Monday, September 30, 2013


Cate lives in a state so far away from the homeland that the mélange of melted processed cheese and Rotel with a dash of Cumin has not yet been discovered by the masses.  I don't even know if Rotel is on the grocer's shelf.  With her recent what-used-to-be-her-home homecoming, she definitely wanted to partake of the delicacies her home state has to offer.

For years and years, I have not darkened the drive thru of Taco Bell or the front door.  Not interested and not happening.  Obviously, my business was not a true barometer of the Bell's success.  I think it was the dog.  And then, the wonderful Dorito Taco Shell for Taco Supreme was invented, one of the best food inventions in a long time and such a natural pairing.  A taste sensation.  Delicious.  Taco Bell has my business again.  I could eat a taco every day, any taco, but I love beef and avocado.  Or a tamale everyday.  Or a lobster (soonverysoon!)  I am not wired to go nuts over the mention of a hamburger and French fries. 

But now I love my Taco Bell Dorito Taco.  I grew up eating Mexican food while other folks were gumming tuna casserole.  Today was the day to go get some tacos.  I even gave up my Dorito Taco love affair so that my child could have the Mexican food she wanted and was raised on.  When I was expecting this little bundle of joy, I would go to this fine establishment after my Dr.'s appointment and have the biggest, yummiest, spiciest taco salad in existence.  While waiting for my salad, I would consume mass quantities of the perfect salsa with a chip or two.  I could have poured the salsa into a glass and drunk it with my meal, I love it so.

Burt is sent on the taco run to the establishment producing great salsa, cheese dip and tacos which now resides in a drive thru business only.  But good tacos and salsa have not been diminished by the cars only atmosphere.  When he gets home, I'm standing there salivating, anticipating my weekly tacos while he opens the Styrofoam holding six succulent tacos as we pull containers of dip, beans and rice from the sack.  What?  Where is the salsa?  You call that a bag of chips for a medium cheese dip?  People, people. 

We are eating our fast tacos in preparation for our trip to the airport to say good-bye to our only child so she can be whisked back to her home fires, where the husband and the puppy are patiently waiting.
There is no time to drive back to the establishment and correct the situation.  I pick up the phone and tell them what happened just so they know what happened. 

About this time I'm considering giving up on drive-thru which is wonderfully convenient but often incorrect.  How often is the consumer going to return back to the scene of the shorted bag of chips?  If you give every third car a bag that is half empty you will save a little money but still rake in the same amount of pesos?  And if, whoops, you forget the salsa, too bad, so sad.  But I am generally a fair and considerate person.

And then I found it, one of my pettest of peeves.  Bad lettuce with black stuff on it.  Once again, this is the waning hour of my best girl's visit.  I just take a picture for proof which I offer for your review.  Whenever I serve a salad for a meal, I don't use bagged lettuce.  I prefer real greens and keep my eye out for grossitivity.  This lettuce was about the size of my first knuckle.  What if I had eaten it and then gotten sick?  I don't do bad lettuce well. 

This is the lettuce that has broken my drive-thru desires.  This and the no salsa and the half empty bag of chips.  And another wrong order at another place, over and over. 

One summer, I briefly worked for a major fast food corporation, wearing a Parisian inspired rust and white polyester pantsuit with matching white restaurant shoes that stuck to the grease on the floor tiles behind the counter.  And a fetching cap.  There were no computers.  I had to know the price of every item, the dairy and the beef fluctuating based on the national market prices.   I had to mop the front lobby, more than once.  There was no button marked milkshake on the register.  There was not a machine loaded with premixed milkshakes, just vanilla ice cream ready to go.  Every product was assembled in excruciating detail.  The grease was hot and might pop out on your hand even if you were careful. And I had to make my own change at a time when a dollar would buy a small meal with pennies leftover.  My fast-food career was over when my hours were cut because of a new restaurant opening just down the street, with the newest innovations - a salad bar, soups and baked potatoes.

And in all fairness, the major fast-food corporation is not what it used to be.  We do not subsist on drive-thru fare but it is convenient, especially when your house is turned upside down in renovation.  That tide is turning, finally.

Tonight I fixed a healthy meal of ham steak with cranberry sauce, baked sweet potatoes and green beans.  Not exciting but there were no surprises in the ingredients.   

I will probably go back to this taco spot but I don't have to.   Once, they were one of the few offering this new type of cuisine.  There was not immediate seating available.  You would stand in the lobby, smelling platters of sizzling fajitas as the staff carried trays to the tables.  A basket overflowing with warm chips was put down on the table just as you were seated.  The salsa was never ending.  Many happy hours were spent around the table.  Now, new folks have come into the state, bringing authentic menu items and whole families working hard to provide a consistently, pleasing product.

Thankfully this piece of corroded lettuce was hanging off and not touching a taco.  After thorough investigation, we ate all of the tacos and lived to tell.  But we ate them without salsa and just a handful of chips.  This is not the first wrong order and it won't be the last.  Their salsa is still my favorite.  I figure enough garlic can kill anything. 


a woman whose next summer

job was working for a radio station and being trained on the very latest in the new world of computers, a Word Processor 

1 comment:

  1. Fun meeting you today at Pen Women! Found you here, but couldn't find you on Facebook! Neat post!