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" I think it may be a front for a cult."
January 17, 2013 4:59 PM   Subscribe

According to Yelp reviews, a Chicago-area Taco Bell is one of the best dining experience in the city people on r/Chicago over at reddit call it "magical.
posted by The Whelk (169 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
You know, as much as this seems like a community-coordinated joke, when I went to college there was a nearby Taco Bell that was used as a training restaurant for the chain, being that it was close to their headquarters and I think their "taco bell university" where they trained managers.

Anyway, the service was always insanely great, you always got exactly what you wanted, substitutions and all, and the drive-thru was a thing of beauty. I had a roommate that ate there 2-3 times a day and he would time his wait in the line after ordering and I remember he had a good long average of something like 31 seconds from ordering to getting his food, every day for a couple weeks.

I think that one location was incredible just because the company executives were near and always watching but it was a pretty great Taco Bell.
posted by mathowie at 5:05 PM on January 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


Is "magical" code for "super drunk"? Because if so, I plan on feeling magical pretty soon after having read this.
posted by Kitteh at 5:05 PM on January 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


"I think it may be a front for a cult"

Or a front for something else.....
posted by sendai sleep master at 5:07 PM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


what

Chicago has some of the best Mexican food in the US (it can't compete with the west coast, but the Mexican population here is huge), and a lot of the places are open almost all night. it's great they have an awesome staff, but does the friendly staff come clean up your bathroom after the inevitable bad thing happens at home? while that's an easy joke to make it happened to me and Taco Bell is dead to me forever
posted by ninjew at 5:08 PM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think Taco Bell is so far removed from actual Mexican food that it is a completely and utterly different thing. Like I have never craved Taco Bell and would have felt satisfied by the best Mexican food, and I have never craved even mediocre Mexican food and would have been satisfied by Taco Bell. Like, it is long past the "fake Mexican food at Chili's" event horizon and is just its own cuisine. Which is great, as they created a new mealtime during which to eat it.
posted by griphus at 5:11 PM on January 17, 2013 [76 favorites]


Here's an ACTUAL cult restaurant that's right next to my house... their pho is actually pretty good, but I'm never eating there again, because:

Here's their website... this stuff is running all the time on the tvs in the restaurant, including the insane number of subtitles.

Actually, that probably deserves a FPP...

Fast food places seem to have inflated yelp ratings fairly often. Like, if it's clean and doesn't smell like a Chuck E. Cheese, 4 stars!
posted by Huck500 at 5:13 PM on January 17, 2013 [17 favorites]


Everyone loves fourth meal!
posted by Arbac at 5:14 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Time doesn't exist, he thought, inhaling the last of the joint. Except Taco Time. Taco Time exists
posted by growabrain at 5:16 PM on January 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


" a cool down entree before dessert "
posted by The Whelk at 5:17 PM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Isn't Chicago known for their abusive hotdog stands? Maybe they just aren't used to friendly service.
posted by cazoo at 5:18 PM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Isn't Chicago known for their abusive hotdog stands? Maybe they just aren't used to friendly service.

Oh, good, so I'm not the only one who saw that This American Life.
posted by sendai sleep master at 5:19 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


The worst food (perhaps "fuel" is closer to the truth) I have had in America, and as an America-embracing Brit I've tried a lot, was the Taco Bell on Santa Monica pier. Whatever was handed to me in that wrapper (and it was unidentifiable) was immediately unappetizing; I took a nibble, and dumped the rest, shaking my head. This country can, and does, do so much better.
posted by Wordshore at 5:20 PM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm always astounded that in Southern California, where you can get actual Mexican food from actual regions of Mexico, like all over the place, that people eat at places like Taco Bell. Alas, people are silly.
posted by Huck500 at 5:20 PM on January 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


I wonder if it's that I'm just getting older and have a lower tolerance for almost everything, but compared to 25 years ago (when I worked at McD's), fast food places these days totally suck. I'm not talking about the food. The staff are a little rougher, the floors dirtier, with a lot more trash lying around. Or so it seems.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:21 PM on January 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


I love it when people do things well! I'm serious this post totally put a smile on my face.
posted by facetious at 5:23 PM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


Bet it's still not as nice as the one in Demolition Man.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:23 PM on January 17, 2013 [13 favorites]


Taco Bell is to Mexican food what White Castle is to burgers food.

I wish I knew how to quit you, White Castle.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:27 PM on January 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


Hot Shot City is also particularly good.
posted by klangklangston at 5:27 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I had a roommate that ate there 2-3 times a day

Goddamn, I would not want to share a bathroom with that guy.
posted by nathancaswell at 5:28 PM on January 17, 2013 [7 favorites]


I live in Texas where great Tex-Mex is readily at hand - literally within walking distance - and I agree with griphus that Taco Bell is just something different. Sometimes I want really good queso, sometimes I want home-made cheap queso with Velveeta, and sometimes I just want Taco Bell nachos with extruded yellow cheese food product.
posted by restless_nomad at 5:28 PM on January 17, 2013 [13 favorites]


Like I have never craved Taco Bell

This just means that you have never gotten high enough.
posted by elizardbits at 5:30 PM on January 17, 2013 [29 favorites]


which, tbh, sad.
posted by elizardbits at 5:30 PM on January 17, 2013 [11 favorites]


Fast food places seem to have inflated yelp ratings fairly often. Like, if it's clean and doesn't smell like a Chuck E. Cheese, 4 stars!

