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Interview with Bandini of the Great Taco Hunt

Bandini was one of the first-ever online taco journalists, a man dedicated to expanding his knowledge of local taquerias, trucks, restaurants and tables and sharing it with the city he loves. He's just completed 30 Taco Trucks in 30 Days, a self-imposed challenge that electrified the taco community. We caught up with him just after the final truck was sampled and reviewed...

What was the inspiration for the 30 days project?

My goal is to catalogue as many taco trucks as I can. So I figured
this kind of thing where I would try 30 trucks that I had never
blogged about before in 30 days was a good way to help build up that
catalogue. I also liked the challenge of it.

What was the hardest part about hitting 30 trucks in 30 days?

I had to change my whole method of blogging . Normally I eat from a
taco truck then blog about it when I feel like writing. It could be
that night, or the next day, or days later. But since I had to get
every review in before midnight often I would have about an hour to
write the review. I wasn’t always pleased when I hit submit but there
was no time to be neurotic about it.

I noticed you stayed away from the fancy, new-fangled food trucks.
Why was that?

For the most part I was looking for trucks that no one had reviewed or
blogged about before. My favorite part about being on the taco beat is
to just go to a part of the city I’m unfamiliar with and check out the
taco scene. I think it would have been too easy if everyday I just
went on twitter to see where the closest food truck was.

You've been in the taco game for a long time now, what are the
biggest changes you've noticed on the streets of LA?

The customers are more diverse. I think there’s been some crossover
from the gourmet truck scene. We don’t see the same negative
stereotypes being placed on gourmet trucks that in the past branded
taco trucks. People used to joke that the only reason they ate off a
taco truck was because they were drunk after leaving the club. But no
one says “damn I got drunk and ate off the Nom Nom truck.” Well maybe
they do but it’s not given as an excuse for why they chose to eat off
a food truck.

Do you ever tell a taquero that you are "Bandini"?

No but sometimes I just wink and they know.

Which of the 30 trucks will you be going back to regularly?

Probably Ruben’s Tacos in West LA because it’s relatively close to
where I live. They have an al pastor spit in the wagon which is pretty
rare for the Westside. The problem is they have no competition and on
my last visit I saw that some corners were already being cut. Instead
of al pastor being carved to order the pork was already on the flat
grill. So until there is competition on the Westside there’s never
going to be the kind of taco scene we see on the Eastside.

One great part about the taco lifestyle is the random happenings
that take place around taco trucks. What was your favorite from 30
days?

Probably the fat little chihuahua at tacos el gordo. I wish I would
have taken a picture of him but I didn’t want to spook him and have
him run into the street. He probably ate more tacos in September than
I did.

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