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Tilting at Windmills

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August 24, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

YET MORE TACO BLOGGING....Since I'm apparently destined to become as famous for taco blogging as for cat blogging, I guess I might as well dive all the way in. Here's the latest. Although the New Yorker might not have taken notice of tacos until 1974, a friend emails to advise me that the New York Times was on the ball as early as 1952. The item below, from the "News of Food" column of May 3, 1952, was the second feature after a discussion of how to make a proper mint julep. Note the paragraph halfway through explaining how to pronounce "taco."

Kevin Drum 7:39 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (69)

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Could a picture of your cats eating tacos be next?

Posted by: clone12 on August 24, 2007 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

A nickel apiece? Who's her meat vendor, Sweeny Todd?

Posted by: Joshua Norton on August 24, 2007 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

Fritos?

In what universe are Fritos *remotely* like tortillas?

Posted by: robert west on August 24, 2007 at 7:51 PM | PERMALINK

Let's see if I've got this right: taHHHco.. taHHHco.. broad A, accent the T... so novel!

Posted by: mmmm... taco on August 24, 2007 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I'm taking this as an opportunity to pitch something political, much as I love good tacos:

The Big Con: The True Story of How Washington Got Hoodwinked and Hijacked by Crackpot Economics
by Jonathan Chait

From what I hear: dy-no-mite!

Posted by: Neil B. on August 24, 2007 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

The taco fryer is patented? I smell boffo IP suit. Any little Maldonados around?

Posted by: Wagster on August 24, 2007 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

I'm surprised you haven't mentioned this from 1974.

Posted by: Don Hosek on August 24, 2007 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

The nickel shell. It is interesting that they refer to Fritos for cocktail munching.

One taco joint in all of NYC, no wonder no one knew.

Posted by: Mudge on August 24, 2007 at 8:09 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

Trying to change the subject?

Shorter Kevin Drum:

"A pony!"

Posted by: egbert on August 24, 2007 at 8:14 PM | PERMALINK

This was the restaurant where I first ate Mexican food when I was a college student around 1960! I grew up in Philadelphia and never knew anything about tacos or enchiladas or any Mexican food. My college roommate was from Arizona and dragged us to this place. It was very good. I don't remember any other Mexican restaurants on the East coast.

Posted by: Me on August 24, 2007 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on August 24, 2007 at 8:24 PM | PERMALINK

There's something of the style of the contemporary NYT in this, and it's interesting to see that that hasn't changed in the last 55 years.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf on August 24, 2007 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

Could a picture of your cats eating tacos be next?

The realtionship of cats and tacos is notoriously otherwise . . . :(

Posted by: rea on August 24, 2007 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

I grew up in MIddle America in the 1970s (when I wasn't visiting my Lebanese relatives in Lebanon - another story) and I distinctly remember those taco kits Mom got from the grocery store. They included maybe 8 taco shells, some taco sauce, and a packet of seasonings you added to ground meat that you fried up yourself. Taco night was a big deal around our house.
Taco Bell was as yet unknown in Central Illinois in those days - I'm guessing between 1972-1974.

My point is that tacos must have been sort of mainstream by then if the kits were available in midwestern supermarkets. There were no Mexicans in town in those days, not in any countable numbers. These products were sold to non-Hispanics. The taco kit was the "Mexican" variation on the Sloppy Joe seasoning packet - you can still buy those, along with the spaghetti sauce (Bolognese) seasoning packet - an envelope full of dried spices/flavorings/colorings that would turn ground beef and a can of tomatoes into Sloppy Joes or Bolognese sauce.

The New Yorker, being stuffy, might not have noticed such things percolating up from the lower classes.

Posted by: Leila on August 24, 2007 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

I see(and love it) that mhr can't even get in a comment on a Taco post.That's pretty lame.......I will offer a suggestion that I've had since the banning started.How about having a Troll Post once a day where they can comment to their little hearts and minds desire.They could just vent and vent and vent.It could be cut off at a certain point to save bandwidth.This might keep some of them from hurting their partners,kids and pets or probably not.Anyone who wanted to could look in at the Troll comments like watching the monkeys fling shit at he zoo.

Posted by: R.L. on August 24, 2007 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

so gee, even in 1952, and even in new york, they knew it wasn't pronounced 'TAW-cose'.

