How do you survive winter in a waterfront Maine city? Good books, thermal underwear, and delicious tacos.
El Corazon is the heartiest of winter food trucks. Parked in downtown Portland, Maine most work weeks for lunch, Chef Joe Urtuzuastegui, co-owner April Garcia, and their team of family members and employees serve up authentic Mexican favorites year-round. Tacos, of course, but also burritos, taquitos, and the fan favorite, tamale of the day. This hearty, masa-filled husk, which features seasoned meat or vegetables, can also be pre-ordered in bulk and conveniently picked up at the truck.
Corazon’s signature item is the classic Sonoran-style hot dog from southern Arizona. Not a dog for the faint of stomach, this is a bacon-wrapped meal with beans, melty cheese, guacamole, mustard (how does this work so well??!!!), and—wait for it—chipotle aioli. Past specials have included an assortment of empanadas, warming pozole, and a #badhombre burrito that garnered nationwide recognition from TMZ—so get it if you see it. John Pickford, executive chef of the Hilton in Old Port, hits it up for the classic: fish tacos. “It gives you both interior heat and exterior heat quickly,” he says, adding, “the twitter alerts are key. The other day they served menudo for the first time. Just outstanding.”
Since it gets bone-chillingly cold in Portland in the winter, El Corazon accepts text-ahead orders to help mitigate standing outside in line. But how does the crew in the truck survive? “It does get quite cold in the truck,” acknowledges co-owner April Garcia, “but nothing that layer after layer after layer can’t handle. Toe warmers are essential. Last winter season was great because it was quite mild; but the winter before that had us shoveling a spot for us to park.” As one of the best places for Mexican food in Portland, Maine, full stop, staying open year-round is a testament to their dedication to their fans. “Our plan was always to run a year-round food truck business,” says Garcia, “and we’ve been able to sustain [the winter] business through our loyal customer base.”
El Corazon will be taking Christmas week off, so get those tamale orders in and grab one of their buzz-worthy salsas to go with. Even better, you can hire the whole truck for your next party, event, or catering need. It will snow, and it will be cold, but trust that El Corazon will dig out a spot on the street and serve up some ‘Mexican Food From The Heart’ to warm you. You just might make it.