If my friend Charles hadn’t already done it, I’d make a web site entirely devoted to Taquerias, Taco Trucks and other places to get badass burritos, because, frankly, I could eat a burrito every day for the rest of my fucking life and be totally and completely happy (coincidentally, you can read Charles run down of San Francisco’s best Taquerias in the latest edition of the Synthesis Digital, and trust me, he knows what he’s talking about.) Anyways, last week I wrote some shit about trying to eat healthy and how much better it is to just eat burritos and I figured that since I wrote it, I might as well post it here. So there.
Though Chico is presently smitten with the institution of the Taco Truck, it wasn’t always so. Once upon a time the majority of my friends and colleagues would look upon my patronage of these sort of mobile eateries as an affront to common American decency, dubbing them â€œroach coaches.â€ However, in my decade of Taco Trucking I’ve never once encountered a roach or any other sort of vermin in, on or around my food. In fact, I’m firmly convinced that if I could only eat at a Taco Truck or similarly “low class” taqueria for every meal without incurring the wrath of my girlfriend, not to mention my bowels, I could probably go an entire lifetime without being joined at mealtime by any beast owning more than four legs (for as any cat owner knows all too well, cats will and do eat anything they think you don’t want them to)
However, owing to such pseudo-scientific ideas as “eating a well-balanced diet” and getting “vitamins and minerals” I am occasionally forced to step outside my box and eat at more “reputable” establishments, or even, GASP, shop for food and prepare my own meal at home!!!11 It was on a recent day that I attempted the latter, zigging well clear of my usual lunchtime burrito spots and zagging into one of fine local purveyors of organic produce, which for the sake of anonymity I will not name herein. For the price of an entire week’s worth of Taco Truck meals fit for a king, I procured the necessary ingredients to make a salad, arriving home directly to make these preparations. As I chopped the lettuce, a small upwelling of pride began within me. “Man you’re making the healthy choice!” the voice said “shopping locally, for locally grown produce, benefitting both your own body as well as the extended body of your local community.” I suddenly envisioned myself subsisting on an exclusively vegetable diet, forgoing all meats and cheeses and Nachos and Burritos and other evil forms of convenient food. Vegetables were now king! I moved next to the delicious Red Pepper, slicing it in half to preserve some for my dinner salad, and perhaps the next day’s breakfast salad after that. However, as I lifted the upper half of the pepper from the plate, something seemed amiss. The seeds inside, visible through the open end seemed a little crusty, a little black around the edges. “Perhaps,” I thought, “this is a special variety of pepper, with multicolored seeds.” As I lifted it further however, the truly “special nature” of this pepper became apparent, as out slid a number of dull colored moths, of a surprisingly full grown nature, writhing and kicking their way free of their webbed afterbirth. I looked in the cavern of the pepper and found to my horror, that the entire core was nothing more than an incubator for these stoic allies of the night, a ruby eggsack filled with the musty increase of this ancient race of insect. Salad was, needless to say, no longer on the menu.
And alas, this wasn’t my first bug salad. Though the idea of the “roach coach” may be a misnomer, Downtown Chico and more specifically the restaurants therein, could probably qualify as a “roach hotel” as the majority of buildings downtown have dank basements linked to the network of subterranean tunnels and underpasses dug there by the Chinese back in John Bidwell’s day. More than a few meals at Downtown eateries have been interrupted by the migrations of large cockroaches from floor to ceiling or vice versa. And there have been worse, though many of these experiences are at eateries still in business that would probably not look to kindly on the retelling of such tales. However, I can relay one such anecdote somewhat safely as the offender has since moved locations. One day, suffering from a similar bout of “health-itis” I decided to forgo my lunch time burrito in favor of a salad from the salad bar at Grilla Bites (which now resides, presumably insect free, in the newly remodeled In Motion fitness). I prepared my salad, boxed it for transport, paid and began making my way back to work when I noticed that I was transporting more than just vegetables: from the gaps in the salad box were escaping little winged mini-roaches. I made haste to return my salad for a refund, salivating at the prospect of a gigantic burrito instead, and at half the price no less! However, upon observing the infestation of my salad, the cashier invited me to “go ahead and make another one.” Not being one to make a fuss, I obliged, but as my senses were now much more keen, I discovered, much to my chagrin, that the source of these mini-roaches was no less than the salad bar itself, the spaces in between the holding trays serving as miniature highways for these pests, who raced about unfettered and doubtless made many a healthy meal for themselves. Perhaps in the future, “vegetable fed” insects will be a premium salad topping, but culinary trailblazer is not in my job description. The only trail I blaze is the one from my ass after a Beef Super Burrito, extra spicy. Hold the lettuce.
*ABOVE: The Crazy Taco in Willows, CA aka “The Truck That Started It All”