I actually prefer that to Yelpers, like, rating a mediocre but good at what it does Chinese takeout/delivery place with 1 or 2 stars. Listen Yelpers, no one eating at a cheap ass Chinese place is looking for Michelin-quality food, or even "authentic" Chinese food. Is the *insert your favorite Americanized Chinese food dish here* halfway decent? Will you avoid food poisoning? Is their service reasonably fast? If yes, then 3-4 stars. What I'm saying is, rate on a curve based on the kind of restaurant. It's the only helpful metric. People seeing 4-5 star reviews on a Taco Bell or cheap takeout place are going to understand that those good reviews aren't on a parity with 4-5 star reviews of Chez Panisse. I mean, if I'm actually checking the Yelp reviews for a fast food place, chances are I'm only interested in how it compares to other locations of the same chain, and a 4 or 5 star rating indicates that it compares favorably.

Moving on from my issues with Yelpers! I have so many questions about this Taco Bell. Is the manager like the Mr. Rogers of the fast food franchise world? Why are his employees so happy? Why do they seem so genuinely cheerful and happy with their jobs? How does he inspire them? Do they all just derive intense satisfaction from providing the best possible fast food service? WHAT IS THE SECRET? Because seriously, the people working at a Taco Bell who still manage to be cheerful and genuinely invested in providing an excellent experience to Taco Bell customers have surely attained some level of enlightenment that the rest of us mortals should aspire to.
posted by yasaman at 5:34 PM on January 17, 2013 [33 favorites]


I'm always astounded that in Southern California, where you can get actual Mexican food from actual regions of Mexico, like all over the place, that people eat at places like Taco Bell.

The two cuisines share absolutely no ingredients. That's like being astounded that people eat hamburgers in places where you can get actual steaks. We have great Mexican restaurants where I live, but sometimes I do crave mass servings of orange ground meat and sour cream substitute in a thin corn-syrup and wheat wrapper. Not sure why. I don't buy them, but I do sometimes crave them.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:35 PM on January 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


I prefer the one on Jamaica Avenue.
posted by zippy at 5:35 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Many years ago, I was in my freshman year in college and had been overlong in eating for the day. In fact, if I recall, I had skipped breakfast and lunch and hadn't finally gotten dinner until a friend asked if I wanted a burrito at a nearby Naugles that evening. When he brought it back to me and I took the first bite, I literally broke into uncontrollable tears.

As I'm nomming and weeping intermittently, my friend looked on in mild alarm and said, "Holy cow, either you got the munchies or that must be one really great burrito!"

"Oh man!" I replied, "*nom* It's *sob* a transcendent *sob* magical *nomnom* oh man, what..."

And that's how I discovered I was prone to hypoglycemia.
posted by darkstar at 5:37 PM on January 17, 2013 [63 favorites]


I read a story years ago that Taco Bell was trying to expand into Mexico, which does seem sort of ludicrous, but as others are saying, what they make can't really be considered actual Mexican food. The story said their slogan in Mexico was actually going to be "otra cosa", which basically means almost verbatim how it's been described here: Something different.

where you can get actual Mexican food from actual regions of Mexico, like all over the place,

Probably not the greatest example of "actual" Mexican food you've got there, but they have some interesting stuff. I think I have to pass 10 taco shops and a couple sit-down Mexican places to get to the closest Taco Bell to me, though.
posted by LionIndex at 5:39 PM on January 17, 2013


Like I have never craved Taco Bell

This just means that you have never gotten high enough.


Better alternatives: Get some sour cream and onion chips with some dip, man, some beef jerky, some peanut butter. Get some Häagen-Dazs ice cream bars, a whole lot, make sure chocolate, gotta have chocolate, man. Some popcorn, red popcorn, graham crackers, graham crackers with marshmallows, the little marshmallows and little chocolate bars and we can make s'mores, man. Also, celery, grape jelly, Cap'n Crunch with the little Crunch berries, pizzas. We need two big pizzas, man, everything on 'em, with water, whole lotta water, and Funyons.
posted by mannequito at 5:40 PM on January 17, 2013 [15 favorites]


See this is why seamless web has revolutionized being super high at home.
posted by The Whelk at 5:42 PM on January 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


Probably not the greatest example of "actual" Mexican food you've got there

Yeah, they serve a lot of American Mexican food, but their specials are usually pretty authentic.
posted by Huck500 at 5:44 PM on January 17, 2013


Isn't Chicago known for their abusive hotdog stands?

Hey, that's just that one place (The Wiener Circle), and at this point I'm not even sure if anyone goes there other than tourists.
posted by dnash at 5:44 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


My contribution to the thread about Taco Bell is this realization: anything on their menu called beefy instead of beef, it's probably for legal reasons.
posted by JHarris at 5:49 PM on January 17, 2013 [45 favorites]


It's kind of charming to know this place is out there. I do hope the employees are well taken care of, with all the superior customer service they clearly offer.

Taco Bell does a lot of things wrong, but they'll have always have some measure of loyalty from me - it was a job at Taco Bell that helped me transition from homeless to independent.

And the super-sweet people who worked there figured out I didn't have money or food when I first started, then saved all of the meat-free overmakes for me in a box they gave me at the end of my shift. They did that for a couple of weeks. Yes, I did say "meat-free" - in my first 2 days, they'd sussed out from my shift meal that I didn't eat meat and then went above and beyond to treat me to some regular food. I would put what I couldn't eat in the freezer and ended up with probably about a month of meals from their generosity.

I've never been sick from Taco Bell food, but I've also never had the ground meat. Coincidence...?

I worked several fast-food jobs over the course of 3 years, and Taco Bell was by far the best experience out of all of them. Wendy's was next. Tie for worst goes to McDonald's and Jack in the Box. The emphasis on being friendly and empowered to truly help customers was a huge difference.

Makes me really sad that some Taco Bell and Wendy's owners are being jerks about qualifying employees for AHCA, honestly. They should be better than that.
posted by batmonkey at 5:49 PM on January 17, 2013 [78 favorites]


I'm doing something I call the abusive hotdog stand at this very moment.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:50 PM on January 17, 2013 [19 favorites]


You don't go to Taco Bell for Mexican food, you go to Taco Bell for Taco Bell.

