FOOD-THE DISH- Mobile Mexican: Tracking down the mysterious 'taco truck'

Get your feet washed before you stomp at DelFosse Winery!
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Recently, Dish heard rumors of a super-authentic Mexican "taco truck" showing up at various places around town. In fact, one reader said it showed up "in all its glory" at a party in Belmont last weekend, but then disappeared. Finally, with the help of one taco truck fan, Dish was able to track down spouces Jose and Elfega Gaona, owners of this full service taqueria on wheels.  

José says they have been doing this for about four years, showing up with El Taco Atododar ("The Very Good Taco") at various businesses and parties as far away as Crozet. According to local businessman Eric Braun, our taco truck fan, the menu ranges from tacos to gorditas, chicken to steak and everything in between. They also have a variety of fresh juices and spiced-nut milks, and they arrive packing plates and utensils. 

"The most notable thing about El Taco Atododar is the taste," says Braun, a long-time West Coast resident and fan of Mexican eats. "They do authentic Mexican and they do it right."

 José says he has a regular parking space in Southwood Mobile Home Park off 5th Street Extended, about a mile from the I-64 exit, where over half the estimated 2,500 residents are Spanish-speaking Mexicans, Salvadorans, and Hondurans.

 Earlier this year, Habitat for Humanity purchased the 100-acre property and plans to build houses, townhouses, condominiums, and apartments to accommodate the current residents. As recently reported in the Hook, Southwood is the County's largest water user ["Drought watch? Mysteries abound at top-20 water users," September 6], thanks in large part to a lot of leaking plumbing, which Habitat promises to fix as they develop the property. 

Anyway, José says that's the best place to visit his taco truck, as he parks at Southwood from 5 to 9pm Tuesday through Saturday. 


cVillain a villain or a breath of fresh air?

The Dish recently noticed some striking commentary on the new gossip website, cVillain (cvillain.com), which has also taken to "reviewing" restaurants.

For example, cVillain's "lilith" suggested that the problem with Mas was that neither the customers or staff were getting enough sex anymore, and "Thor" predicted that the Nook, West Main, and Ten are destined to fail by the end of the year. 

Of course, unlike the local media, the folks at cVillain aren't accountable for what they publish, and the creators of the site have chosen to remain anonymous. (Dish asked "lilith" and "Thor" if they would agree to be interviewed under their real names, but they declined.) As a result, they have been emboldened to publish gossip and unproven claims without catching hell the way Dish would. (Can you tell we're jealous?) But as the gossip site becomes more popular and more influential locally, might its immunity from accountability expire? 

"It's tough running an anonymous site, at least if it becomes popular," says celebrity blogger Waldo Jaquith. "Inevitably the person running the site wants to bask in the glory, they want to tell people about their über-cool secret identity. Witness the recent unmasking of Forbes' Daniel Lyons as Fake Steve Jobs. Anonymity and influence don't often go hand in hand, at least not for long."

As for cVillain, Jaquith says he can't see why the owner and the posters couldn't have written everything on the site under their real names.

"Anonymity can provide the freedom to say and do some stunningly stupid things," says Jaquith. "On the whole, I think blogging anonymously is generally a crutch... But the folks at cVillain don't seem to be making the worst of their anonymity, or anything close to it."

Indeed, even if they did use their real names, they still might not be held accountable. Last year, Mas chef Tomas Rahal had a well-documented spat with Fred Telegdy– who launched his popular Charlottesville-Dining website (charlottesville-dining.com) in 2002– after Telegdy published anonymous, unproven comments from people about getting food poisoning at the restaurant.

Naturally, Rahal was upset about such accusations, claims that could severely affect the restaurant's business, but there was nothing he could do about it other than fire off a scathing email to Telegdy demanding he hold himself accountable.

"And Fred did all of that under his name," Jaquith points out. "I can't see that being anonymous has anything to do with it. You'd catch hell for that because you work for a newspaper. Your venue for making such a statement is held to high standards, and rightly so."

But anonymous bloggers take note: the legal landscape may be changing.

"Lawsuits against anonymous bloggers are nothing new," says Jaquith, pointing out that lawyers have begun to argue that blogs, because of their increasing influence, should be held to the same standards of accountability as traditional media. 

"The standard process is that the defamed has a subpoena delivered to the ISP in question to reveal the identity of the libeler," says Jaquith. "ISPs fold real easy and will generally hand the information right over. The whole process takes just a few days."

In fact, Jaquith says that even people who comment on blogs are starting to get sued.

"A whole standard of legal processes are slowly emerging to dictate when those who operate websites are liable for content contributed by the general public," he says.


Mountaintop cuisine

Want to combine dining with a hike in the mountains? Head up the the Skyland Resort in the Shenandoah National Park for a culinary workshop.

On Monday, September 24, Shenandoah National Park Lodging will host the second of a series of workshops, called Shenandoah Seasonings, featuring cooking demonstrations with Executive Chef Terry Sheehan, a Meet the Chefs Reception, and Chef's Dinner to follow. 

The workshops will highlight traditional Southern cuisine native to the Shenandoah region and will showcase local wines. The menu includes pan-roasted crabcakes, apple-smoked corn and wild mushroom hushpuppies, pickled melon salad, and a warm blackberry turnover for dessert. 

There are also upcoming events in November. Find out details at 800-778-2851 or visitshenandoah.com.


Wash before you stomp!

DelFosse Winery out in Faber announces a Harvest "Vive La France" celebration this Sunday, September 16 from 1 to 5:30pm. Modeled on the "Fete de St-Vincent," the patron saint of French "vignerons," the event is going to be a traditional celebration of the harvest. The folks at DelFosse promise to wash your feet before you stomp the grapes, and if you show up in a French beret, you get a free glass of wine! Reservations required. $15/person. delfossewine.com

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