Tacos Morelos: Cheap Vegetarian Food on the Corner
In my meat-free book, there are three components to the perfect eatery (in addition, of course, to serving tasty food): First, there must be at least two vegetarian options on the menu -- having only one is boring and makes me feel like an afterthought instead of an valued guest. Second, the food should be cheap. I'm happy to pay for value, but I don't like to overpay for food I could just as easily have made at home. And finally -- and this is by far the hardest requirement to meet -- I get to bring my dog.
It is with these three factors in mind that I hereby dub Tacos Morelos, the Mexican food truck on the corner of Second Street and Avenue A, a Perfect Place to Eat.
Mexican food is occasionally derided as being different amalgamations of the same ingredients, and that is certainly one way to describe what happens with the meatless fare at this truck. That isn't necessarily a bad thing when, as in this case, the ingredients are all very tasty. With that in mind, though, the best way to decide what to order is to consider your circumstances: How hungry are you? How much cash do you have? Is a fork, knife, plate, seat, and table available nearby?
For the hungry eater on the run, I'm partial to the veggie burrito, which -- at $7.50 -- is also the most expensive option on the menu. The recipe is basic: beans, lettuce, cheese, guacamole, and yellow rice. The result is a hearty, handheld meal that will satisfy anyone looking for their Mexican food fix. If you're taking your food with you to a table, though, you might try the vegetarian tostada. Made with the same basic ingredients, this is more like a Mexican mini-pizza, laid out on a flat, crunchy corn tortilla. At $3 a pop, you'll probably want to order two, just don't try to eat this one while strolling around the East Village. It's a mess (albeit a delicious one). If you're into quesadillas, go with the cheese -- the mushroom version isn't particularly exciting. The vegetarian taco is a standout here, and at $2.50, it's also the cheapest option on the list. Tacos Morelos is never stingy with its fillings, and while the double shell does its best to hold everything together, you'll want to make sure you have some napkins nearby.
There is also one item on the menu for those who are sick of the basic bean/rice/cheese/tomato/lettuce combo that constitutes most vegetarian Mexican dishes, and that's the taco chile relleno. This treat features a deep-fried cheese-stuffed chile pepper served in a taco shell on a bed of yellow rice. You'll definitely need a fork and knife, and if you're smart, you'll stick a plate under that Styrofoam container as well -- otherwise you risk cutting right through it and ending up with taco chile relleno in your lap instead of your stomach. At $5, this beaut is a compelling reason for never spending more at one of the city's many high-class Mexican joints (where my dog is decidedly not welcome).