Baja Style food truck at ING Direct Cafe Waikiki
Baja Style food truck parked outside ING Direct Cafe
The Waikiki ING Direct Cafe isn't a bank. There's no money there (at least not gobs of it in a vault). What it is: a comfortable working space with free wifi (I like the shaded second-floor lanai overlooking Kalakaua Ave.), and best of all, it has terrific Mexican food, at least on Tuesdays and Fridays. On those days, the food truck Baja Style parks outside and dishes burritos, tacos and quesadillas. The burritos grande are indeed grande—a fresh, griddled flour tortilla practically bursting at the seams, filled with rice, beans and your choice of meat. I chose the chile verde pork stew, with tender chunks of pork in a mild green chile sauce, but the chile verde might be better as a plate—it quickly soaks the tortilla.
Left: wet burrito grande with chile verde. Right: tacos with smoked ahi.
Tacos are also memorable: bright and fresh with salsa and cotija cheese, quality corn tortillas, and well-seasoned meat, like the smoked ahi that Baja Style smokes itself.
Food truck eating isn't always the most pleasant experience—squatting on a curb, the wind carrying off napkins, and sometimes, sadly, my entire plate—so I love that I can bring Baja Style food into ING Direct Cafe. Not only that, ING gives you a free drink with your Baja Style plate. Food, wifi, a hand sink—what more could a wired food geek need?
You can also try Baja Style's food at its Latin Nights pop-up dinners tonight through Saturday. No burritos and tacos on the menu, though—instead, expect more upscale bites like atun ahumado, smoked ahi tuna with poblano chile and crema Mexicana, and tamale with smoked chicken and huitlacoche, otherwise known by its stripper name: corn smut. It’s a fungus that grows on corn, and it grows well here in Hawaii. Windy Aubrey of Baja Style found a Waimanalo farm that’s happy to sell her this previously unwanted blight. It has a delicate mushroom flavor, and in the tamale, it’s delicious.
Baja Style food truck at ING Direct Cafe on Tuesdays (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and Fridays (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.), 1958 Kalakaua Ave., parking entrance off Pau St.
Twitter: BajaStyleHI, 291-2096
Latin Nights, $75, August 9-11, buy tickets in advance at streetgrindz.com/latinnights/