It may be a cliché, but there are some things a man just has to do alone. For me, one of those things is eating at Campos.
As I said before, the taqueria in Campos Market is at the very back of the store. The menu is pretty limited but also mainly consists of classic standard truck/street food fare.
In front of the counter is a group of diner-style seats and tables.
To the left is a cooler full of sodas (including, of course, the imported Mexican sodas) and beer. The trouble in paradise is to the right.
There are those who would have a hard enough time eating with a display of raw meat only a few feet away, but sometimes it’s even more interesting than that. For example, the time I was there with my mother and sister, there was some butchering going on. I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t amuse me a bit to watch them try to retain their appetites while someone was power-sawing through a slab of ribs nearby, but I can see how it would be disconcerting to some. As for myself, it just made me think that the meat on my torta was probably very fresh. Suffice it to say that neither they, nor anyone I’ve ever related the story to, has an interest in going there with me. Finally, I ended up returning on my own.
For the sake of this write-up, I ordered my “usual”, an asada taco and a carnitas torta. The taco had a good flavor, but for some reason Campos eschews the two tortilla system for their tacos, and to me at least the results don’t come out as well as the truck version. This is perfectly fine though, because their tortas are so good.
Ah yes, the torta. My favorite Mexican food item. It’s not so much any one component of this sandwich that grabs me, but rather the combination of the ingredients. It’s the old “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” thing in action. And to be blunt, Campos has the best tortas I’ve found in Boise. More than any other factor, the meat is the key to their success, because none of the other vendors are putting out anything that juicy and flavorful in their tortas. The bread, veggies and condiments are great too, but it’s the meat that really puts them over the top. I even tried a bit of my sister’s chicken torta on my previous visit, and was flat-out amazed how good it was.
Unfortunately, that meat counter will likely keep people from eating there, even if they’re not the xenophobic types who won’t even walk in the front door. It’s sad though, as those people will be missing the best tortas you can get without driving to Nampa. The ones in Nampa are worth the drive, but more about that in a future entry…
I enjoyed the post, and agree that their food is fabulous.
Regarding the butcher counter; people want authentic food, but don't want an authentic experience? Sounds like more spoiled Americans. I LOVE the authentic experience. Although, “authentic” in these terms is nowhere near the experience you would get in non-tourist areas of Mexico.
I say, “love it and embrace it!” Because there is a chain restaurant on every corner that you can go to if you just want a civilized, lovely, out-of-the-box ordinary lunch.
Thanks for the comment, I LOVE like-minded people!
Si….es comida muy bueno!!!! And yes, spoiled babyish Americans who probably haven't travelled much nor eaten much from street food carts or night markets. I'd rather watch the butchering at Campos while I eat than be sitting in a fast food chain watching them pull previously pre-cooked wrapped foods out of a microwave!!! Campos is pure atmosphere! And where can you eat something pretty authentic (at least the American version of authentic Mexican) and feel transported to another place? In Campos you're likely to hear more Spanish spoken than English and in my book that's great. 2 thumbs up!!! And if you don't want to eat there, grab some of the marinated carne asada from the butcher case and various ingredients from around the store (avocado, hot sauce, radishes, limes, etc) and go home, fire up the grill and make your own. Heaven is Orchard Street!!
I realized while eating some pretty sketchy dim sum lately that the only reason I knew it wasn't that good is because I've had better. Luckily, I've never been to Mexico so I don't yet have that frame of reference to destroy my favorite local Mexican eateries for me!
Yes, how can one not love Orchard St? Campos Market is on my short list. Say, it looks like you're missing a review for Tango's Empanadas. If you hit it up, keep in mind that they do a Lomito sub that is only available on Friday's and sometimes they sell out early.
Definitely dig Tango's, just haven't been back there since I started this site. Never heard of that sandiwch though, is it akin to the Chilean pork sandwich?