Ras Rody’s Jamaican Vegan: You may have spied the Jamaican flag flying above Agua Fria just south of Camino Alire. Follow it into the surprisingly spacious dirt lot that’s host to Ras Rody’s Jamaican Vegan, a glossy black-painted truck that dishes up plant-based goodness adjacent to the chef’s new residence. Southwest Jamaica native Ras Rody and his family recently landed in Santa Fe via Dunedin, Florida, where Rody’s truck had carved out a niche serving food at Tampa-area farmers’ markets.
Now, he’s adding some welcome Caribbean flavor to Santa Fe’s dining landscape. Ras Rody’s combo platters ($12 for a hefty mélange of vegetables, grains and proteins) vary depending on the day and the ingredients. No matter what’s on offer, you’re guaranteed to experience the power of expertly layered seasoning. One combo featured stewed black beans redolent with coconut milk alongside curried chickpeas, yellow peppers, tofu and tempeh. These were served over brown rice with a side of sautéed ribbons of cabbage, diced carrots and sweet plantains. Two spongy banana pancakes rested neatly over the densely packed box, and the plate was delicious down to the last grain of rice.
The rest of the menu is simple, made up of a rotating selection of fresh juices ($5), smoothies ($7) and soups ($6-$10), and service is fast and genuinely friendly. If Ras Rody and his excellent truck have come to Santa Fe to stay, we can count it as a healthy blessing.
Tacos Acapulco: Over at the small lot on St. Francis Drive near West San Mateo Road, Tacos Acapulco opened quietly in January with a menu of tacos (fish, shrimp, asada, barbacoa and pollo; $8 for four with a side salad), burritos and other treats (Mexican fruit salads with chamoy, agua de jamaica). Acapulco native and owner Julio Rodriguez, who has worked at Tia Sophia’s and the beloved former Zia Diner, partnered with his brother Leonardo Muñoz to buy the truck, repainting it with a splashy Pacific Ocean beachscape as bright as the flavors of Rodriguez’s tacos.
Acapulco’s reputation for seafood is borne out by both the fish and shrimp tacos. The white fish is marinated and gently griddled with tomatoes and sweet green peppers rather than fried; the shrimp are kicky and plump; the tortillas are sturdy enough to hold together a messy, tasty job. A barbacoa taco had smoky, succulent low-and-slow-cooked beef chunks, while the carne asada was lean and neatly diced. All tacos are topped with crunchy bits of radish, shaved green cabbage and cilantro, and come with a zippy salsa verde, as well as a fresh salad of iceberg leaves, sliced mango, cucumber and shredded carrots.
The first taste of Rodriguez’s extra-hot tangerine-colored salsa blooms with the nutty, nuanced notes of chile de árbol, then floods the tongue with eye-watering heat. In short, this dude knows exactly what he’s doing. Since most of Santa Fe’s taco trucks are concentrated near Cerrillos or Airport Roads, Tacos Acapulco is also adding a much-needed taco signal-boost to the St. Francis corridor.