Whatever new combination of "just add hot water" ground beef, pseudo-cheese sauce, reddish rice product, beans, and tortillas they've put on the menu this week...
posted by mrbill at 5:53 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


When I was living in Englad, eating primarily in our residence hall, I'm pretty sure Taco Bell saved me from midwinter scurvy. The meals I got there were the closest thing I saw to a tomato (even a gross canned processed tomato) for weeks on end.
posted by anastasiav at 5:55 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, they serve a lot of American Mexican food, but their specials are usually pretty authentic.

Well, yeah, that's most taco shops in SoCal. Your place is at least doing al pastor and carnitas pibil.
posted by LionIndex at 5:56 PM on January 17, 2013


Isn't Chicago known for their abusive hotdog stands?

Hey, that's just that one place (The Wiener Circle)


Y'know, I think I went to a place in NYC called The Wiener Circle that demeaned their clientele, but hot dogs had a whole other meaning there. Plus they served alcohol.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:58 PM on January 17, 2013


Hey, Huck500, a good friend of mine (and damn fine drummer) joined the cult of which you speak. I'm still in touch with him, but haven't actually seen him in over a decade (although he once left a surprisingly delicious vegan chocolate cake on my doorstep in the middle of the night). Just about every exchange I have with him ends with him exhorting me to "go veg".

The cult does seem pretty nutty. The Supreme Master has been in trouble recently for illegally building a deluxe meditation hut in the middle of a national park.
posted by misterbee at 6:00 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


The two cuisines share absolutely no ingredients. That's like being astounded that people eat hamburgers in places where you can get actual steaks.

I'm pretty sure steak and hamburger must share at least one ingredient.
posted by Nomyte at 6:01 PM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I don't care that much about friendly service. These employees ask you how your day has been and chat with you for a while... in the drive-through? Man I'd just be like "this is fun but let me get on with my day, I chose this for the speediness." Meanwhile, for an actual sit-down experience there are about 30 amazing, unassuming Mexican places where the staff treat you indifferently but make the most heavenly food you can get outside of the Mission district.
posted by naju at 6:04 PM on January 17, 2013


Taco Bell has long been dedicated to exceptional customer service.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:07 PM on January 17, 2013


The two cuisines share absolutely no ingredients. That's like being astounded that people eat hamburgers in places where you can get actual steaks.

More like being astounded that people eat Krab With a K in places where you can get actual crab. Except that people can be allergic to crab without being allergic to haddock, while being allergic to actual Mexican food without being allergic to Taco Bell is probably pretty unusual.
posted by Huck500 at 6:08 PM on January 17, 2013


an ACTUAL cult restaurant

Here in San Francisco there is a vegetarian Asian restaurant in the Tenderloin that has the same message. But a little subtler. No TVs. Lots of pamphlets!
posted by njohnson23 at 6:14 PM on January 17, 2013


Incidentally, no need to speculate overmuch. Taco Bell is pretty okay talking about their ingredients (the beef is under "seasoned beef"), and even the weird stuff isn't really that bad. I mean, for the price, which is ridiculously low.
posted by gilrain at 6:15 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh hey I know where that is. It's in a weird little pocket where I have been within a block of it a hundred times for different reasons but never actually been right there. Clybourn is the worst FYI.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:18 PM on January 17, 2013


If on the one hand you can get their attention when you want to, and on the other, they don't shout "How we doin' over here?!?!?!?" as they're steaming on by your table precisely once during your meal, always when your mouth is full or when you're obviously in a conversation with your dining partner, then this Chicago Taco Bell is a better restaurant than 97% of the restaurants in Portland with entrees under $35, and about 50% of the ones without.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:21 PM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I will say this for Taco Bell. In Toronto, in the late '80s, you could go in with $5 and come out with enough food for at least 8 punks. I that sense, it was wonderful.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:22 PM on January 17, 2013 [8 favorites]


The cult does seem pretty nutty. The Supreme Master has been in trouble recently for illegally building a deluxe meditation hut in the middle of a national park.

The cult in question is that connected with the "Loving Hut" chain of vegan restaurants. I had the honor of eating at one once, one in Atlanta. Signs on the walls proclaimed that all the employees were volunteers, a statement that immediately set off warning bells in my head, bells that only got louder when I saw that the food was if more expensive than I expected, instead of cheaper to compensate. Also, they continually show SUPREME MASTER TV in the store, which feels downright North Korean in its programming. But it was only one visit; does anyone else have experience with them?
posted by JHarris at 6:24 PM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


The best actual cult restaurant in Chicago is Victory's Banner.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:25 PM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm always astounded that in Southern California, where you can get actual Mexican food from actual regions of Mexico, like all over the place, that people eat at places like Taco Bell. Alas, people are silly.

Here in New York I get mildly offended when anyone admits to patronizing Dominos. If they are native New Yorkers, the whole thing is actually a little embarrassing.
posted by Edgewise at 6:32 PM on January 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yes not to reignite the Pizza Wars but I'm in Chicago and I occasionally see people walking past multiple local pizza places whilst carrying home Little Caesar's boxes from the Little Caesar's in the K-Mart nearby and my face goes a little numb each time.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:34 PM on January 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Clybourn is the worst FYI.

Yes...but Peaquod's!

And anyway, everybody knows the nicest Taco Bell employee is the woman who works the drive thru at the Wrigley Field adjacent one. And the fact that I know this makes me both glad and sad that I don't have a car anymore.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 6:38 PM on January 17, 2013


I'm always astounded that in Southern California, where you can get actual Mexican food from actual regions of Mexico, like all over the place, that people eat at places like Taco Bell. Alas, people are silly.

