Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tania's Taco Testing In The Nickel (pt. 1)

I was food blogging even before we had a food blog, dudes. Last year I was at the helm of a different blog that wasn’t about food, but I sure as hell managed to talk about it incessantly. It was kind of inevitable because, as is the rule with most office situations, one generally likes to get away from their desk by going out to lunch. Dave and I were no exception for the while we worked in the beautiful Spring Arts Tower in downtown Los Angeles, right across the street from Charlie O’s. The Spring Arts Tower is an old, fancy building in the heart of downtown LA. And when I say the heart of LA, I mean the heart of illegal street drugs, discount clothing stores, bum activity, and hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurants. It is on the corner of Fifth Street and Spring Street, which is also referred to as “The Nickel.” The Nickel is pretty fucked. There was a whole lot of drug dealing going on in the streets below our offices. And pooping too! One day we found this little gem on the side of our building. There isn't enough to say about that picture. It's human feces on a wall. Someone straight pissed out their ass on a busy street. Then they tried (?) to wipe with newspaper. They couldn't even do it in an alleyway. Nope, right on Spring Street. Everyday another thing amazes me beyond belief. It's a wondrous world that I live in. Too bad it smells like shit. Anyways, when there wasn’t pooping and drug dealing there was violence, usually in the form of fistfights, in the streets. And ambulances driving around and picking up junkies that OD’d. Oh, and I just couldn’t leave this picture out. It’s of one of our favorite junkie neighbors, Jiffy Pop. As you can plainly see, it was an amazing place and during our beloved time in The Nickel, Dave and I explored our surroundings and ate at every taco shack within walking distance. We even started testing them and rating them… have a look at some of our finds (again): -Taco Testing In the Nickel (TTIN) begins: El Rancho Mexican food on 5th Street There were tables and signs that were printed in English and other accoutrements that made the average white person walking around one of the sketchiest neighborhoods in Los Angeles feel slightly less vulnerable. WRONG. It is a well-known fact that the amount of intimidation that a taco shack puts into you before you walk in is directly proportional to how good the food tastes. Here’s the formula: Scary-ass Mexicans, who don’t speak a word of English, eating cow tongue tacos off of a shit-covered table in a rat infested shack = awesome tacos. If you want an English speaking staff that will happily give you extra sour cream and mild sauce, go to Baja Fresh. Look, I don’t make the rules, I just follow them. So we started off our taco testing at a mellow joint that served beer and spoke English. Those were the only positives at the El Rancho. The negatives included:
1. It was expensive. $2.50 a taco is highway robbery.

2. No brown people were eating there.

3. The carne asada had sautéed bell peppers and onions in it. That’s not carne asada, that’s fajitas. It’s also just gross.

4. I’m pretty sure the refried beans came from a can.
5. Their table salsa looked like tortilla soup.
6. The line of white people in professional office attire actually went out the door at one point. There are four taco shacks on that block and all of the white folks chose that one. Bad.
7. Their fountain didn’t work.

8. Dave was ashamed of himself after seeing all of those white bankers lining up for fajitas.

Grade : D-

-TTIN attempt #2:

Las Maracas at 217 5th Street

I don’t think I mentioned this before, but this series of tests is based solely on carne asada tacos. It’s the only thing we can order from these places until we’ve had the carne asada at every taco shack within walking distance of our office. And there are lots of them. I wanted to order an enchilada today, but remembered that it wouldn’t make sense to compare enchiladas and tacos. They’re like apples and oranges.

Okay, so now that that’s out of the way I’d like to tell you about my new favorite restaurant, Las Maracas. We chose Las Maracas today because it has a bar in it and Dave and I needed an afternoon beer. The place was filled with Mexicans, which is always a good sign. Futbol en Espanol was on all of the televisions and the jukebox was playing some mariachi jams while a drunken patron stared at it and pushed buttons. Do I need to go on? I know that I don’t, but I will because I like telling stories about tacos.

1. We ordered our taco plates and, to our surprise, it came with soup. Score one for Las Maracas. I love soup! It was mystery soup, which means I could recognize some of the ingredients, but not all of them. I’m certain I saw some onions and potatoes, but there were these little white squares floating in them that could have either been brains, tofu or bizarro cheese that didn’t melt. I don’t care what it was, it was tasty and I ate it all.

2. Our tacos arrived and to my delight there were tomatoes and avocado on them, in addition to the usual onion/cilantro mixture. It’s like they knew I was coming.

3. The drunk dude standing by the jukebox proceeded to get so drunk that he started hitting on the waitresses even though he could barely stand up. I think he bought one of them a rose from one of the wandering Mexican ladies that walks around the streets and inside restaurants selling single roses.

4. After I finished eating I used the sink in the ladies room to wash the taco smell off of my hands. When I came out of there ol’ drunkie made eye contact with me with his bloodshot eyes and said “how you doin’ baby?” AWESOME. This place gets an A just for that. I love when dudes are blacked out before 2pm.

5. At some point a tranny stuck his/her butt into the restaurant. She didn’t walk in, she just bent over and stuck her butt in and then continued on her way. Tranny butt.

6. Aside from our waitress asking us what we wanted, and ol’ drunkie’s come-on, I didn’t hear one word of English.

7. The only thing even remotely negative was their weak table salsa and their rice that looked like it may have been exposed to some sort of radiation. I’m pretty sure it glowed in the dark. And right now it’s lighting up my belly! WOCKA WOCKA.

Grade: A-


Anonymous said...

I applaud this. I was just last week feeling nostalgic about when I lived in Oakland and googled my favorite torta place in SF, El Castillito. Those fucking tortas made me miss the last bart probably close to 100 times. But I was really surprised at how all the reveiews were from people who probably work at google who were just basically like 'eeeeew, there was a yucky man in there' and shit. I'll paypal you 3 bucks to buy me one next time you're up there.

Bozo Monkey Bear III said...

does anybody read these? not sure, but anyway, i thought this would be a good place for a thumb update: the thumb is healing fine, although it's not doing it quietly. its got tania's tit in a wringer night and day. poor girl. the tip, incidentally, was placed in a ziploc bag in the freezer. it's official: we have body parts in our ice box.

Anonymous said...

Funny stuff. Great story-Tranny butt. Lmaoing