Posted by: supersaurus on August 24, 2007 at 8:58 PM | PERMALINK

My first experience with mexican food, living in NYC in the 80's, were those Old El Paso kits. (Similarly, my unadventurous family's first experience with chinese was La Choy).

I've been trying to undo years of culinary damage by my family (who also believed in cooking steak to shoe leather consistency--I still hate steak as a result)

Posted by: Paul on August 24, 2007 at 9:01 PM | PERMALINK

Patents were only good for 17 years in those days, so the hard-shell taco maker described is now in the public domain.

I'd seen a claim elsewhere that Taco Bell invented the hard U-shaped taco shells (vs. the traditional soft tacos), but unless the guy mentioned in the article founded Taco Bell, evidently not.

Posted by: Joe Buck on August 24, 2007 at 9:13 PM | PERMALINK

Spaghetti was exotic enough in the 1950s that the BBC broadcast a hoax report on the annual spaghetti harvest in Switzerland that fooled many.

According to the report, the harvest was good that year helped by the near elimination of the spaghetti weevil that was plaguing the crops. A number of viewers called in to ask how they could get their own spaghetti trees.

Link to archived video report here

Posted by: Mornington Crescent on August 24, 2007 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

I remember in the late 70s or early 80s it was an exciting day when Taco Bell opened in our southeastern Wisconsin hometown.

Nobody knew how to pronounce anything on the menu EXCEPT taco.

My poor grandma ordered a burrito, unwrapped the paper, then the tortilla and wondered aloud, "How am I supposed to eat this thing?"

Posted by: Muppet Porno Consumer on August 24, 2007 at 9:15 PM | PERMALINK

OK, back on topic but it has political implications: Mexicans are worried about availability of tacos, since our hokey corn ethanol program is driving up the price of corn. This is really destructive, since it takes so much money and energy to raise and process the corn, and the ethanol gets about 5-10% less mpg anyway (offsetting a lot of the sparse benefit anyway.) The whole thing is a prop for the corn farmers as political blackmailers. We could do better with switch grass, waste reprocessing, and even hemp oil diesel. (See Hemp Car). I rode in it, it was great.)

Posted by: Neil B. on August 24, 2007 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

For the record: the Oxford English Dictionary gives the first English citation of taco in 1947, when it was mentioned in the linguistics journal, American Speech. Curiously enough, the very first appearance of the word was in a discussion of its pronunciation: "The touristas almost always eat in a Mexican restaurant and bravely attempt to order their meals in Spanish. Such meals are (1) [tækoz], a mispronunciation of the Spanish word tacos [takos]."

If anyone has an earlier date, I'm sure the OED folks will be glad to hear about it.

(The OED's second citation is from Jack Kerouac's On the Road, much in the news as the 50th anniversary approaches. Note, though, that the second citation in the OED doesn't pretend to be the second-ever use of the word in English.)

Posted by: Jack Lynch on August 24, 2007 at 9:34 PM | PERMALINK

This may be a bit off-topic, but I think it's interesting that almost every cuisine I can think of has its version of meat or veggies wrapped in a carbohydrate, to be eaten by hand: sandwiches; tacos, burritos, and empanadas; stromboli; egg rolls, spring rolls, lumpia, and so forth; samosas; curries in injera; gyros, shwarma; etc. Am I missing anything?

Posted by: RSA on August 24, 2007 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

I grew up in Odessa, Texas and I don't remember a time without tacos.
In the early 70's I was running a concrete crew of sure enough Mejicanos. Every day I would suffer over my cold cut sandwitch as they dished all sorts of sumptuous meat into home made tortillas.
I was the sort of passive aggressive boss that everyone knows. I was young, and I'll use that as an excuse to explain why I didn't respect these men.
The day came when the real boss gave me a dressing down in front of everybody, and though my men had little knowledge of English they could read the writing on the wall.
I had forgotten my lunch that day, which was fine, I'd gone without lunch before.
Mi Amigos whom I had neglected and abused offered up their tacos.
These were the first and the best real tacos I ever had.
What meat is this? I asked.
"Gato" they said.

Posted by: bob on August 24, 2007 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

From googling Xochitl, I came across a 1940 article reviewing New York's diverse cuisine.
http://www.oldandsold.com/articles06/new-york-city-51.shtml

They don't write reviews like this anymore:

CORTILE RESTAURANT, 37 West 43rd Street. Pseudo-Spanish decorations, Negro waitresses, and American food at a reason-able price.