You're confusing the terminology and certain approximate use of the touchstones of the cuisine with the thing itself. Taco Bell isn't Mexican Food. It's "Mexican" Food.

When I want awesome Mexican I have El Sauz (and countless other places) nearby (and if I want more obscure regional Mexican fare, there is a great Oaxacan place within reasonable driving distance) and can get a crackin' good al pastor taco or a torta.

When I want "Mexican" food I can go to Chipotle or Baja Fresh or, yes, even Del Taco and Taco Bell.

Sometimes I want a In-N-Out burger, sometimes I'd really honestly rather have a Big Mac. Is that so wrong?
posted by chimaera at 6:46 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Hey, that's just that one place (The Wiener Circle), and at this point I'm not even sure if anyone goes there other than tourists.

Same goes for the other Wiener Circle.
posted by Beardman at 6:46 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes not to reignite the Pizza Wars but I'm in Chicago and I occasionally see people walking past multiple local pizza places whilst carrying home Little Caesar's boxes from the Little Caesar's in the K-Mart nearby and my face goes a little numb each time.

No worries, we can call a truce over this one, for sure. There's no excuse to buy from Little Caesar's no matter where you live.
posted by Edgewise at 6:48 PM on January 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


Sigh, Baja Fresh. When I went to visit a friend in L.A. a few years ago, I said I wanted to go to a real West Coast taqueria. She took me to Baja Fresh...which, while tasty, was not really what I had in mind.
posted by limeonaire at 6:49 PM on January 17, 2013


Okay what I meant was that WHEN I crave Taco Bell I WON'T be satisfied by Mexican Food and vice versa.

Seven years of horrible food eating cred down the drain with bad grammar.
posted by griphus at 6:53 PM on January 17, 2013


Sometimes I want a In-N-Out burger, sometimes I'd really honestly rather have a Big Mac. Is that so wrong?

Not wrong, I just don't get it...
posted by Huck500 at 6:59 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Big Macs are delicious. Although I worry about my ability to eat three of them in a go.
posted by griphus at 7:01 PM on January 17, 2013


Every time I "eat" at Taco Bell, the first few bites are delicious.
Then my taste buds apparently become imbued with the same special powers as the sunglasses in They Live and I am unable to consume another morsel.

Shortly thereafter I feel as though I swallowed a car battery.

And let's not forget the bloat-o-rama from that mega-dose of sodium!
posted by Pudhoho at 7:02 PM on January 17, 2013 [10 favorites]


The two cuisines share absolutely no ingredients. That's like being astounded that people eat hamburgers in places where you can get actual steaks.

Well, except in the taco bell /real mexican food difference one is actual food. I'll let you puzzle it out.

Also, not to derail the thread, but there's a Loving Hut here in Seattle. I wonder if it's the same cult?
posted by lumpenprole at 7:04 PM on January 17, 2013


Yeah, Baja Fresh is one of the very few chains I'm quite cheerful about going to. No pretentions about being a 'real' restaurant (unlike Chipotle's and the like), very yummy, reliable fast food with what seems to be good quality basic, relatively unprocessed ingredients. (Taco Bell 'meat' is basically canned dog food and I don't know WTF is in their tortillas that gives them that taste and consistency. I doubt they spoil much faster than a Twinkie.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:05 PM on January 17, 2013


Then my taste buds apparently become imbued with the same special powers as the sunglasses in They Live and I am unable to consume another morsel.

Omigod this is the most apt description ever.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:05 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


There was, for many years, an older white dude with a ponytail who ran 3rd shift at the Taco Bell drive-thru on Bardstown Rd. in Louisville, KY. That guy was--without any close competition--the most friendly and competent service worker I have ever seen. It was amazing, really; always a genuine smile, always a kind greeting, always amazingly fast and accurate service. I continued to go there once a month or so after I swore off all other fast food just to marvel at him. The thing that really wowed me was that, working third in a TB drive thru in the midst of the local drinkin' strip in a city with 4am last call, I am positive that he had some less-than-pleasant customers, but it never rattled his cage.

So, a highly praised TB location? I can believe it. (Unless you tell me ponytail dude works there, though, I won't be driving to Chicago--or anywhere else--to go to Taco Bell.)
posted by broadway bill at 7:05 PM on January 17, 2013


I think Yelp reviews in general are kind of useless, because most people have terrible taste in food and rate based on service, so basically the highest rated restaurants have lowest common-denominator trash food that's served with a smile.
posted by empath at 7:13 PM on January 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


Now I'm craving a Taco Bell hard shell taco. Which means I'll have to wait until tomorrow when I pass the combo Taco Bell/KFC on my way to class.

I'll add to the love for Baja Fresh. They make good rice, which is my litmus test for a decent Mexican/"Mexican" restaurant.

I wholeheartedly miss Poquito Más, which is like the inverse of Taco Bell.
posted by luckynerd at 7:15 PM on January 17, 2013


And let's not forget the bloat-o-rama from that mega-dose of sodium!

My "favorite" part of eating an entire Papa John's pizza is that five minutes later I become a majestic, arid desert, dooming benighted travelers and strangling all but the hardiest forms of prickly, hardscrabble life. NO AMOUNT OF WATER CAN QUENCH ME.
posted by en forme de poire at 7:17 PM on January 17, 2013 [14 favorites]


I know what Taco Bell tastes like, so it makes sense to me that the reviews focused on service and cleanliness. Also, really good service makes my day.
posted by Area Man at 7:17 PM on January 17, 2013


Here in New York I get mildly offended when anyone admits to patronizing Dominos.

