Tacos at Oaxaquena Triqui

Oaxaquena Triqui tacos

By Deanna Fox

Jerry Garcia was right: "Once in a while you get shown the light in the strangest of places if you look at it right."

Sometimes it does take looking in an unlikely spot to find the best things... like tacos.

I think we can all agree on the culinary superiority of tacos. Combining major food groups into a portable, satisfying, wholly-delicious meal makes tacos the perfect food. Find me one person who doesn't like some version of a taco and I will find you 100 more to counter argue that point.

And then let me take that one person to Oaxaquena Triqui, a tiny tacqueria sandwiched between a Mexican bodega and a can redemption center in Albany. The tacos there are cheap and made from scratch, freshly flavored, and served up quickly with a smile.

Honestly, how can you do better than that?

Oaxaquena Triqui exterior 2016-August

Oaxaquena Triqui is inconspicuously located on the corner of North Lake Avenue and Bradford Street, north of Washington Park in Albany. A half-block away is Sovrana's pizzeria, which for years has been a shining beacon in the neighborhood's food scene.

The tacqueria ios easy to miss, with nary a sign and only a few Mexican tchotchkes in a front window to indicate the storefront's purpose. Venturing inside is a delight. Griselda, the owner, greets you with a warm "Hola!" before taking your order at the register. The menu is located behind the grocery shelving and tucked in front of a pass-through window.

Oaxaquena Triqui tacos closeup

Go for the tacos. Al pastor, lengua, chopped beef, or chapulines (which I learned are tiny spiced, crunchy grasshoppers tossed with lime juice) are the protein options. All are served on a corn tortilla with lime wedge, cilantro, fresh onion, and a generous helping of tomatillo salsa in authentic Mexican pottery. Grilled scallions and cactus are served on the side.

I had pork and steak tacos with a few chapulines on the side. Flavors are indicative of Oaxaca, the southern Mexican state; warm, slightly spicy, tinged with citrus, cumin, chili, but never contrived. This is rustic, country cooking, done by Griselda's husband. (And how were the grasshoppers? Crunchy... and not really something I need to eat again.)

The tacos, paired with a Mexican Coke, were less than $10 all together.

Oaxaquena Triqui interior grocery spices

Oaxaquena Triqui interior grocery items

The tamarind popsicles in the freezer case by the door looked tempting. There were close to a dozen interesting flavors to choose from. And try buying your spices here, too, which are examples of the seasoning used in the tacos.

Oaxaquena Triqui is also a means to a better life. Griselda tells me they opened the store and restaurant as a chance to send their daughter to college, uncertain of how to provide a better future otherwise.

The establishment is not yet a month old, so be courteous if flaws appear, but go, and go often. This sort of mama and papi joint is fading fast.

Oaxaquena Triqui offers more than a tasty lunch. It's a reminder as to why America is so, so good.

Deanna Fox writes about many things, mostly about food. More can be found on her website, Twitter, or Instagram.

More Eat This:
+ Chicken spiedies at Excelsior Pub
+ Blackened Fish Po'Boy at Hooked Seafood Co.
+ Burgers at Crave
+ Coconut cream pie at Restaurant Navona

Find It

Oaxaquena Triqui
77 North Lake Ave
Albany, NY 12206

Comments

Greetings,

I'm from California and have lived in Albany for four months. Those photographed do not look like tacos to me. Missing is the salsa and edible-looking meat. Why are there so many onions? Why are they not chopped and in salsa.
Looks like we have a long way to go...

I drive by this place every day with no idea it existed. Thank you for making us aware. It looks delicious. Do they have any tables or is it strictly carry out?

I love tacos.
I think this is the best post I've ever read on AOA, I'm not really sure why it has just struck me this way.
Thank you Deanna

Tammy, I've never heard of salsa on tacos before. Usually just cilantro, onions, and a squeeze of lime, and maybe some sliced radishes on the side. But hey, what do I know?

Dear Tammy, The AOA Start-up grant is still accepting applications. Why don't you start your own delicious taco stand?

You could call it:

"Tammy's Tasty Tacos"

"I'm From California and Everything There is Better Tacos"

"Salsa and Edible-Looking Meat Tacos"

"I've Lived in Albany for Four Months and I Know Everything Tacos"

"Cyril's an A-hole and I Hate Him Tacos"

"AOA, did that last one just get Cyril Banned? Tacos"

Look on the bright side, Tammy Z., at least now you can get edible wings & pizza.

Tammy,

Welcome to Upstate NY. We have a lot of great things to offer, unfortunately Mexican is not one of them. You will not find as good of Mexican as you had in California. My recommendation if you want to come close would be El Mexicano up in Saratoga Springs. That being said-we have the best Italian food outside of NYC. It's all a trade-off.

@Tammy Zavinski; You don't really expect a taco to look the same as California, do you? If that's you expectation prepare to be very disappointed with anything outside of Commiefornia. Also, Our hamburgers are not like In-N-Out. :(

Chopped and in salsa?? Apparently you have never been to Mexico. Your "California" version of a taco sounds very Taco Bell to me.

