to that claims to be the “first taco cart in Salt Lake City”… both of them do claim 1998, so I guess it is safe to assume that the taco cart revolution began in that year.
This really is getting tougher and tougher to judge. I’ve been to some of these carts in the past and kind of already had a predetermined score for them… but then when I visited on my taco tour, some have not tasted as good as I remembered, while some have been better. I guess the quality could slightly change from day to day.
It’s also tough, because let’s face it, there isn’t much to a beef, street taco, so the only thing that really separates one place from another may be how they season their beef or how they happened to cook the meat that day. Is it over cooked and dry? Too greasy? To chewy? Another thing that could separate one taco cart from another is whether they offer beans, rice, cheese, or onions… And I know that I’ve been to taco carts that offer beans, yet I am now 0 for 5 in getting beans. Maybe it’s too early in the morning and they beans aren’t ready? I don’t know.
Side note: if you are unfamiliar with SLC street taco carts, they all have a cooler next to the cart with taco and burrito condiments. Normal condiments include some sort of red hot sauce, a milder green sauce, sour cream, sometimes a sour cream / guacamole sauce, shredded cabbage, pico de gallo, sliced limes, and sliced radishes.
I give Don Rafa a 4.25 out of 5. I liked the carrots. They also had sour cream, which the last few places did not. The tortillas were grilled nicely. Give me some beans and cheese and you get an automatic 5.