FWIW, in the last few years, Dominos has transitioned from being the absolute worst in cardboard discs smothered with ketchup into mega-chain pizza that is as good as anyone could reasonably expect mega-chain pizza to be.

Really. It's pretty amazing.

(Though, New York, there's vastly superior non-mega-chain pizza on every corner, so, hey.)
posted by Sys Rq at 7:21 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think Yelp reviews in general are kind of useless, because most people have terrible taste in food and rate based on service, so basically the highest rated restaurants have lowest common-denominator trash food that's served with a smile.

Previously!
posted by en forme de poire at 7:26 PM on January 17, 2013


You guys! This is my local Taco Bell and it is super amazing. (I have no opinion on whether Taco Bell is Mexican food or not - sometimes I just want Taco Bell. Sometimes I want a meal from a Michelin rated restaurant. Both are valid food choices.) They are always super polite, it is crazy clean, and they have actually insisted on bringing food or drinks to the table once or twice when I have been in there when it is slow. I have yet to see them screw up an order, and have never experienced more polite staff at a fast food restaurant. In my house, we refer to it as "the good Taco Bell."
posted by betty botter at 7:35 PM on January 17, 2013 [5 favorites]


Chicago meetup at the Taco Bell, ya'll! With live blogging!

Okay, I live in Florida, so this is not up to me, but--you all really want this, too, right?!
posted by misha at 7:39 PM on January 17, 2013


I once talked to someone who owned like, a lot of the Dominos chains in NYC and said they made all their money in the first two months of a new school year when all the fresh NYU/Columbia/etc students would need a place that delivers to a dorm and didn't know any local spots yet.
posted by The Whelk at 7:39 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Chicago meetup at the Taco Bell, ya'll! With live blogging!

bride. of. flavortown.
posted by The Whelk at 7:42 PM on January 17, 2013 [15 favorites]


Does the Taco Bell have a basement y/n
posted by shakespeherian at 7:44 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


So there's a fairly new Taco Bell (maybe two years old) two blocks away from me and it's never actually occurred to me to go in there but now you all have me half convinced to go.
posted by octothorpe at 7:47 PM on January 17, 2013


Wait, hasn't Loving Hut been on the blue before? Aha, yes -- fpp will answer all your Loving Hut questions.
posted by clavicle at 7:48 PM on January 17, 2013


It's kind of charming to know this place is out there. I do hope the employees are well taken care of, with all the superior customer service they clearly offer.

I'm pretty sure they are. I'm a Taco Bell fiend, and I go to this one before I go to the grocery store and Costco across the street. The three franchises in the area (this one, the one on Milwaukee, and the one by Wrigley Field) are always great all around. It's just Taco Bell-level food, but the people are always incredibly nice, helpful, and funny.
posted by Evilspork at 7:56 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


*shudder* Tube food.
posted by carsonb at 7:58 PM on January 17, 2013


I'm in Chicago and I occasionally see people walking past multiple local pizza places whilst carrying home Little Caesar's boxes from the Little Caesar's in the K-Mart nearby and my face goes a little numb each time.

Well it's not like they have many other choices for actual pizza.

COME AT ME BRO
posted by elizardbits at 8:01 PM on January 17, 2013 [16 favorites]


to the haters t(-__-t)

Bonus points for use of my favorite emoticon, though I do think it renders more properly like this:
t(>,<t)
posted by louche mustachio at 8:09 PM on January 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


Well it's not like they have many other choices for actual pizza.

If New York has warped you enough that you think of Little Caeser's as actual pizza, this fight is already over.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:17 PM on January 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


hush now the doctors are coming to save you from yourself.
posted by The Whelk at 8:19 PM on January 17, 2013


i am calling CPS on your baby

child pizza services

they will save him
posted by elizardbits at 8:22 PM on January 17, 2013 [14 favorites]


not to reignite the Pizza Wars

...ok...

Well it's not like they have many other choices for actual pizza.

To the last breath. To the last man!
posted by adamdschneider at 8:22 PM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm just pissed that all the Taco Bell's in our region have been franchised out. With an immediate 15% or so price increase. We didn't eat there that often. But I enjoyed occasionally going out at 2 or 3 am for a mexican pizza and a few tacos.
posted by ericales at 8:23 PM on January 17, 2013


child pizza services

they will save him


wrap him a warm thin crust, shhh shhh the ground beef can't hurt you anymore
posted by The Whelk at 8:24 PM on January 17, 2013 [6 favorites]


I've never eaten at Taco Bell. I suspect I would experience the same level of anxiety and discomfort I experience when crossing the border into the States.

I do have a TV though, and I do watch it, though I went without one for a year and people thought that I thought I was cool because of it. I did not.
posted by juiceCake at 8:30 PM on January 17, 2013


"I'm always astounded that in Southern California, where you can get actual Mexican food from actual regions of Mexico, like all over the place, that people eat at places like Taco Bell."

Well, I make a promise to myself that I don't eat Taco Bell in LA county, but Taco Bell is more fakety Tex Mex than fakety Mexican.
posted by klangklangston at 8:31 PM on January 17, 2013


I get a kick out of the fact that Taco Bell drive-thru workers are required to begin the transaction with the phrase "How are you doing today?".

They'll say it and I'll reply "Great! thanks for asking!".

And then we pause. And nobody knows what to say next.
posted by JoeZydeco at 8:34 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I so want to believe that this Taco Bell's reviews have something to do with bong hits in the freezer, a great stereo system, a living wage with good benefits, and employee-ownership.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:40 PM on January 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


cazoo: "Isn't Chicago known for their abusive hotdog stands? Maybe they just aren't used to friendly service."

