Campos Market

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.

Let me explain.  I LOVE Orchard Road in Boise.  Ethnic eateries and markets of all kinds have sprung up along that street, and it seems there is never a shortage of things to do or eat there.  It took a while, but eventually I made it to Campos, and I was very enthused to find a taqueria located at the back of the store.  Knowing my mother’s and sister’s affinity for Mexican food, I brought it up as a lunch option the next time we were in the area.  It turned out to be a very interesting experience…

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.

Asada taco

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.

Carnitas torta

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…

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