February 13, 2009

Taco Review #8 - Randy's White Boy Taco

Whoever the hell Randy is - He makes a hellava giant crispy chicken taco. At Randy's Mexican Restaurant in Benicia California they serve it up "Cali Style" with lots of shredded chicken, lettuce, cilantro and Parmesan cheese. uh......Say what esse? Parm on a taco? Dude, consider this, you're in Cali where if somebody were to put moldy Velveeta and broken glass on a taco it would probably STILL be bad-ass. These ain't no sissy sized tacos either - just two of them will put you at the limit and while you're waiting to see how that sits, you need to contemplate how you're gonna manage that mountain of pinto beans and Spanish rice that is staring up at you. A LOT of food. Back to the taco......awesome chicken in a corn tort which is then folded and fried forming the tort in an unbendable taco shape. Convenient and neatly packaged, yes, but the rigidity of the tort will likely cause massive tort failure upon biting as the inward stress vector created by biting teeth completely compromises the structural integrity of the entire taco. Don't be surprised if you find yourself abandoning the hand-held option and eating it with a fork, taco salad style, after just two bites.

Randy's is a white boy place, as is the town of Benicia. This is not the place to come if you are in need of a big bowl of menudo or nopales....in other words, you won't find "La Raza" holding Caesar Chavez inspired civil disobedience strategy meetings here. - but it's not a yuppie place either as it looks as if Randy has spent no more than about 12 bucks decorating the place.

The value is there too. $10.95 for two tacos and really good rice and beans isn't too bad when you consider 1) you're in California, 2) The tacos are easily twice (or three times) bigger than typical taco stand sized tacos, and 3) you have lots of leftovers for lunch the next day.

The Review:
Taste: 4.5/5.0 (moist chicken - I'd say "juicy" but hate when people say that because meat does not have juice in it)
Veggies: 3.5/5.0 (lots of lettuce and tomato - needed less of that and more cilantro. Jalapenos are available - BONUS POINTS)
Tort: 3.5/5.0 (tasty fried tort - but too rigid for the untrained taco eater - probable massive tort failure)
Restaurant Decorations: 4.0/5.0 (Randy knows the food is "mas importante" decorations are for Chevy's)
Value: 4.0/5.0 (big portions great prices)

Total: 3.4/5.0

February 10, 2009

Things are gettin' crazy in Taos

Seems the hippies in Taos are just tad upset at the closing of the Vibrations Rastafarian Store. Here is a picture of Jen making her way through the mayhem and toxic patchouli gas. Everything is not "ire".

Taco Review #6 - The "tryin' too hard taco"

Orlando's New Mexican Restaurant in Taos NM has great food - no question about that. The enchiladas...awesome. Tamales....crazy good. Tacos?......hmmm, never had em - so how bout a taco review? When Jen and I have guests that visit us from out of town that are jones'n for some real NM comida - we always end up at Orlando's. Very cool, friendly, funky place that, most importantly, has good beer.

Lesson #1: when you go to a Mexican restaurant, always order tacos (never burritos, fajitas or enchiridos) Lesson #2: when you go to a NEW Mexican restaurant, NEVER order tacos (always enchiladas, tamales and posole). So with those words of wisdom always in the back of my mind, I broke the rules and went for the tacos the last time we went to Orlando's. Was I high? Maybe. But that don't matter, because even if you ARE high, you NEED to follow those rules.

Shredded beef tacos (or machaca) are a good substitute for the traditional asada, al pastor or carnitas. At Orlando's they offer up the shredded beef taco plate on trendy blue corn torts. So dude, blue corn? Everybody knows that, for some reason, blue corn torts are usually drier and denser than the regular torts, but hey, this is Taos and if you don't have blue corn "this" or blue corn "that" on the menu, you might as well close yer doors, because there ain't a single Texan that's gonna eat there - and that's usually half the town's population. (yes, unfortunately New Mexico drew the short straw when they were handing out statehood - and we got stuck next to Texas). Also, the place would have NEVER appeared on one of Bobby Flay's cooking shows - don't remember which one since that Food Network whore has about 40 different shows.

So blah, blah, blah - what about the freakin' tacos? They showed up on the table and they looked pretty bad-ass. Three fatties - much larger than your typical Mexican taco - I guess that's to hold all of that filler material (i.e. lettuce and tomato). The shredded beef was really, really good - and that's important - but you gotta consider all the various taco parts - you don't get an automatic taco "5 tort" rating just because your meat kicks ass. The veggie parts were a little much but doable. Jack cheese, check. But the two taco components that are really important were really bad: 1) shitty blue corn torts that tasted like warped particle board (which completely disintegrated after two bites), and; 2) the salsa. Although it was pretty tasty and perfectly fine for chips, it was not spicy at all and when I asked for a side of jalapenos the waitress said "we don't have jalapenos".........what the? .....you DON'T have jalapenos? Naturally, I thought she was joking and I was waiting for her to crack a smile and say "ha ha - just messin' with you white boy, of course we have jalapenos, I'll bring some right out". So I'm like totally blown away and about ready to cry so I say "OK, well how about some hot sauce"? She said "we have Cholula and Tabasco" Again, I'm thinking "where the fuck am I?" - I mean, Cholula? That shit is for little grannies that have bleeding ulcers and chronic ARD.....and Tabasco? Don't get me wrong, I like Tabasco, but c'mon I don't want no damn Cajun juice on my tacos (as a side note here: a fellow taco eater/expert that I work with, Armando, loves Tabasco on his tacos - I know, that's really retarded but listen to this - he's the cousin of Orlando, who owns this place - I understand now, since I know retardedness is genetic)

The funky, small and jalapeno-free zone at Orlando's

Total tortilla destruction - not cool

The review:

Authenticity: 2.5/5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0/5.0

Picante-ness: 1.0/5.0

Meat factor: 4.2/5.0

Beer Selection: 4.0/5.0

Total: 3.1/5.0

February Random 10

The Chrome Cranks - Dark Room
Takako Minekawa - Phonoballoon Song
Blonde Redhead - Loved Despite of her Great Faults
Sonic Youth - Trilogy
Beastie Boys - Just a Test
Stereolab - Our Trintone Beat
The Upsetters - Spinning Wheel
Elliot Smith - Waltz #2
Carlos Nunez - Catigueiras
Neko Case - Blacklisted