I lived literally across from the Weiner Circle in Chicago for several years. Abusive is both an understatement and compliment. But, as a neighbor and regular, I rarely caught shit. I did really disappoint a date once when they called me by name. "You go here enough for them to know you?" "Well, err," That was the last time she agreed to go out with me.

As for Taco Bell, it is no more Mexican food as Domino's is pizza. Plenty of great Mexican restaurants in Chicago. I am blanking on the name because it was a while ago, but there was one halfway between Belmont and Wrigley Field on Clark St on the east side of the street that used to put pure grain alcohol in their margaritas or so it was rumoured. Drink two of those and you were primed for anything that night.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:53 PM on January 17, 2013


As a friend of mine once put it, Taco Bell is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
posted by eugenen at 9:04 PM on January 17, 2013


I get a kick out of the fact that Taco Bell drive-thru workers are required to begin the transaction with the phrase "How are you doing today?".

They'll say it and I'll reply "Great! thanks for asking!".

And then we pause. And nobody knows what to say next.



One time I got back the answer "Tacotastic!".
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 9:12 PM on January 17, 2013 [12 favorites]


I must have intestines of steel because Taco Bell doesn't bother me at all. Otherwise... well, I'd still eat it, but I'd gripe about it more. Mmm, Mexican pizza.

(And Domino's now has my official permission to exist because their gluten-free pizza is totally edible.)
posted by restless_nomad at 9:18 PM on January 17, 2013


How is it that I have never heard of Loving Hut or suprememastertv.com? There is really a cult whose insidious mission is to serve delicious vegan food? This thread has properly blown my mind.

"The disciples at the time were some monks and nuns who would just follow me, and we didn't have anywhere to live. Then suddenly there is a house for rent. We call it 'Snake House'. Because it is full of snake." - Supreme Master
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:25 PM on January 17, 2013 [9 favorites]


I loved the mexican pizza, but it's not the same since the green onions went away years ago.
posted by peeedro at 9:27 PM on January 17, 2013


This thread has properly blown my mind.

...not to mention, Supreme Master TV somehow manages to cram simultaneous subtitles for 26 languages into every video, like some kind of Rosetta Stone of crazy.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 9:45 PM on January 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


If anyone wants some serious analysis of Chicago mexican (or burritos, specifically), you may be interested in Nate Silver's burrito bracket which I stumbled across recently (and read, despite being nowhere near Chicago myself).

(yes, that Nate Silver).
posted by el io at 10:10 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Huh, I didn't expect Supreme Master to be a woman.
posted by Drinky Die at 11:03 PM on January 17, 2013


My contribution to the thread about Taco Bell is this realization: anything on their menu called beefy instead of beef, it's probably for legal reasons.

Animal 57.
posted by radwolf76 at 11:03 PM on January 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Some kind of Rosetta Stone of crazy.
posted by luckynerd at 11:14 PM on January 17, 2013


my friend used to live in this tiny, old, and grumpy apartment off Lincoln Ave and Webster. there is a block-long strip of bars that were (still are, for all I know) filled with white guys who are assholes. at the end of this block of jerks, there's a tiny storefront mexican place that mostly caters to them so it's open really late. anyways, we'd rip bongs for hours out on his tiny little terrace with whoever was hanging out with us that night, and then at like 1am we'd stumble through the alley and walk into this place and it was always really fuckin' bright in there because our eyes were crispy and fluorescent lighting is from the devil. anyways, you give them $5 and in exchange you get to have a seat, have some free chips and salsa, and after a brief (it never felt like it, being stoned at 1am. it felt like 37 hours) wait, it appears: 3 freshly-made steak tacos. the kind with the properly fried double-layer soft corn tortillas. the guy chops the steak up into little chunks, so it's not like ground beef, but it's this delicate balance of being just big enough to taste each piece. they fill you with warmth and happiness. they have other things on the menu and everything is good, but nothing was AS good as those steak tacos. the galley-style kitchen was like 20 feet from where the seating was, so it was torture to smell it being made before it got to the table. for about $1.50 each, you were eating something that was made to order and was of a quality that was above what you were paying for.

so what i'm trying to say is: fuck Taco Bell.
posted by ninjew at 12:02 AM on January 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


There's no excuse to buy from Little Caesar's no matter where you live.

For $5, you get a medium pizza instantly. Maybe it's not the best pizza, but $5! And instant!

And to top it off, where I live, it's not even the worst pizza I could buy.
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 12:04 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I must admit, I too have succumbed to the allure of Little Caesar's $5 pizzas. When you're really low on cash, you take what you can get.
posted by JHarris at 12:07 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeeeeah. I'm a heck of a lot happier dining with the Supreme Master cult than with the cult of capitalism that is Yum! foods (Taco Bell, KFC, Pizza Hut). Buying some chick's bathwater isn't nearly as insane as eating a Doubledown.
posted by Skwirl at 12:28 AM on January 18, 2013


JohnnyGunn, you're definitely talking about El Jardin on Clark and Roscoe.
posted by daniel striped tiger at 12:47 AM on January 18, 2013


Buying some chick's bathwater isn't nearly as insane as eating a Doubledown.

Now you see, I consider Yum to be the lesser evil in that case, because although they might be a terribly exploitative gigantic corporation, it at least pays its workers.
posted by JHarris at 1:01 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reminds me of the best Dairy Queen on the planet, very close to Dairy Queen international headquarters. Only DQ I've ever known to have a full entree menu.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:07 AM on January 18, 2013


The Wendy's in Statesboro, GA, about ten years ago I was in there while it was completely full for lunch, and there was a huge winding line. They sent someone out to the line to get people's orders, and my food was ready when I got to the front to pay for it!