There are many different styles of tacos. Traditional style are usually garnished with cilantro and onions. Also, Chicken and beef are not the only meat people use. Might be good to reserve judgement till after you've tried them rather than criticize and hope for a style of taco similar to a place over 2,500 miles away.

@ Tammy

We have reviewed your credentials, and while having been born in California and your 4 months in Albany are truly impressive, we do not believe that they qualify you to assess tacos at the moment. Please do keep up informed of any new credentials going forward. Buenas suerte, Mexico

Ahh, the classic onion and cilantro taco. Just think, you could get two of these babies and a soda for $10, all served on "authentic Mexican pottery".

Tammy, Mexican Indians from Oaxaca do not make Cal-mex food. Just an FYI.

@Tammy, you're from California so that makes you an expert on tacos? What exactly is "edible-looking meat?" Onions and cilantro is what street style tacos come with. The onions aren't only served in salsa. Sometimes you can eat them without salsa! The horror!

Looks like a great place to stock up on some spices and things you need for making your own at home, right after you pick up some tasty tacos.

[I think everyone has now made their point about different regional styles of tacos.]

This may get me in trouble...

...but I'm kinda with Tammy on this one. Not entirely with her, but kinda with her.

Maybe it's that I know a little bit about what it's like to come from California to Albany and be amazed at what foods people elevate here in the Capital Region.

In truth, the onions do look awfully big. And I'm confused as to why they aren't chopped into the cilantro.

My hunch, and it's only a hunch, has something to do with the cilantro haters. How many times would someone have to ask for "no cilantro" for you to decide to chop the herbs and the onions separately?

All I know is that long ago the people of Albany ruined Paesan's pizza by demanding that bubbles were popped and that the crust was barely browned.

Regardless, I'm looking forward to getting this food in my mouth as soon as I can. Not on the strength of these pictures, but so I can taste for myself how this joint stacks up to La Mexicana in Schenectady.

And crickets. I gotta try their crickets.

This place recently just open and honestly it is one of the best street tacos I have try since a while. Good flavor and also includes famous Mexican drinks, Jarritos and Orchatas but of course more options. Small place but great taste and cheap.

Chopped and in salsa?? Apparently you have never been to Mexico. Your "California" version of a taco sounds very Taco Bell to me.

Amy there are a few tables to eat at in the back.

I'm also from CA and have been in the Capital Region for a while. Salsa and lime should always come on the side so that the eater can add these to their taste. Based on the pictures, the tacos are fairly close to what I used to get at the 50 cent taco stand near my school. I can't speak to what the tacos from Oaxaquena Triqui will taste like, as I haven't tried them, but these look promising. For this area, this is as close to real Mexican tacos as you're going to get (La Mexicana is a great alternate joint for tacos, and I'm mourning the loss of the Mexican Market's food, but that was a great place as well).

I visited the other night based on Deanna's recommendation and I have to say -- the tacos (chicken and beef, and I tried the cricket taco, too) and the burritos were EXCELLENT. I suspect that there are many versions of "authentic" Mexican food depending on the region of the country from which the cook comes - this food is 100% authentic Mexican. Worth your while.

Does anyone know what happened to Bros Tacos? I miss that place... and can't wait to try this one! Thrilled that they are near another standby favorite (Sovrana)

Thanks, Deanna for writing about this place. It's on my way home from my "day job" and I pass it on my bicycle every day (bicycling tip: Bradford Street is a great low traffic volume, low stress east-west street to ride you bicycle in midtown Alb). Reading this made me nostalgic for the early days of the now closed Bros Tacos in my neighborhood -- mouth still watering for one of their fish tacos. Though I suppose Bros was probably more on the California-mex side than Oaxacan.

Practical question: Did you mention whether they accept credit/debit cards? I may have missed it reading about the flavors, spices, crickets and of course...the uhhh...comments.

And we wonder why bullying is an issue for our children? Just look at these comments on a post about tacos. I scanned them to see if there was a consensus on the quality of the food and found something altogether different. SMH. I love All Over Albany...a fabulous resource sans attitude... but wow, there are some haters here. You're better than this, Capital Region.

FYI...
Serious Eats has put together a good compendium examining the many, many different styles of tacos.

http://www.seriouseats.com/2011/07/the-serious-eats-guide-to-taco-styles.html

@Leah: Practical question: Did you mention whether they accept credit/debit cards?

Not as of last night, when I visited.

Fast service, nice people, tasty, and great value.
Can't tell if it's 100% authentic Mexican and I don't honestly care -- I bet there is no *single way* to be authentic Mexican, and I'll settle for good Mexican anyway.
Try it, it will cost you $7 for two tacos and 15 minutes of your time. Don't care for it? Move on.

Got take out from there today. excellent. delicious! can't wait to go back. If you are expecting Taco Bell or Chipotle or Moe's, you won't like it. It is good Mexican food, slightly modified for a more american palate, but still excellent.

Ps: they have an atm in the store. I can't recall if they accept cards or not.

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