Posted by: beowulf on August 24, 2007 at 10:21 PM | PERMALINK

Of Note:

As late as 1989, my northern English and Irish cousins had scarcely heard of Mexican food. We went to a brand new Mexican place in Manchester where a waitress took our orders. Hearing the lot of them mispronounce "taco" (TAY-KOH) and "burritto" (Buh-ritt-ho) left me in stitches.

Posted by: Amur on August 24, 2007 at 11:00 PM | PERMALINK

1938 ?

Wow !

“…When the greedy realize that half a dollar is better than a whole dime, conflicts will end.” - Petrocelli.firedoglake.com

Posted by: daCascadian on August 24, 2007 at 11:42 PM | PERMALINK

I have a fond memory of a taco dinner at an (American) friend's house in Britain in the 1980s. A British colleague of ours attempted to eat a taco with a knife and fork. His complete failure, and flying taco shards, led to the hostess's comment "if God hadn't meant for us to eat pussy, why did he invent the taco?"

Posted by: Tom S on August 24, 2007 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

Meet Bandini, who has been taco-hunting on the Internets for a couple of years now.

Posted by: Maeven on August 25, 2007 at 12:36 AM | PERMALINK

I was a young person experimenting with new food in NYC of the 1980s, as well. Sushi was the big new unfamiliar thing (I'm talking early 80s here) that made my mother shudder and gasp. Raw fish????

What else was new - tofu. In fact my Southern grandmother loved to tell people that I was in New York sleeping on a futon and eating tofu. She loved those two words. (Futons were different, too). I learned to sliver raw ginger into soups, and I experimented with ramen. THere was a Japanese noodle restaurant in mid-town that I loved - their sea food noodle soup, with added vinegar and hot pepper, was my preferred head cold remedy.

We also ate black bread, bialys, bagels and pierogi from shops on the Lower East Side; and we bought whole fish to bake from Chinatown.

I think I'm blogging this topic. Thanks, Kevin...

Posted by: Leila on August 25, 2007 at 12:42 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin -

What's really on my mind is why Amish food has gone downhill so fast in the past decade.

I always used to look forward to stopping for dinner in the Amana Colonies. Not anymore.

On top of that, the pies sold out of the horse-drawn carriages at Lamoni in southern Iowa have truly mediocre crust and filling. I can get better pies at Sam's Club.

What is this world coming to when the Amish can't make decent pies or meals anymore?

Posted by: FS on August 25, 2007 at 12:49 AM | PERMALINK

Okay - that comment is satire. It has to be. I got my teaching credentials at Graceland College (before it was a University), and I never saw any Amish in that Mormon town. Or in Catholic Leon, for that matter.

You had to go south to Jamestown, MO for Amish fare. There are Mennonites in Decatur County, but they are not Amish. They drive, the cars just have to be black. Lots of Yoder surnames in that area as I recall.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on August 25, 2007 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

Forget the taco-blogging. Now the pulque, that's serious shit.

Posted by: dr sardonicus on August 25, 2007 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

Never made it through a second can, myself.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on August 25, 2007 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

The first time that we were stationed at Davis-Monthan I recall going to Nogales to buy pulque for a buck a six-pack. Used to love to spring it on the visitors from the midwest when they would call from Grant and I-10 and ask for directions to my couch.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on August 25, 2007 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

Juvencio Maldonado has two patents related to taco shells one from 1949 (#2484631) and one from 1950 (#2506305), both long expired and now available for anyone's use.

Posted by: meander on August 25, 2007 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl, did you bring back Oso Negro too?

(I went to UofA in the late 1960s; square-danced at Davis-Monthan on Wednesday evenings for a while.)

Posted by: Linkmeister on August 25, 2007 at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK

The coffee? Yup.

I also used to ride my bike up the back of Gates Pass so I could daredevil power-crank down the "front" and hit 80 miles an hour on french racing tires. Ah...good times...

Once, I was racing to the bottom and a six foot rattler shot across Ajo Way between the two bicycles. Three seconds difference and he would have trolled us both, and probably bit at least one of us. Sheesh...the impertinence of youth....

