Tacos are the one of the most popular food to be offered in food trucks, mostly in the U.S. and some parts of Canada. Even though many other types of foods are offered from a truck these days such as waffles, dim sum, southern barbecue, and sweet desserts, the taco remains as an important vessel to transport flavors from all types of cuisines. That’s one of the many reasons why Grumman ’78 is so popular in Montreal. That, and they’re the first taco truck to ever exist in this city. And they’re delicious. As food trucks gain in popularity in Montreal, we will soon realize one predominant issue: seasonality. Unless some food trucks invest in outdoor heaters, and winter tires, we won’t see very much street food when the snow falls. What’s the next best way to offer delicious bouffe de la rue all year round? How about opening a location in a food court! Genius!
If you are curious about the people behind Grumman ’78 and my encounters with them, I suggest you read part 1 of this write-up at StreetFoodMontreal.com.
The food court is that wonderful place between having a food truck and full service location. It’s no secret people want to taste these fantastic tacos year-round. So, ask and you shall receive, or so I believe that’s how this story goes. Located in the grungy and sort of runned-down Faubourg mall, Grumman ‘78’s stand is at the top of the escalator next to a pretty decent Dollarama. The one thing I will give credit to the Faubourg for, is some of their offerings in the food court; Bangkok, Sumo Ramen, and that little deli aren’t too bad. I’m sure Concordia students don’t mind these veritable pickings, since some of their classrooms are on the same floor. The main area of the mall is pretty much, well, empty inside. But that doesn’t stop me from getting my taco fix! In fact, it’s very convenient. Whether they’re in a church basement at Puces Pop, or parked at some festival, it’s not uncommon to see a line-up of hungry individuals wherever Grumman goes.
Most of the wonderful favorites from their truck are served here. They usually keep 5 tacos that rotate in flavor, 3 to 4 sides, and a few drinks all served in bags. The bagged beverages are a little strange at first, but are actually quite fun to consume. The turkey dinner taco is one of my favorites. Filled with deliciously moist turkey, stuffing, and tart cranberry sauce, this one is clearly Thanksgiving in taco form. The curry lamb taco was a new one for me. I’m not a huge fan of curry, but this was fantastic. The spicy (not spicy as in “hot spicy”, but spicy as in good spices, spicy) lamb chunks were tender and delicious. The julienned apples, mango chutney, and pickled onions gave a nice sweet and tangy contrast to the curry-flavored lamb. A real winner I believe curry and non-curry lovers will enjoy as much as I did. The pimenton taco is Grumman’s vegetarian offering. Usually, if there’s meat being offered, I tend to gravitate towards that, but there’s nothing wrong with having something vegetarian once in a while. For this tasty taco, red beans are braised with pimenton, a dried oak-smoked Spanish red pepper, are poured over refried black beans, then garnished with pickled radish, pickled onions, a few cilantro leaves, and crumbled feta. You really get all the right flavors in this taco; saltiness from the feta, sharpness from the pickled veg and cilantro, and deep rich slightly spicy flavor from the beans. Delicious.
Going back to the meat side of things, the ancho beef taco is one of my new favorites. The moist and tender beef chunks, stewed with ancho chiles, are covered in thick slices of avocado and a drizzled with a creamy sauce. With a little squirt from the accompanied lime wedge, this is one fantastic taco. Finally, I dove into the wonderfully overstuffed chorizo and crab taco. The cool crab compliments the spicy chorizo perfectly. Some of it fell out of the taco, but I did get enough in each bite, and enjoyed eating the remains with my fork afterwards. The best part, they use REAL crab, and not that imitation stuff. Only the best from Grumman ’78. I also really like the Papas Grumman as a side. This amazing accompaniment is composed of fried hunks of sweet potato tossed in a garlic aioli, sprinkled with their homemade cheese which is similar to feta, only less salty.
I missed my Grumman tacos for a few months, so now I’m very happy I can get them year round. Even though the Faubourg may seem like an unusual place to be, the Grumman ’78 food court stand is always hopping. Mark my words: once the food truck scene has matured into a mainstream source for food, food courts will flourish and experience the same growth food trucks are experiencing now. Why? I’ll let you figure that one out.
To read part 1 of this Grumman ’78 story, visit StreetFoodMontreal.com.
Grumman ’78: 1616 Sainte-Catherine Ouest, Montreal, QC H3H 1L7; (514) 290-5125