The Best Tacos In San Jose - Part 3
It’s time for more taco discussion here at Sorry, Everyone, although it will be hard to blame you if you don’t get too enthusiastic about what’s on display today. For tacos that are actually appealing, Parts 1 and 2 are of interest.
Taco Time Part 3: The What The Hell Dude Don’t Eat That Division
Crispy Potato Soft Taco - Taco Bell
I’d never had the Crispy Potato Soft Taco before, and yet as I ate it I could not help but think that it tasted familiar. I, like so many others, ate Taco Bell long before I ate anything resembling Mexican food, or even genuine Americanized Mexican food. Childhood tastes are difficult to forget; even as our frontal cortex tells us that we are looking at bland potatoes, scraps of almost tasteless lettuce, meager dry cheese and way too much sour cream, our hippocampus stares, remembering previous encounters with Bliss Point engineered food. Knowledge isn’t relevant anymore. You experience the taco, and it feels familiar and comforting.
Doritos Locos Taco - Taco Bell
So this is…what it says on the tin. It’s a taco inside of a Dorito shell. It’s not quite exactly the same as a traditional Dorito, it’s thinner, and there’s a bit less of the powdered cheese shellacked to the outside, but it’s there all the same. And the taste is exactly what you expect, it’s the sum of its parts, nothing more, nothing less. Worth eating once, in my estimation, but there’s no need to eat another.
Addendum: An associate disputes my characterization, and for him the thinner shell and the lesser cheesing were dealbreakers, and the fact that it wasn’t a legit dorito was damning. It’s not what it says on the tin, he points out, and that’s the failing. “Taco bell so dedicated to watering down Mexican food that they water down fake Mexican side dishes,” he offers, a damning indictment.
Chicken & Beef Tacos - Taco Bravo
I don’t know how long Taco Bravo has been in existence, but from the look of the building, it’s been there quite a while. The brick is worn, the pleather covering the stools in the seating area cracked and worn. Taco Bravo is odd; I like to think of it as the Leibniz to Taco Bell’s Newton. It’s as if at the same time Glen Bell was off somewhere coming to the conclusion that Americans would go wild for really shitty pseudo-Mexican food, whoever founded Taco Bravo was in some basement in San Jose coming to the exact same conclusion. I say this because Taco Bravo’s offerings are distinctly reminiscent of Taco Bell, although they’re a lot more limited. Ground beef and chicken are the only meats on offer, the default taco is hard-shell, the nachos are a star instead of a side attraction. The building has the same mission-inspired-architecture Taco Bell long since abandoned. But the key to it being Leibniz is that it doesn’t seem like a knock off. For one, they don’t offer half the stuff Taco Bell does and don’t seem to care. The production is sloppier, there isn’t even half an effort to display the extreme operational efficiency that Taco Bell has so carefully built. Taco Bravo just sort of exists, beckoning the lonely and the drunk, serving tacos that fall apart as you eat them, beef that is vaguely flavorful but mostly just salty, the whole deal. That’s enough to keep the sensible away, but 72 cent Taco Thursday has robbed better persons than I of their sensibility.
TacOnut - Psycho Donuts
Psycho Donuts is a local donut shop that is, as I understand it, basically a knockoff of Portland’s Voodoo Donuts. That doesn’t bother me in the slightest, Portland is a long bike ride just for a donut. So the donuts are psycho, they’re piled high with Captain Crunch or marshmallow and graham crackers, or they’re making donut sushi or giant donuts that are 14” across, or whatever. You get the idea. The TacOnut is a seasonal item, and ultimately, that’s what saves it. This is actually really, really good. It’s not actually a taco, but that doesn’t change the facts. It’s a glazed donut, fresh strawberries, and whipped cream. The fresh strawberries is the key, and bless Psycho Donuts for understanding that. It would be all too easy to make this with those strawberries that come in giant buckets, eternally soaking in something that might be their own juices, might be apple juice, might be some kind of syrup. You know the type, someone fishes them out with a slotted spoon, they ruin pancakes and sundaes and all manner of treats with their soggy, mushy texture. But not so here! The strawberries are fresh and firm, and that makes all the difference. No one will ever mistake this for a Raspberry Almond Emparace, but on a warm afternoon when one is in the proper mood, it’s quite the item.
That’s the end of taco time, and I thank you for reading. This may or may not become a quasi-regular feature, because lord knows there are plenty of tacos out there worth talking about.