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on August 25, 2007 at 2:09 AM | PERMALINK

Tacos. I'd be a lot happier with a pitcher of piña coladas to go with 'em.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on August 25, 2007 at 2:15 AM | PERMALINK

Leila--your grandmother should have met Aggie Rose's mother. Aggie was, back in the mid-70's, the field office director for the UFW in Livingston, California; her folks were from Turlock, just up the road. When Aggie's mother invited all of the office staff over for dinner one night, Aggie had to explain to her what Steve, a vegan, would and wouldn't eat.

"He doesn't eat meat, he doesn't eat chicken, he doesn't eat fish, he doesn't eat eggs, he doesn't eat cheese. . . ."

"Well what does he eat?"

"He eats tofu."

"TOADFOOD??"

Posted by: Henry on August 25, 2007 at 2:17 AM | PERMALINK

The one I was thinking of was a cheap vodka. I remember having to dump several bottles of the stuff because we exceeded our limit trying to cross back into the US from Nogales.

I was back there 15 years ago and was appalled at the sprawl. There are houses all the way out to Gates Pass! The U moved north of Speedway, something it swore it would never do (after the Med Ctr building was done).

Alas, the Grant Road Tavern and its wonderful pastrami sandwiches were gone when I went back, too. Thomas Wolfe was right, damn him.

Posted by: Linkmeister on August 25, 2007 at 2:32 AM | PERMALINK

Donald, Your current locale is showing - a pitcher of Margaritas would be appropriate.

An aside - I grew up a Navy brat, and at 18 landed a bartender job in a Mexican restaurant in the midwest to supplement my ROTC stipend. I happened to know just what the hell a Margarita was, and within a month the place was so crowded on Sunday nights that Vice had agents in there to bust a drug ring. When the real deal was my Margarita recipe, which is certainly no secret.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on August 25, 2007 at 2:34 AM | PERMALINK

Tucson is one of those places I refuse to return to physically because I have this perfect vision in my head that I do not want to be adulterated by reality.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on August 25, 2007 at 2:36 AM | PERMALINK

Per my previous comment - I do not want it adutterated by current reality.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on August 25, 2007 at 2:38 AM | PERMALINK

I should have followed your example. It was depressing to see what it's become since 1974. I expected Phoenix to turn into an urban disaster, because, after all, it's Phoenix; Tucson was a nice 205K-population town when I lived there. As of 2005 it was 560K, according to the Census bureau.

Posted by: Linkmeister on August 25, 2007 at 2:45 AM | PERMALINK

And that's about all I have to say about those tacos.

Posted by: Bob on August 25, 2007 at 3:37 AM | PERMALINK

If the truth were known, I have a cat with a perfect Groucho Marx mustache. I would not eat him in a boat, I would not eat him with a goat. I wouldn't even eat him in a fresh born corn tortilla. I just wuud'nt.

Posted by: Bob on August 25, 2007 at 4:02 AM | PERMALINK

Don't feel bad, Kevin. My blog appears to be best known (and most commonly Google'd) for chicken dijonnise and/or dijonaise sauce.

So much for progressive political rants, poetry, spiritual philosophizing... no, people come to my site to learn that dijonaise = dijon mustard + mayonnaise. And that the chicken variant is chicken with the aforementioned sauce on it, baked.

Wheeeee...

Posted by: Becca Morn on August 25, 2007 at 6:09 AM | PERMALINK

I think it's interesting that almost every cuisine I can think of has its version of meat or veggies wrapped in a carbohydrate, to be eaten by hand: sandwiches; tacos, burritos, and empanadas; stromboli; egg rolls, spring rolls, lumpia, and so forth; samosas; curries in injera; gyros, shwarma; etc. Am I missing anything?

Doner kebabs, which is Turkish for "gyros" (Turks and Greeks are a bit sensitive about being lumped together).

Spanakopita (speaking of Greeks....)

Pasties, and other regional variations of the English "meat pie".

Posted by: Thlayli on August 25, 2007 at 7:59 AM | PERMALINK

kevin, thanks for the original post that lead to the subsequent ones. it's been fun to read, esp the nyt and nyr articles. those were a hoot.

when i moved to nyc in 1981, there were more mexicans in iowa than here. but that's changed considerably in the recent years and small family-run mexican restaurants are all over the city now.