I don't know if they still have the same management or service now, but I never forgot that experience.
posted by JHarris at 1:11 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Dear Penthouse,"
posted by IndigoJones at 3:33 AM on January 18, 2013


JHarris: "I must admit, I too have succumbed to the allure of Little Caesar's $5 pizzas. When you're really low on cash, you take what you can get."

Me too. When you're poor and your poor buddy comes over for a movie night, and you are both hungry but no one feels like cooking up a manfeast, then Little Caesar's can be a salvation of sorts.
posted by Samizdata at 4:16 AM on January 18, 2013


JHarris: "The Wendy's in Statesboro, GA, about ten years ago I was in there while it was completely full for lunch, and there was a huge winding line. They sent someone out to the line to get people's orders, and my food was ready when I got to the front to pay for it!

I don't know if they still have the same management or service now, but I never forgot that experience.
"

And I do love me some Wendy's chili, I will confess, but only if I can get two golden packets for each large. Where I live in the Midwest, it's about the closest I can get to real chili (as opposed to meat sauce or seasoned beef) without cooking it myself.
posted by Samizdata at 4:18 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


...and there was a huge winding line. They sent someone out to the line to get people's orders, and my food was ready when I got to the front to pay for it!

This is actually a standard procedure at many fast-food chains. I've seen it happen more than a few times over the years.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:01 AM on January 18, 2013


Some friends and I used to dress up as superheroes/villains and wage epic wars against the staff of our local Taco Bell. We'd attempt to take over the restaurant, but were usualy doomed to fail when they broke out the guac and sour cream guns. No amount of supersoaking can get that shame out of The Nefarious Dr. Squid's costume.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:23 AM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


sometimes i wonder what life would have been like if i discovered drugs in high school rather than college
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:24 AM on January 18, 2013


gassy
posted by elizardbits at 6:11 AM on January 18, 2013


Also, at least from what I can tell via tumblr screenshots, whoever is in charge of Taco Bell's social media seems to be quite delightful.
posted by elizardbits at 6:11 AM on January 18, 2013


Taco Bell's diced tomatoes taste like dirt.
posted by mean cheez at 6:20 AM on January 18, 2013


Here in New York I get mildly offended when anyone admits to patronizing Dominos. If they are native New Yorkers, the whole thing is actually a little embarrassing.

Astonishing fact: Dominos in the Netherlands is actually good. No, not Joe's on Carmine, but far better than most pizza here. I'm not 100% positive, but I think the franchising works differently here. The Dominos I've seen are attached to an actual independent pizzeria that seems to use the Domino's name/"recipe" but make the pies themselves.

I have yet to see a Taco Bell in the wild here, but they must exist. It would probably be a step up from what passes for Tex-Mex here, nevermind actual Mexican (of any region).
posted by digitalprimate at 6:41 AM on January 18, 2013


re: Loving Hut

Reading about this is giving me flashbacks to a chain of cult operated vegetarian restaurants I ate at in Peru called "Alfa y Omega". There seemed to be one in any decent sized city. I never really got the gist of their dogma, something about UFOs and infinite scrolls of wisdom and Jesus being vegetarian. Food was good though.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 7:07 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah yes. Found them.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 7:08 AM on January 18, 2013


And to top it off, where I live, [little Caesar's is] not even the worst pizza I could buy.

Oh, you're from New York, too?
posted by wenestvedt at 7:12 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reading about this is giving me flashbacks to a chain of cult operated vegetarian restaurants I ate at in Peru called "Alfa y Omega". There seemed to be one in any decent sized city. I never really got the gist of their dogma, something about UFOs and infinite scrolls of wisdom and Jesus being vegetarian.

At least Peruvian space messiah cults were founded by real ancient astronauts, which is more than the rest of them can say. I mean I hate to say it but sometimes I think some of them are made up by untruthful modern people.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:17 AM on January 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


Any vegetarian who enters the fold only to find that they are in a terrible mirror universe where people don't like salt and fat (I know exceptions to the rule exist, but it is a rule, I HAVE BEEN TO POTLUCKS) will come to be very familiar with the phrase "chalupa supreme with beans instead of meat." At least until their GI tract catches up with them and they develop a moderate facility at cooking for themselves.
posted by invitapriore at 7:46 AM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have to chime in as another person living close to Mexico who wonders how Taco Bell even makes money down here. I really don't understand the appeal of "Mexican" food in regions where Mexican cuisine is plentiful--and diverse. There is no "Mexican food" in the sense of similarly prepared dishes (I'm sure that's true of any authentic cultural cuisine): food from Mexico varies wildly and even in the stereotypical category of burritos/tacos/fajitas/etc., the regional aspect adds totally different flavors and styles--Ojinaga is not Jalisco is not Potosino.

I had a friend make me a flow chart explaining Mexican food once. It was ridiculously complex. Adding cheese or meat makes one thing a completely different thing, beyond the expected "con queso"/"con carne." Don't even get me started on cactus fruit. Mexican cuisine is an advanced science--Mexican candy is so completely beyond what the rest of the world is doing that no one knows what to do with it. Your cousin visiting from Michigan probably isn't going to understand why there's chile and sugar on the Hormigas you're offering; the best you can do is repeat, "Try it, it's not bad." and never tell her what the name means.
posted by byanyothername at 8:28 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Pshaw. These plebs have clearly never been to Burger King.
posted by Flunkie at 8:32 AM on January 18, 2013


Mexican cuisine is an advanced science--Mexican candy is so completely beyond what the rest of the world is doing that no one knows what to do with it.

