Crazy Coyote Tacos
13033 Fields Road
Banning, CA 92220
The drive from Phoenix back to OC is a real long haul. Long stretches of nothing. Vast wide open desert scenes flash by as you drive the 10 Freeway towards home. When reaching Palm Springs/Indio it is like you are arriving in a mega metropolis. Most people would probably stop here, stretch the legs, grab something to eat, and get back on the road. We had another destination in mind. We drove past the bigger desert towns to Banning, and a restaurant I had on my list of places to eat, Crazy Coyote Tacos.
Crazy Coyote is not even really a restaurant. It is more like a shack, located right off of the highway, near the Cabazon Outlet stores. Anthony Bourdain has eaten here. On the show he is eating out front, but never mentions the food. They used to have dinosaurs out front, but they were nowhere to be seen when we rolled up at one on a Saturday afternoon.
After dong a few stretches, we headed to the order window. The basic menu features tacos, nachos, and burritos. All pretty standard fair at Mexican restaurants. Nothing too out of the ordinary. We placed our order, Katie drove to the restroom at the Chevron down the block, and I found a table out front to wait for the food. After a less than five minute wait our food was ready. This is how it came out.
Before Katie got back from the restroom, I snapped a few pictures of her food and got a few bites in. She ordered the Giant Taco with Chicken. The giant taco comes with guacamole, onions, cheese, salsa, and cilantro. The chicken is marinated in an orange sauce and when I inquired about it, they politely told me it is a secret what goes into it. Whatever it is, it is delicious. The chicken was tender and the the tortilla should not be overlooked. The tortillas here are homemade, and available to be taken to go by the dozen. The beans and rice were good here as well. Katie loved this taco, calling it, "the best taco I have had". She seems to make these claims with too much regularity that they kind of lose their punch. I will not say it is the best, but it is right up there.
I went with a regular Steak Taco to start. Their regular tacos differ from the giant taco by omitting the cheese and guacamole. The meat was tender, the tortilla was fresh, but the salsa really kicked this taco to a higher level. Really spicy, but it did not obliterate the fillings inside the taco. I would have liked bigger bites of steak here. They were all too small for my liking. Really good though.
Almost three years into writing this blog, I still find it hard to take a decent picture of a burrito. Not the most photogenic of foods to photograph. Anyways, this is the Chili Verde Burrito in all of its glory. Very flavorful meat, with rice, cheese, and salsa. This was also really spicy. Great kick to their salsa. The homemade flour tortilla was even better than the corn version, but I am really partial to flour tortillas. My Dad hates rice in burritos, but here the rice added great texture. Not a lot of cheese in this burrito.
Crazy Coyote Taco was a very nice way to end our Southwest trip. As you can see from the picture above, this is a no frills place. Seating is all outside, and it can get windy out in the desert. The girls in the trailer were all very nice. Prices were a little on the high side, but portions were very good sized. Tacos are $3.25 and the giant taco was $6.50, and could satisfy a very large appetite. My burrito was $6.50 also, and was the size of a guys forearm. In the weeks since our trip, this is the place that Katie has brought up the most. She wants to take a trek out there again very soon. Glad it is also the closest place we ate on our trip. Only two hours away.
Out of five stagecoaches, (because the city of Banning is known as "Stagecoach Town USA", and they still have an annual Stagecoach Days Parade), five being best to zero being worst, Crazy Coyote Taco gets 3.5 stagecoaches.
Crazy Coyote Taco dos not have a web site, but you can find info about them here: http://www.yelp.com/biz/crazy-coyote-tacos-banning#query:crazy%20coyote%20taco