Located at the nexus of Wedgewood, Roosevelt, and Ravenna1 is Monarca Express, a truck we bestowed the honor of being the first stop of the The Great Seattle Taco Hunt. A truck is, in general, a safe spot for these kinds of missions. Their baseline tends to lean toward the authentic side, which is something we can get behind. Additionally, Monarca has held a high quality during prior burrito sampling—we can recommend those without hesitation.
The hunt, though, goes deeper than a mere burrito, and for a tortillaphile, the adobada taco can be a fickle yet dependable friend. It is the type of meat that elevates the taco to greatness when the sweet spot between dry and soft is adequately hit, which is easier said than done. Dry pork is not a pleasant experience.
Luckily, Monarca’s take stood firmly in the epicenter of where we like it to be. It had a pleasant chew, and the accompanying limes added a tangy zest to the palate. (Use limes with any taco when they land on the drier side—it can often be a helpful crutch.)
They also did not skimp on the cilantro, which we appreciate. The herb adds an earthy depth, though the amount could be too generous for those who tend to brush it off. Make sure to place your order accordingly.
The tortillas were unfortunately on the bland side and likely bought from a grocery store. They work as a vessel, but the spiced meat deserved to be cradled in something fresh and flavorful.
Overall, though, Monarca was solid. Maybe not a journey through the unexpected, but good and familiar, which is just O.K. with us. Braving a severe storm to try the adobada should be expected of anyone who takes tortilla-based cuisine seriously. Plus, they serve horchata, which is above and beyond of what we’d expect from most trucks.
1 WeRoRa as it is not commonly known as.