Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Best Tacos? Mexico, Gringo

The original King Taco truck: a vehicle filled with more devine goodness than the Pope-mobile.
The final stop on my Taco Quest in California was to East L.A. -- home of King Taco itself. On a hot tip from J.J.'s friend, we had learned that there were two excellent taco joints to explore: the aforementioned King Taco, and Taco Real, just blocks from one another. We set out to see who was the real king of tacos -- names notwithstanding.

As we stood in line at King Taco, we saw a woman in line and asked her, "If you had to choose one, which would you say is better: King Taco, or Taco Real?"

She took a moment and then replied, "Mexico."

I laughed, "Well, I agree, but unfortunately we're sort of stuck here, and it might take awhile before we can make it down to Mexico."

I said this before realizing that what her answer meant was that she didn't understand the question I asked her at all. And then I realized that we were the only non-Hispanic people in line.

In other words, we were in the right place.

For the record, King Taco wins!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

F#%*ed up Food Post of the Day

Before continuing onto Part 2 of TacoQuest LA, I felt it important to post a disturbing item that was brought to my attention by friend-of-the-blog Holly, who had recently attended a baby shower and spotted this cake:

Apparently the baby cake was named "Sophie" (incidentally the name the expecting mother plans to give her own baby -- the mother's idea), and was made with red velvet cake.

I don't know what strange chemicals must be coursing through this woman's body to make her think of such a thing... I am appalled. However, here is an illuminating video showing how you too can create your own baby cake.

Red velvet!? I mean, c'mon... really?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Taco Quest Continues: The Whole Cow, Nothing but the Cow

Last week, I made it out to L.A. to continue my ongoing quest for some of the finer tacos this side of the border. In particular, I was interested in retracing the steps of intrepid New York Times reporter Cindy Price, who wrote an impressive article on the authentic taquerias in the greater LA area, just as I was discovering tacos in Central Illinois. In this two-part series, I detail some of the highlights of my own taco expedition.

Some of the fine tacos at Lilly's Taqueria... I think that the taco de ojo is the third one.
With my friend J.J. joining me for the trip, we headed to Santa Barbara to recreate some of the major highlights of Cindy's trip. First stop: Lilly's Taqueria, where they serve lots of cow parts: eye tacos (taco de ojo), lip tacos (taco de labio), and cheek tacos (tacos de cachete), and finally head tacos (taco de cabeza -- what part of the head, you ask? I don't know!!). Many of these were animal parts that had not really occurred to me as possibly being food prior to the visit to Lilly's. But I ordered them all.

Of course the highlight was the taco de ojo -- I'd been looking forward to trying it for some time. Due to some prior arm-twisting, I had elicited an agreement from J.J. to take a bite of the taco de ojo herself, however I didn't force her to follow through with this when we got there... the eye taco tasted alright but had sort of a gooey slimey quality to it. Also, right after I told her she was safe, I took another bite and encountered a bit that tasted something like tough cartilege (presumably this would have been J.J.'s bite). This caused me to wonder if I had bitten into an iris or something, but I didn't dwell on it and kept munching. Best not to think about these things.

Next we headed to La Super Rica. The NYT's Cindy Price had gotten my hopes up that I might spot some David Crosby-class celebrities here, but there was no one here that I recognized. Their taco menu was a lot more limited than Lilly's -- I think their options were parsed down to steamed and grilled pork and steak, and I must admit that both were mighty tasty. The line here stretched out the door, which I've heard is pretty typical at La Super Rica. As I bit into my steak taco I wondered whether there might be some inverse relationship between the number of weird animal parts served and the length of the line stretching out the door. With happy faces and full bellies, we headed back to L.A., where the taco journey continues...

Next time on Taco Quest: East L.A. and beyond!

Monday, March 2, 2009

March Roars in Like a Lion

Well, since there wasn't much snow of note through December, January, and February, I guess it was only fitting that we would get a couple inches of snow dumped down in the beginning of March. My friends Paul and Jen were visiting from Atlanta, where they don't get so much snow really, so around 10PM we sauntered down to Grace Court and to check out the scene. Along the way we saw the snow cause a branch to snap off a tree and a transformer on a power line light the sky a bright blue when it nearly blew up right over our heads. Good times!

A couple pictures below:

Jen reenacts her favorite Christmas Story scene.
Me in the snow
Grace Court on a snowy night...