Taco Grande

10 03 2009

I’m not of Mexican descent, despite what that one Greek guy told me (its a long story…lets just say I was in Greece and this guy trying to sell me gyros assumed I was Mexican…actually that’s the whole story, I guess its not that long after all).  Also, I have never been to Mexico.  San Diego is about the closest I’ve ever been so far.  So what qualifies me to critique Mexican food?  It’s not that I’m unqualified, I did already apply for my license to be a Mexican Food Critic , but its still being held in Sacramento (apparently my slight aversion to cilantro is creating some legal issues).  Until they issue me a temporary permit, I’ll have to be quick and discrete about my opinions concerning Mexican food.

Despite the risks (I’m pretty sure its a federal offense to critique food without the proper permits), I feel as though I need to tell you about Taco Grande.  I’m talking about the one on Kings Canyon and Clovis, but they are all the same (or so the owner told me, but since he owns all three in the area I would assume he knows best).  At Taco Grande, I had a burrito grande with carne asada, as well as a taco grande (also with carne asada).  I wasn’t going to go to Taco Grande and not have a taco grande, that wouldn’t seem right.

Here is why I highly recommend the food at Taco Grande:  You don’t have to think when you eat.

Let me explain.

Have you ever had one of those complicated burritos before?  By complicated I mean not easy to eat.  Sure, it tastes like a burrito, but half the time you are trying to stuff the fillings back into the tortilla.  The burrito grande, on the other hand, stays intact as you eat it.  The meat stays in the center, the beans and pico de gallo stay in their protective layer around the meat, and the tortilla remains in the shape it was in when you got it (minus the bites marks, of course).  So when I say “you don’t have to think about it,” you don’t have to worry about the whole meal falling apart.  From start to finish, it is a burrito, and at no point does it turn into a pile of  half eaten tortilla, meat, and grease.

By the way, the burrito grande is full of more then meat (which I already alluded to).  Refried beans, pico de gallo (the fresh stuff), avocado (a pleasant surprise, for sure), and rice.  Carne asada is my favorite of all the Mexican meats, however Taco Grande also has carnitas, cabeza, lengua, pollo, and whatever other meat you would expect to find.  The carne asada at Taco Grande was, hands down (or up, however the saying goes), the best I’ve ever had.  It was cut up real thin right right before my eyes, and it pretty much melts in the mouth.  To me, there is nothing worse then taking a bite of carne asada and having to fight with it.  Sometimes it seems like the burrito doesn’t want to let it go.  At Taco Grande the burrito is very generous, and gives up the carne asada with no problem.  Had I known this earlier, I would have ordered it with extra meat (which is always an option at Taco Grande).

One cannot have a burrito without a tortilla.  This was one of those huge (grande) tortillas, the kind that chihuahuas might use as circus tents (NOTE:  I have not personally witnessed a Chihuahua Circus, I have only read about them).  It was grilled before use, which is a must for any burrito, and probably grilled after it was rolled (I can’t verify this, but the thing was grilled up nicely).

While on the topic of rolling, I believe it is important to address proper burrito construction techniques that utilize a tight roll.  Part of the reason why these burritos don’t require thought (when eating) is that they are rolled so well.  At first, I thought I was given some sort of large white Cuban cigar, but it turned out to be my burrito.  That’s how tight those things are rolled.  Maybe I’m exaggerating a little, but the thing was rolled nicely, tucked firmly at both ends, and wrapped neatly in some burrito paper (which also doubles as taco paper).

So here I am, writing about Taco Grande and explaining how good the burrito was.  Maybe I should move on to the taco.  It had the same fillings (minus the rice) as the burrito, but on two smaller corn tortillas.  Don’t take “smaller” very seriously though, because the taco grande came out on its own plate.  That’s right, the taco grande had its own plate.  There was no room for a second taco.  If I wanted to order two, I would get two plates with a single taco grande on each.  They are that big, no joke.  I don’t mean “dinner plate,” I mean “plastic tray thingy,” like the kind used to serve a burger and fries at diners.  You know, those trays.  Still, they are some big tacos.  One could call it a taco grande.

My time is running short, I don’t want to get into trouble RMFWOP (Reviewing Mexican Food With Out a Permit).  Let me add that the salsa is home made.  Its GOOD, so good in fact that they should just sell bottles of it to take home.  There is rojo and verde, as to be expected.  If you like things spicy, go with the verde.  To drink, there is horchata, jamaica, and tamarindo, “American” soda, and a whole display cooler full of Jarritos (“Mexican” soda, generally far superior to “American” soda).  I had the horchata, and it tasted perfect.  Ice cold, full of cinnamon, and in a styrofoam cup.  I’ve never had horchata in a regular cup, its always in styrofoam.  I honestly don’t know whats in horchata, or even what color it is because of that styrofoam cup.  It really doesn’t matter, it tastes good either way, ignorance is bliss as usual.

There are some men in black suits outside my window…now some sirens are wailing and lights are flashing…they’ve found me RMFWOPing…don’t let this review of Taco Grande be in vein!  Please go check out one of their three locations!

I should be back out on the streets soon enough, this is only my first strike.  Maybe I’ll see you there.

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