What began as an attempt to bag a quick taco turned into a trip down memory lane.

In Brunswick last week on a perfect summer afternoon, I felt hunger pangs bringing me down. I spent the morning hauling boats at Phippsburg in advance of the hurricane, and rushed back to Portland to begin a work shift that started at 4 p.m.

I did not have time for a sit-down meal. Waiting until I got back to Portland to eat wasn’t an option, either. I needed something, and quick.

A friend recommended the taco stand that operates on the Mall in Brunswick. The Mall is that lovely green space in downtown.

For years when I was a kid, a stop at the Mall meant hot dogs. It was the last stop on what I remember as a long drive up from Boston to Phippsburg almost every summer weekend. By the time we hit Brunswick, we knew the drive was nearly over. Our reward was steamed hot dogs.

The hot dog stand is still there, which is really neat.

Today, you can also get tacos — as well as burritos, quesadillas and various other Mexican-inspired food. The mobile food van is called Lola’s Taqueria, and it’s excellent.

I liked it for several reasons. The food is fresh and well prepared. The prices are reasonable. The service is admirable, and the location is great.

I snagged a parking spot right near the stand, and 15 minutes later I was on my way to Portland, with a taco and a sizeable burrito resting comfortably in my belly.

I ordered a carnitas taco ($3.50) and a Baja chicken burrito ($7.75). Too much food for one guy, but I wanted to sample a couple of things.

The taco appealed to me because it was unlike any taco I have tried before. Wrapped in a soft tortilla, it included tangy and sweet pork, pickled red onions, the crumbly cheese known as queso fresco, salsa verde and — the crowning jewel of this culinary delight — fresh, crisp radishes. It was outstanding. Each flavor was distinct, and each bite packed plenty of flavor.

Next up was the burrito. My first impression was its heft: huge and weighty. The strips of chicken bulked the burrito shell to the size of a small baseball glove. It included roasted garlic and tomatillo. The flavors exploded in my mouth.

I enjoyed the meal from a park bench. The Mall was humming, and the entire experience felt comforting.

Time does not stand still. But it’s nice to know that in Brunswick, some things don’t change all that much — except maybe the menu options.

The Features staff of the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram anonymously samples meals for about $7.


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