State College has a population of 38,420 people, a mean age of 20-24, 12,024 housing units, 77.19% of which are renter occupied, and an overwhelming white presence of 84.31%. Really the only thing that matters in that list is the white population percentage of 84.31, but in doing my research I found the other demographics as well so I thought I’d just throw them out there.
Coming from D.C., a very diverse city, this huge white demographic was a shock. Not only is the vibe different, but there are subtle changes I wouldn’t have even thought about. For example, the music. PENN STATE LOVES THEIR COUNTRY MUSIC. I mean seriously, when I’m in the gym trying to work on my spring break body, the country music coming from the loudspeakers is NOT the right thing to get me hype.
Based on this, you could imagine my surprise when I was walking downtown late one night and heard mariachi music blasting from a side street. Surprised in a way that made me think, “who is playing that and why are we not friends.” I walked towards it and turned a corner to see a blue and yellow shack outlined in bright glowing Christmas lights, such a laid back beachy vibe compared to most restaurants at State. I wrote down Yallah Taco in my notes to make sure I went back to see if the food was as good as I wanted it to be.
As much a I would have liked to try everything, lent started today which means I’m not eating beef or chicken, so I settled on shrimp tacos and chips with queso. Menus are not my thing (probably not the best thing to hear from someone writing about restaurants, sorry) so I just told the guy at the window to put on whatever he wanted. They came with sweet red cabbage, corn, seasoned tomatoes, sour cream, and of course shrimp with a lime slice on the side.
They were different from Chipotle because the cabbage and corn makes them much sweeter. I would also say the flavors are a bit more subtle (while still fresh) so they blend together smoother. The chips and queso had same overall subtle but scrumptious flavor (I would recommend adding the hot sauce they have on the counter for a little extra kick). Let me just say he made the right choices because they were so good. My only warning would be eat them quick because the cabbage is pickled and very watery, and make sure you’re ready to get messy because they really pile those toppings into a small taco.
I really appreciated the speed of service, the food truck feel I got from the chalk written menu on the outside, the employee’s you could see whipping up the food in the small inside space, and again the cool decorative touches. I would definitely recommend hitting up this place if you’re ever walking past the intersection of McAllister and East Calder Way, or just in the mood for some good, fast tex-mex that isn’t Chipotle. Make sure you make plans for eating it though, the outdoor seating area is limited and people will snatch it up quick!
Image Credit: Emma Fudge, Centre Daily