Some of what you read on Facebook might be alternative facts, but the fare at Tacobook is totally authentic.
Cheek meat. Chorizo. Tongue. Tripe.
It’s the real thing.
The taqueria at 1130 Broadway is tucked at the end of a plaza with a laundromat and hair salon, a stone’s throw from Everett Community College. It’s simple, spacious and bright inside, with five tables each seating four. The logo is red and Facebook blue with a design similar to the social media giant.
Deisy Ramos and her husband Rigoberto Bastida opened Tacobook last July 5.
“We were trying to come up with something people would see and remember. Every restaurant is an ‘el’ or ‘la,’ ” said Ramos, 28. “We put everything we had into it.”
She was filling a to-go order when I stopped in Monday late afternoon during the lull before dinner.
She cooks, using recipes from her mother and grandmother that her family serves in taco trucks across Western Washington. Bastida works the front counter.
They are proud of how far they’ve come in six months.
“I was stressed out the first two months,” said Bastida, 38. “A lot of work. No business. It was a very hard time. I started getting more white hair. She cried.”
Still, he stayed positive. “He used to say, ‘No worries. Everything will be OK,’ ” his wife added.
And it was.
“After the college opened, we started seeing a lot more students,” he said.
The couple, who have two young children, planned to open a taco truck before this space became available from a former restaurant owner who they say gave them an opportunity beyond their dreams.
“It is close to the school and close to our house,” Ramos said.
Bastida previously was a server at IHOP and Denny’s.
“I always wished I could have my own place. I went to a Washington C.A.S.H. class that helps beginners, entrepreneurs and dreamers,” he said, referring to what is now called Ventures, which empowers people with limited resources to improve their lives through small business ownership.
The class helped him with a business plan, resources and networking.
The couple have let customers shape their menu, such as offering combo meals and keeping prices under $10 for large items.
The $8 meat-lovers Torta Cubana sandwich is popular with construction workers. The $5 Hola combo with three tacos and a drink is a hit with college students.
The selection of street tacos is geared for varied tastes.
Americans go easy at first, Ramos said. “First time, it’s, ‘I just want beef. Or chicken.’ Then they go a little more. The last thing they want to try is tripe,” she said.
Tripe is cow intestines.
Herald social media guy Ben Watanabe stepped up to the plate for a tripe taco ($2) after Ramos told about the customer who grudgingly tried it then came back for more. Ten more.
“I’d be a sucker for letting the moment pass me by,” Ben said. “Having not braved the intestinal meat before, I can’t compare it to other dining experiences. But it was fine, had a light fried crunch to it, tasted like bacon and pork, and had a slight spice to it as well.”
Ben also chose a few old favorites.
“The chicken taco ($1.50) was excellent. Or at least I think it was, I wolfed it down in two bites. My mother would be mortified at my lack of dinner-table manners,” he said.
I didn’t notice, because I was too busy wolfing down half of his tamale.
“The pork tamale ($2) was moist and fluffy,” Ben said. “It had a great warmth to it that made a light plate of two traditional (read: small compared to the super-sized portions we are conditioned to expect) tacos.”
He also noted the cost. “The prices were fantastic,” he said. “With the community college nearby, I envy the starving students who can trot over for a few tacos in exchange for $5.”
The cooler has a variety of colorful bottled drinks, or Ramos will fix you up with a special beverage.
“She brought out a cup of her homemade horchata, a sugary drink I rarely indulge in, and it popped,” Ben said. “It was creamy with a strong cinnamon kick to set it off. And any time the owner is willing to bring out something from the back is a time I’m going to be in love with that place.”
My tostada ($2) was a tasty mound of meat, lettuce and sauce on a crispy round shell. Not only that, it was pretty.
Tacobook gets two thumbs up from me.
Add two more from me.
Andrea Brown at 425-339-3443; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @reporterbrown.
Tacobook: 1130 Broadway, Everett; 425-258-2762; www.facebook.com/Tacobook-1134608709932816.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
$$: $1.5o to $10.
Don’t miss: Tostada. Taco. Sope. Try it all, even tripe.