Posted by: linda on August 25, 2007 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

Reading through these taco posts with the comments I'm seeing has been fun. Back in January, a discussion thread in the forums over at College Roomies From Hell!!! (www.crfh.net) touched on tacos, (the fun starts around page 3, here; http://forums.keenspot.com/viewtopic.php?t=93682&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=40] and the proprietor of CRFH!!! Maritza Campos went ballistic when tacos came up and somebody posted a picture of an American 'taco'. She lives in Yucatan, and has very definite views on what is and is not a taco.

AAAARGHBLBLBLBBLBGGGLGLGL!

Those are not tacos!

THOSE. Are. NOOOOTTTTTTT. TACOS!

Stop saying those are tacos! Those are not tacos!

*drops a giant burrito on you*

*kills taco bell*

She elaborated a few posts further on.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taco

See the first pic? That's not a taco.

See the second pic? THAT is a taco.

Differences: A real taco is made with soft tortilla. A real taco is almost always served open so you can put sauce in it, then folded it like a tube and down the hatch. If it's not served open, then it's a tube. If the taco is hard-shelled (always in a tube shape) it's a flauta. A tortilla folded on the side is a burrito. But it's never hard-shelled. A burrito is never folded on the ends so it looks like some crazy envelope, and it's always wheat flour.

So that Taco Bell thing is who knows what. Fast food, call it. But a taco, it ain't.

The wikipedia entry has changed since her post - the 2nd and 3rd pictures are what she's referring to, I believe. In any case, she became so exercised over the taco contoversy, she took drastic measures.

That's IT I'm killing a main character right now.

And that's how the web comic College Roomies From Hell!!! came to lose one of its main characters.

Posted by: xaxnar on August 25, 2007 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

As to why so many of these are wrapped in carbs - Most of them were made by and for the hoi polloi - working class needed some energy - First time, I saw burritos, they were in the hands of Mexican-American asphalt workers in Los Angeles - typical lunch for them - Remember when one was offered to me - Did not realize that a giant jalapeno was stuck into the middle - Gave new definition to a "hot" meal.

Sorta ties into why so many recipes for beef require slow and long cooking - The hoi polloi were not given, or could not afford, the more expensive cuts, so the long breakdown process was needed - Even Coq au Vin, where tough old roosters were used, was a dish for the masses, not the Roi and friends.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on August 25, 2007 at 9:30 AM | PERMALINK

The New York Times "discovering" tacos is kind of like Bartok "discovering" Romanian folk dances.

I wonder if the NYT writer used a linen napkin to eat his tacos.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on August 25, 2007 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

But this is about CRISPY tacos. I HATE CRISPY TACOS. One bite, and the whole thing explodes, and you have crap all over.

When did soft tacos arrive? That's a civilized question.

Posted by: POed Lib on August 25, 2007 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

I grew up in California. I went to school in New York in the 1990s. It was hard to find a good taco there then.

Posted by: Linus on August 25, 2007 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

Rumor has it that Crispy Tacos are the work of a deranged Qud group operating in Mexico - Hand held IEDs, as it were.

Model 62 has more info on this.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on August 25, 2007 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Although the New Yorker might not have taken notice of tacos until 1974....

Not a conclusive claim, since the Complete New Yorker DVD's index isn't of the entire text, just of keywords compiled by the editors over the years for their internal filing system: if someone casually dropped a taco reference earlier than that, it probably wouldn't be picked up.

Posted by: Calton Bolick on August 25, 2007 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

While many think of beef or chicken tacos, there is an excellent restaurant in Portland, OR, which specializes in fish tacos - The owners are from a small fishing village on the eastern part of Baja on the Sea of Cortez.

Not to be confused with the Taco del Mar chain out of Seattle.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on August 25, 2007 at 11:52 AM | PERMALINK

If Kevin had done a little more research he would have learned that Mr. Maldonado was later exposed as a fraud -- his invention and patent attorney were paid for by the New York Dry Cleaner's Association, which earned a dime on every taco made with Maldonado's machine.

New York's dry cleaners correctly saw the taco machine for what it was -- the best dry cleaning marketing program to come along since the invention of soft ice cream.

Posted by: pj in jesusland on August 25, 2007 at 11:54 AM | PERMALINK

Good point, pj in jesusland. However, if you wish to comment about a NYT article, you must remember to insert Mr. before Maldonado's name.

