It’s a weekend night, and whether you’re taking a break from hunkering down over homework or pouring out of Goodrich, sweaty and temporarily deaf, you want some chow. Until just a few weeks ago, you would go to Paresky or you would go hungry. But now there’s a new kid on the block, and he’s the talk of the town: El Conejo Corredor – or, as it’s more casually known, “the burrito truck,” open Wednesday through Sunday for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and for late night from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Food trucks may be more familiar to the metropolitan students of the College; entire Twitter feeds are devoted to tracking their gourmet whereabouts in cities across the country. For a one-stoplight town like ours, the burrito truck can’t go terribly far, but it still gets around. It scoots from Sawyer Library to Spring Street at lunch hours, and camps out at the farmer’s market on Saturday afternoons. On weekend nights, of course, it stays parked on Spring Street for easy access to all.
“The Running Rabbit,” as it would be called in English, is the brainchild of recent alum Brian Cole ’11, who hasn’t gotten enough of Williamstown yet. The “Rabbit” is bright blue, with neon yellow, green and orange accents and a quaint awning above the serving window. He claims to serve “radical” Mexican food for Williamstown – and at the very least, it’s radical in the sense that there’s no other Mexican food available closer than Coyote Flaco, a five-minute drive outside of town.
Compared to Coyote Flaco, the offerings are sparse, but frankly, you can’t really compare a one-man operation to a restaurant. The truck offers your standard burrito options: steak, chicken and veggie (a.k.a. La Vaca Loca, El Pollo Chicano and El Burrito Flaco, though if you are uncertain about pronunciation, as this writer was, the English monikers will get you by just fine) with all the fixings, including beans, rice, salsa, guacamole, sour cream and cheese. If you aren’t feeling a full burrito, the truck also offers soft tacos.
On a recent Friday night, a friend and I stopped by El Conejo Corredor, parked just outside Morgan. What seemed to be half the cross-country team was already there, either leaning on benches waiting for their food or already digging in. A longtime vegetarian myself, I made sure my friend ordered something meaty, so this review wouldn’t be limited by its author’s habits. I went for the veggie burrito ($6 with tax, like all the other burritos) while he went for chicken tacos (price: n + 1).
Now, the first thing to know is that the one-size-fits-all salsa is spicy, and it seems to permeate every part of the burrito. Keep in mind, if you’re taking this out on the street late at night, you may not have easy access to beverages, and the truck only serves a certain collection, so be ready to stick out the heat. This might be even more the case for the taco, since it only consists of salsa and the protein of your choice. That said, the salsa is good, the heat enhancing rather than overpowering the actual flavor of tomatoes, peppers and spices.
Once you get past the initial shock of spiciness, you get to the meat of the burrito – although in my case, of course, this consisted of beans and rice. These two ingredients are the staple of any good burrito, and this one had plenty of it. In fact, besides the salsa, I didn’t get much of a taste of anything else, though it supposedly included guac, cheese and sour cream, too. Nevertheless, even with mainly just the basics it makes for a tasty and satisfying snack after a night on the town – with the added benefit that it’s decently healthy in comparison to the deep-fried delights I probably would have gotten at Late Night.
The tacos, however, were somewhat less impressive. With only two ingredients, there wasn’t much to them, and my companion claimed that the chicken was slightly overdone, with a dry taste. Granted, this may have been due to the fact that we got our food four hours into the truck’s six-hour night shift, and it’s got to be kept hot throughout that time – considering how fresh most of the ingredients tasted, the meat would have probably been better if we had gone earlier.
If it were daytime, and I had half a dozen other restaurants to choose from on Spring Street, whether I’d go for the truck would really depend on how much I’m missing Tex-Mex: It’s solid enough to satisfy a craving, but it probably won’t blow you away. By nightfall, though, when the choices narrow, Cole’s burritos and tacos are a filling, inexpensive and pretty tasty alternative to Late Night. Welcome to Williamstown, El Conejo.