New Haven has a reputation for its food trucks. Sitting in the shadow of I-95, Long Wharf Drive is one of the bastions of good, cheap meals on wheels. The Nexcalli truck is a standout, not only for its good eats but because it's the only black truck on the lot. There are often two groups of trucks at Long Wharf, and Nexcalli is usually closer to the Ikea end of the street.
There's a makeshift wood bench next to the truck, but if a seat and table are true necessities, it's pretty easy to sneak food into the Ikea cafeteria down the street.
During lunch and dinner hours, especially on weekends, you'll find the are around the trucks full of people eating in their vehicles or using their car hoods as a makeshift dining room table. It's a food truck after all: That's part of the fun.
THE FOOD: Has a burrito ever changed your life? Without a question the al pastor (pork loin) burrito is what dreams are made of. No rice and bean filler, just straight piles of pork with avocado, onion, and cilantro. Pineapple is the secret ingredient giving the al pastor its sweetness. Order it spicy for full effect.
An assortment of other meats are available for burritos and tacos, including carne asada (steak), carnitas (pork), pollo (chicken), and lengua (beef tongue). Tacos aren't huge, about 3.5 inches, or expensive. It won't break the bank (or your stomach) to put back three or four. Top them off with a squirt of the equally flavorful red and green hot sauces and a squeeze from a lime wedge.
A cabeza (beef head) taco was a sleeper hit with moist and tender meat, and the taco placero (steak, sausage, onion, cactus, and avocado) came recommended from friendly strangers.
THE BILL: The tacos are very cheap ($1.25) and small. Great for tasting different fillings. A cheese-drenched quesadilla ($6) or a burrito ($7) is enough for a hearty appetite. Bottled water or canned soda are $1. Nothing on the menu is more than $7.
THE PARTICULARS: Parked on Long Wharf Drive, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, as weather permits. Cash only. Details: 203-773-3906.
THE VERDICT: This truck should a frequent stop for Mexican food fans passing through the Elm City on I-95, or anyone in the area. Consider yourself "in the know."