My Expat Life, Now With More Quesadillas
I’ve been living in Freiburg for almost three years now, so it’s rare that I encounter culture shock anymore. All the little things that stressed me out when I first got here seem normal now, or at least I’ve come to terms with them. I’m not sure I’ll ever adjust to the cold winters, though luckily we’ve come up with an escape plan. But the one thing I’ve missed most about the US (other than people) is Mexican food. If there’s a salsa god out there, I think he may have finally heard me.
The Mexican food search
Freiburg doesn’t have a lot of Mexican restaurants, so it wasn’t hard to try them all. Sadly, none of them even comes close to what I ate on a regular basis when I was living in Atlanta. One of the restaurants is decent enough, though still wildly inaccurate, but the other two are awful.
I spent three months in Berlin trying as many Mexican restaurants as I could. Most of them were surprisingly tasty, and it didn’t take long before Andy and I found our favorites. I actually cried a little when we had to come back to Freiburg because I knew I’d miss the quesadillas, chips and salsa.
Tweeting with tacos
Last June while we were in Italy, I got followed on Twitter by the Holy Taco Shack. At first I laughed, thinking it was strange to be followed by a Mexican place. But then I noticed their profile said it was a taco truck in Freiburg. I’m pretty sure I squealed and jumped out of my seat with excitement.
Immediately I followed them back and started tweeting with them. They were just starting up in the area and trying to get into some of the local markets. I vowed to keep in touch so I’d know as soon as they were up and running.
A few days before we left for Berlin, they told me of a market they were starting to sell at, and Andy and I made plans to go on their first day. But the night before I received a tweet telling me they had been delayed. With only a few days left until our departure, we’d miss their opening by just two days.
By the time we returned from Southeast Asia, I knew the Holy Taco Shack was at the Wochenmarkt Rieselfeld market on the other side of town on Wednesdays and Saturdays. After recovering from jet lag, Andy and I hopped on the tram our first Saturday back and went to taste what I had hoped to be salsa my veins had been missing these past few years.
The Holy Taco Shack
I insisted we leave early so we could beat the lunch rush, but arriving at noon we saw we’d still have to wait behind several people. But after a few minutes we got to the front and placed our order. (I did mention who we were, but the response was just “oh hi!” It turns out his wife runs the Twitter account, and she got a good laugh out of this when I talked to her later.)
The quesadilla was wonderful. The salsa was perfect and spicy. I was in heaven. It was totally worth waiting almost nine months from when we first found out about the Holy Taco Shack, and it was certainly worth 30 minutes and two trams from our apartment to the market. We’ve been back several times because I just can’t resist.
Geoff, the owner and chef, is from the US and really knows what he’s doing. Despite the reputation that Germans don’t like spicy food, his taco truck is doing really well. While there are plenty of expats who come by for their fix, Geoff has lots of local customers too. Many times we’ve overheard people asking for descriptions of his three main offerings – tacos, quesadillas and burritos – because they aren’t familiar with the food, but they all seem to enjoy it.
In addition to selling their tasty food at the market, they also drive their food truck to special events in the Freiburg area, and they do catering. It also sounds like they’re about to start selling at a bar closer to the center of town one night a week, which means we can sit out in the patio with a beer and enjoy our quesadillas.
Freiburg just got a little better. The Holy Taco Shack has answered my guacamole and quesadilla filled prayers.
If you’re looking for more info about Freiburg and southwest Germany, check out this 1 week itinerary of the Black Forest and beyond.
You might also enjoy:
- The Best (and Worst) Mexican Food in Berlin
- Berlin International Restaurant Project: Greece, Spain, Mexico, Nepal
- Berlin International Restaurant Project: Russia, Sudan, Vietnam
- Berlin Christmas Market Round-Up
April 14, 2014 @ 9:16 AM
Praise to the salsa gods! 😉 Here in Warsaw, there’s been an increase in taco/Tex-Mex food trucks as well lately. And since the weather is finally getting warmer, I’m starting to see more of them out at events like my fav yesterday. Unfortunately, the taco guys had just run out of propane and I couldn’t wait until they had more for my taco fix. But always happy to stumble upon things like this as an expat!