This is not the Post, you know.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on August 25, 2007 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Playing a hunch, I skimmed through my Complete New Yorker DVD set under "Calvin Trillin" and found an earlier reference from May 29, 1965. Appropriately, it's from Los Angeles, in his article on Simon Rodia's Watts Towers:

"In the course of their interviews, [Documentary filmmakers William Cartwright and Nicholas King] came across Joseph Montoya, who had bought the towers from [Louis] Sauceda. Recalling their meeting, King, a lively informal young man who is now living in San Francisco, says, 'This guy worked as a milker in dairy. He had bought the towers with the idea of putting up a taco stand there, using them as a kind of attraction to customers.'"

Note that Trillin doesn't bother explaining what a taco stand IS.

Posted by: Calton Bolick on August 25, 2007 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Blue Girl, but I wasn't joking. An Amish family was selling slices of pie out of their carriage at the welcome center/antique shop right off the interstate. I've also seen Amish at a fast food restaurant in Eagleville or Bethany MO, so there's no reason to think that they don't make the rounds to all of the local towns.

Plus, a woman working at the local coffee shop in downtown Lamoni denied that the Community of Christ is Mormon.


Posted by: FS on August 25, 2007 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

The only other contentious conversations I have with friends about food (other than tacos) is where to get the best vietnamese sandwich.

Posted by: californian now in seattle on August 25, 2007 at 11:03 PM | PERMALINK

Best Vietnamese sandwich?

Somwhere in Alhambra, California no doubt. I'm partial to the Ba Le Sandwhich - $2.50 gets you an amazing BBQ pork...

http://www.yelp.com/biz/oYJ3_UIOqX83TLXoNFhX3g

Posted by: Lee Stranahan on August 25, 2007 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

"per my previous comment - I do not want it adu[l]terated by current reality."

Blue Girl, I don't want anything adulterated by the current reality.

". . . where to get the best vietnamese sandwich."

One can get fairly good veggie vietnamese hoagies on 9th and market in philly . . . well, I like them, anyway . . .

Posted by: Dan S. on August 26, 2007 at 1:48 AM | PERMALINK

xaxnar: She lives in Yucatan, and has very definite views on what is and is not a taco.

Hmmmmm... Ms. Campos appears to be displaying typical Southern disdain for Sonoran cuisine, from which my familiarity with tacos derives, and I know any number of Sonoran residents of long lineage who would take extreme exception with her opinion and attitude.

Soft corn tortillas filled, pinched--not necessarily rolled--then fried still qualify as the real McCoy. The filling isn't exposed to direct frying like a rolled/fried taco, or pre-cooked as with a soft taco or when using premade hard shells. The result is delicious... an infusion of the flavors in the filling.

The prep and cooking is more difficult than rolling/frying, soft tacos, or using premade hard shells. I suspect that was the reason for "Mr. Maldonando's gadget". If you're a fan of Mexican food, and you've never tried Sonoran-style cuisine, you're missing out.

Note: Sonoran style doesn't necessarily preclude rolled/fried preparation... it tends to vary depending on the restaurant and the filling. If you're ever in Tucson AZ, the place to go is (or was many years ago) Mi Nidito.

Posted by: has407 on August 26, 2007 at 2:19 AM | PERMALINK

I am headed to bed, but I have to ask before I turn in...Is El Burrito Pyramid still around? I believe it was on East 22nd Street, but Davis-Monthan was many a billet ago. Jeebus! 25 freakin years? How can that be? I'm only 29...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on August 26, 2007 at 2:33 AM | PERMALINK

BGRS -- Don't think I ever ran across an El Burrito Pyramid... only place I can think of that might match that description is El Parador, which has been around forever, and was still there a few years ago (nice fake pseudo-upscale Mexican ambiance, popular with the yuppie crowd, but horrible food).

Posted by: has407 on August 26, 2007 at 2:46 AM | PERMALINK

I'm an old fart and I grew up in Southern California. There's a restaurant in Azusa called La Tolteca that is still open and has real tacos. I also remember a road house out toward San Berdino called Taco Kitchen which was the very best in the early 1960s.

South of San Francisco in Daly City is a restuarant called Estrada's Spanish Kitchen which has been open since 1917 and has early California cuisine. They have macaroni with chile sauce and lots of cheese and "sizzling salad" which is a huge tostada in a very hot plate. The waiter brings it out and squirts vinegar on it and it steams and sizzles. They also have real tacos.

Posted by: Agent Al on August 26, 2007 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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