Grumman ’78: The Most Influential Taco Truck You’ve Ever Seen (Part 1)

May 23, 2012 · 4 comments

in Food Trucks

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Last year, the street food excitement in Montreal was picking up a lot of steam. Due to weather conditions, such as “winter”, our patience for eating in the outdoors was wearing thin. The weather is now hot, at least for the next few months, so let’s enjoy the street food food while it lasts. Before the craze begins, I believe it’s only fair to highlight the food truck that’s had the biggest influence for street food in Montreal: Grumman ’78.

The head chef, Marc-André Leclerc has been around for a while in Montreal, and has quite the resumé. How does Toqué, Au Pied de Cochon, L’Express, and the old McKeirnan’s sound? Gaelle Cerf was a long-time manager at Au Pied de Cochon. You can see her make a nice little appearance in the Montreal episode of Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. And then there’s Hilary McGown. I’ll get to the delightful “Hil” soon.

I first heard about Grumman ’78 when I glanced at a flyer for Puces Pop, a pop-up flea market in the St. Enfant de Jesus church basement. Now I don’t visit church basements very often, but when it was advertised that a taco truck was going to be there, I was intrigued since, to my recollection, we don’t have food trucks in Montreal. Low and behold, the area attracting the most people was at the back wall, with a green wooden sign shaped like a taco truck. Up until this point, my interactions with the people at Grumman ’78 consisted of a few exchanges on Twitter. I was very pleased to meet Hilary McGown, the “El Presidente” of Grumman ’78, the one most connected to Twitter, and forever a darling to chat with even if for a few moments. I asked her what I should have. A few minutes later, I was handed what I consider THE turning point in the Montreal street food scene. I took a bite out of a phenomenal pork bahn mi taco. Overflowing with tender, sweet, salty, sticky chunks of pork topped with slightly vinegary picked carrots, radishes and a few leaves of cilantro that did not overwhelm, was heavenly. Then the vegetarian pimenton taco oozes with cooked down red beans, pimenton peppers, black re-fried beans, and home-made cheese. This is one delicious taco. After washing it down with a very refreshing horchata, a sort of  milk-coffee drink, I left very satisfied. However, I wanted more.

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I followed Grumman ’78 around throughout the summer of 2011. I went out of my way numerous times to chow down on more delicious tacos. I gorged myself at beside their parked truck at the Jazz festival, the Just for Laughs festival, in old Montreal at the Cultures Gourdmands festival, the Food Lab, the Lachine Canal (federal ground), and at their many taco parties at the headquarters in St. Henri.

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I’ve had every one of their tacos. One at the top of my list has to be the turkey dinner taco. This dangerously addictive taco is filled with stuffing, moist pieces of turkey, a crunchy red cabbage slaw, and yes it’s topped with cranberry sauce. At my next Thanksgiving dinner, I’m going to put some corn tortillas on the table and ask my guests to go to town on them. I’ve already come to terms that they won’t be as good as Grumman’s, but at least I can dream.

There’s something very special about Grumman ’78. The team of Gaelle, Marc-André, and Hilary are literally, the first-movers and the most influential group in the Montreal street food scene. As proof of their perseverance and drive for legalizing street food in our fair city, they are now in charge of all the outdoor food at the Just for Laughs Festival this year. I can’t wait to see how that turns out, and I am very eager to munch on another taco under the sun.

Follow Grumman ’78 on Twitter and on Facebook.

For Part 2 of “Grumman ’78: The Most Influential Taco You’ve Ever Seen”, check out FoodGuyMontreal.com

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

mayssam @ Will Travel for Food May 23, 2012 at 11:17 PM

My first taste of a Grumman taco was also in that church basement and it was divine! Here’s to many more tacos this summer and many more food trucks on the streets of Montreal soon!

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Gaelle Cerf May 24, 2012 at 12:27 AM

Thank you for this amazingly sweet and passionate review.
I will add one correction: we are hired by the Festival Juste pour Rire, not the Jazz Fest, to take care of the Food & Bev this summer.
Please come enjoy crazy street food like Montreal has never seen, ever, July 14th to 28th :)

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streetfoodmtl May 24, 2012 at 1:58 PM

Hi Gaelle,
Thanks for reading! I updated to post to reflect that. Thanks for the correction. See you soon!

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Raphael514 May 24, 2012 at 4:01 PM

Well Mr.FoodGuyMTL, we share the same addiction. I’ve followed them to the late night eats at Nouveau Palais, SAT, Faubourg, but nothing beats the HQ parties. My friends and I always order a minimum of one of each item on the menu and just fill our table with all that deliciousness! Hilary, Gaëlle and Marc-André are great hosts and always have a moment to chat. I once missed out on some menu items Hilary and Marc-André didn’t skip a beat and hooked me up with a tray of goodies to rival what I missed out on. It’s always been a great experience and I will keep advocating. Kool new blog Dustin, wishing you all the best.

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