ReturnOfTheQuick: Free Taco

It’s been awhile since I’ve put digit to keyboard and provided a mediocre and poorly written disquisition to be read by less than a handful of people. The appetizing impulse is to evangelize on all the trivial things I was doing as an excuse to make myself feel better about neglecting a website I pay handsomely for. However to raise such an appetite would only arouse scrutiny and not leave the reader with a tasty edible morsel to sate any kind of hunger this after dinner Ding Dong is producing. So with no further ado I bring to the fore a thought, a whim, a gripe, but whatever it may be glazing my donut with angst, or stewing my mutton with glee, I promise I will eventually get to the point, and cut to the quick.
Now if you haven’t surmised it yet from the references to food gracing the above, I’m a glutton and I’m hungry. In taking a look back through the years of my not so stellar musings, I’ve got a pretty decent track record of calling out outstandingly putrid food from half thought out places that have gone the way of the great auk.

The Score Card

Baja Sol in Wooddale -Long gone despite efforts to award itself for ketchup masquerading as salsa. However for those that lust for repetition it’s now another mexican restaurant. At least this one has some promise, as it reaches down and grapples the underbelly of the latest trend of marketing themselves as street food.

Woodbury Cafe -Still death-griping the masses who like to brag about what random object was thrust into their tasty cakes this month.

Machine Shed -Well civil war era folks still need a place to go to to remind them of the good times.

Key’s Cafe -In spite of being nestled in the remnants of an obsolete shopping mall resembling a the last bastion for those defending against the zombie apocalypse, they continue to thrive. Good on the Keys.

American Burger Emporium -This vile insult to the forebears has long met with them in the annals of forgotten lore. It’s now a Panda Express.
Now in the town which quiet frankly is a pretentious manifestation of a glorified truck stop, I turned a blind eye when more restaurants opened up. People here love to expand their culture by expanding their waistlines, and at least the long time city law of multiplication (meaning five subways, 2 chipotles, 2 McDonalds, etc..) seems to have subsided. I twitched with the ardor and rigor of a wiggling bowl of jello, but kept my damn mouth shut when I noticed people were smitten with the same old shit restaurants as long as it had a foreign name. Case in point the, Panera clone called Zupas. Surely people weren’t so inclined to fall for such basic traps. Where’d you eat last week? Oh I went to soup, then ate at bread. WTF ! I didn’t even drop some duckets in my loin cloth when I saw the restaurant called soups didn’t call their drink fountain a drink fountain, but rather an infusion area. I’m completely aware that fads and catchy lazy innovative ways is what gets attention and gets money in today’s age. However it really peppers my steak when people who have never ventured beyond city limits use these lame restaurants as testimony of their embrace of diversity. Then turn to others in gleeful lamentation of their foreign conquest of their latest find. But I digress, back to point.

When I was growing up it was a roach coach, now it’s a food truck and people love to chase these things around like a frenetic child looking to buy a tangerine push-up pop. Without regard to rhyme or reason, I continued as many do with my massive consumption of foods for sake of finding items delicious in consumption regardless of being pernicious and plebeian in their branding. However now the line has been crossed. Like the Patriots and crew gazing upon the incoming Red Coats on the Jamaica pass I’ve been hoodwinked, blindsided, and left in shock. The latest food establishments advertising street food. Admittedly at first thought I was taken back to times long forgotten due to inebriation,  where me and my friends endlessly wandered the darkened streets after bar close, feverishly questing for ‘street food’ with a Hamilton in the pocket and a zombie like slur coming out of my suck. Enter Piada for Italian street food. Fun fact: If the restaurant starts with P in it’s name it’s Italian or trying to be. For the dissertation on Piada, I leave for next time since I didn’t get past the menu which couldn’t be farther from street if it was the current president elect telling a truth. For me and mine street food was that gem found at the end of Bourbon Street at six in the morning. When your harsh alcohol induced speech impediment prohibits saying jambalaya please, and instead you’re sucking down a tasty link of meat called a Lucky Dog. Street food is that beaten up cart at the end of a dirt rode in a Mexican border town. Where you just hand them a handful of cash, and eat whatever they hand you. Street food is that fifty cent taco that’s just meat on a tortilla found in the deeper recesses of South Central Los Angeles. In the here and now though, street food is the next gimmick of uninspired establishments pandering to those so averse to anything that feels like the same ole same ole, that they heave themselves toward anything seeming unique and fringe. Considering the length of this diatribe it doesn’t take a genius to see this kind of crap really folds my taco. So now I’ll really get back to the point, and for this little review I take Taco Libre in my mouth. This little spot opened up on the grave yard which was Baja Sol in the Wooddale area. Cause some feel if it failed once as a mexican restaurant spot, just do it again, nobody will notice. As the title of this blog states free taco is the spot with nothing free but the salsa. For the less astute the clever title is the translation for Taco Libre. A play off the whole lucha libre thing with Mexican wrestling masks which has never been done before (Barrio).

The place is laid out much like many feed kitchens in which you order then take a giant number and go sit down. Like many other feed stops trying to make things as simple as possible you pick what you want your meat in, then pick a meat. Some places have opted to make it more scientific by stating on menus, pick a bowl or plate and pick your protein. Anywho, for my venture at this establishment, fearing the ingredients would wrestle my intestines into submission I played it safe. Ordered up a Machete filled with pastor meat with a side of taco. You get four basic options to fill with your meat of choice. A taco, a bowl, a plate, or the fabled machete. The latter being an 18 inch tortilla filled with meat and cheeses. It’s basically a very large taco which while good, begs the question, have these people seen burritos. There really wasn’t anything outstanding about the place if you’ve ever been to an authentic Mexican restaurant, and the prices were a touch much. I was a tad put off by the lack of meat options since whether street food or roach coach I can get a tongue in a taco if I wanted to, but here you have like six or so meat options. Being quite honest if you’re in the mood take your taste buds over to El Chilo, get your food, and make up your own damn mind on what’s what.

The Good

  • It’s conveniently located between a Nail salon and Five Guys, so you can make a day of it.
  • The tortillas are made of masa which gives it that great authentic flavor.
  • Shockingly they offer Menudo and Pozole on weekends.
  • They have chicken of colored salsas.

The Bad

  • They have 4 kinds of Tortas of which two are actually eaten by hispanics.
  • They have tripe but no cow tongue. Hmm, this should actually be in the WTF section.
  • They not only advertise Elote as a dessert but also call it Mexican Street Corn. I give up.

The WTF

  • They currently don’t offer Corona or beer of any sort, but that didn’t stop them from slapping up an ethnic mural depicting Grain Belt Premium beer.
  • You can order any kind of bean that you want as long as it’s black.
  • The menudo is listed as a Mexican soup, yet no mention of it’s key ingredient of tripe.

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