April 14, 2014 @ 4:32 PM
We saw two Mexican restaurants when we were in Poznan and tried one, which wasn’t bad but nothing outstanding. I’m really just so happy to have good Mexican food in Freiburg! Enjoy your taco trucks!
April 14, 2014 @ 11:27 AM
I couldn’t live without my Mexican food. Glad you finally have a little piece of heaven to enjoy!
April 14, 2014 @ 4:32 PM
Thanks Jen! It’s been a rough few years!
April 14, 2014 @ 4:25 PM
April 14, 2014 @ 4:32 PM
April 14, 2014 @ 4:28 PM
I got so excited for you when I saw this post. I know how much you miss Mexican food! That looks so delicious and I am so happy you now have some quesadillas closer to home!
April 14, 2014 @ 4:36 PM
Thanks Val! It really is delicious, and I’m soooo happy! I’ve actually dragged Andy over there so many times he’s a little burnt out on Mexican food.
Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)
April 15, 2014 @ 4:36 AM
Awwwww! So happy your Mexican quest in Freiberg has gotten its happy ending! I definitely understand your joy at finding good Mexican abroad… we’ve kind of given up here in Asia, because it’s obviously just never going to happen. We went to one restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City where the salsa honestly just tasted like spaghetti sauce. I’m not saying I didn’t still eat it (because I totally did), but oregano has no place in salsa!
April 15, 2014 @ 10:24 PM
Thanks Steph! It’s so delicious I can’t stay away! The Mexican place in Siem Reap was actually decent enough for me after being here for a few years. It’s obviously not the same, but it was better than the other Mexican places in Freiburg, pre taco truck. Your spaghetti sauce style salsa reminded me of a few years ago when I was in Bromo, Indonesia and ordered spaghetti Bolognese, and the sauce was like bad sweet and sour sauce with a few bits of meat in it. Yuck.
April 15, 2014 @ 10:10 AM
I bow down to food trucks and the Holy Taco Shack. In Melbourne, there is a yellow taco truck that does the rounds around the city as does another one shaped as an 80s beatbox radio that sells awesome burgers I am told. I find that what the food the trucks sell is much better than what’s on offer by the local cafes and restaurants with their poor service and tired old menus. I’m no foodie but I’m somebody who appreciates it when people take pride in the food they serve. And that’s what these food trucks do. They take pride in what they do and sell a product in a fun and creative way.
April 15, 2014 @ 10:26 PM
You’re so right, Matthew. Geoff definitely takes pride in what he does, and it shows in the delicious food. And there’s something nice about a place that only serves a few dishes, so you know they’ve really been perfected. Hopefully we’ll get some more food trucks in Freiburg one of these days. Sausage stands are ok, but I’d love a little more variety. Though I doubt anything will ever top the Holy Taco Shack!
April 17, 2014 @ 4:17 PM
You lucky devils. I got a regular Mexican fix in Chiang Mai but now we are back in Turkey it’s time to go cold… (sorry, I just can’t bring myself to finish that sentence). There is one of those restaurants in town that does a bit of everything but whether ordering an Italian dish or a Mexican one the food tastes exactly the same. Bah!
April 17, 2014 @ 5:45 PM
Hi Shane, I love the food in Turkey! No, it’s not Mexican or Tex-Mex, so I imagine I’d still miss it there, but I think it would take me awhile to get sick of Turkish food. I’m not sure I’d trust a restaurant that serves multiple ethnic cuisines!
April 22, 2014 @ 9:39 PM
I think we totally take for granted all the Mexican food we have here. Finally went out for some a couple of weeks ago and it was delish!
April 22, 2014 @ 9:58 PM
I would say I’m jealous, but luckily these guys have saved me from my Mexican food deprivation!
May 5, 2014 @ 2:59 PM
That looks amazing! I’ve been missing a proper tex-mex restaurant over here. There are places locally that have tasty tex-mex food, but it’s not *right,* just tasty.
May 5, 2014 @ 9:11 PM
I totally know what you mean by tasty tex-mex but not right. Such a shame. But if you ever make it back to Freiburg, you have to try the Holy Taco Shack!