Yeah, honestly, as much as my rational brain tells me that imposing the narrative of progress on cuisine is a deeply fraught endeavor, you can't help but taste something like mole poblano and think that it's like a shiny and apparently windowless spaceship of flavor whose workings are unfathomable compared to the dinky, smoke-belching, combustion-powered contraptions that everyone else calls "food."
posted by invitapriore at 8:40 AM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's been said before, but Pizza Hut in China is apparently excellent. My own visit was thwarted by a thirty minute wait time for tables (at Pizza Hut!), but a friend was quite pleased with her squid salad (at Pizza Hut!).
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 8:42 AM on January 18, 2013


So I'm curious to try Loving Hut now. The Wiki article shows a storefront on South St. in Philly but the Loving Hut webpage doesn't list it, anybody know if it is still there?
posted by Drinky Die at 9:27 AM on January 18, 2013


Any sufficiently advanced cuisine is indistinguishable from magic.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:39 AM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


(shakespeherian had been hiding inside the dumbwaiter for over 20 minutes, waiting for someone to use the word "cuisine.")
posted by griphus at 9:42 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


There's a piece of lettuce on your shoulder.
posted by The Whelk at 9:48 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Enjoy the Hanukkah cookie, man.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:04 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


But where did the lighter fluid come from?
posted by shakespeherian at 10:18 AM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


shakespeherian: "Any sufficiently advanced cuisine is indistinguishable from magic."

Beat me to it, you dumbwaiter-loitering jerkwad. Hope you get a cramp in your back...

I kid, I kid...
posted by Samizdata at 12:04 PM on January 18, 2013


Wait, Nate Silver has a burrito blog?! He keeps getting more awesome.

And I do love me some Wendy's chili, I will confess

Ah, unfortunately this is where we must part ways on appreciating Wendy's, as all the chili I have ever seen there has been basically colored tomato water with crumbled hamburger meat in it and lacklustre additions. It's basically just something for them to do with leftover hamburgers, and it is horrible.

The Dominos I've seen are attached to an actual independent pizzeria that seems to use the Domino's name/"recipe" but make the pies themselves.

I've worked in a US Dominos for a couple of years, and that's pretty much how they're made here too, except for the dough.

The big refrigerated truck arrives at least once a week, bearing dough blobs in pre-sized blobs corresponding to each size of pizza. These are proofed (left out long enough for the yeast to leaven the dough) before use, and stretched by the line worker when it comes time to make a pizza out of one. They also bring "bread trays" for the deep dish pizzas, which are already partially-cooked enough to hold their shape.

The sauce also comes in from off site. When I started working there it came pre-mixed in bags that just had to be emptied into tubs, but towards the end of my time there they started shipping it out as concentrated bags of paste that have to be mixed with water.

Beyond these two things, the pizza is made on-site. The ingredients seem to be pretty good, and particularly they use fresh mushrooms (canned mushrooms are a deal-breaker regardless of what they're put in).
posted by JHarris at 12:12 PM on January 18, 2013


Personally, I wish I had more thin crust pizza in Chicago when I lived there. It was very good too.
posted by ZeusHumms at 1:21 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Like I have never craved Taco Bell"

This just means that you have never gotten high enough.


I have altered my consciousness in as many different ways as there are ways, since about 30 years back. I've been high, low, sideways, inside out ... I'm high right now. I have a California medical marijuana card.

I have never craved Taco Bell.

Man ... I'll eat seriously stupid shit sometimes, like circus peanuts... you know, those big orange foam things that taste like aliens smell, and I'll admit to seriously craving a Quarter Pounder from McD's once in a long while. But the amount I would need to be high for Taco Bell to even enter my thoughts as a food option would be so high that it would alter the whole nature of food itself - not just for me, but for everyone, for all time.

That's pretty fucking high.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:33 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thin crust in Chicago is actually really good but the "party cut" squares are bullshit. Pie slice forever.
posted by misskaz at 2:05 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do they still do the cinnamon crispies? 'Cause I could probably bring myself to order those after enough gravity bong rips.
posted by carsonb at 2:05 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd actually take Chicago thin crust over deep dish any day.
posted by klangklangston at 2:48 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Deep dish is a very nice fried bread cassarole but it has no right being called pizza.
posted by The Whelk at 2:52 PM on January 18, 2013 [4 favorites]


Deep dish vs. thin crust, Chicago vs. New York, you're all wrong. Didn't you guys know Taco Bell serves Mexican Pizza?
posted by naju at 2:57 PM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


The party cut rules!
posted by Area Man at 2:58 PM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think deep dish deserves to be called pizza. However, the "Eat This Not That" feature in Men's Health magazine consistently rates it as the worst food ever, due to calories and general excess in every nutrient.
posted by ZeusHumms at 3:03 PM on January 18, 2013


That's pretty fucking high.

dude inorite


Also deep dish is an abomination unto the lord.
posted by elizardbits at 3:10 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


permit it not in the house of hollies
posted by The Whelk at 3:13 PM on January 18, 2013


Affinity for deep dish "pizza" is a sure sign of demonic possession.

Most definitely the work of Satan.
posted by Pudhoho at 3:46 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have my father's eyes.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:10 PM on January 18, 2013


Tim put those back.
posted by The Whelk at 5:15 PM on January 18, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also deep dish is an abomination unto the lord.

The only deep dish around here is sold by a hut themed franchise. I'm not saying it's Satanic. What I am saying is that the food is made for evil ritualistic purposes which threaten to tear the very fabric of space-time, and suck the entirety of what we naively believe to be reality back into the Eternal Void, where the elder priests who once reigned in their mysterious dark purple robes while tenting their bony fingers and cocking their imposing eyebrows will someday return ... MUST return.

I survived on leftover Pizza Hut about 20 years ago when I was young, broke and nearly homeless in the student ghetto. A friend was a delivery driver and dumped pizza on me at the end of his shifts for a couple months. It's like when you're young and broke and end up in a bind where you live on 20 cent ramen for weeks or months (or a semester) - after you get back on your feet you can never, ever stomach it again.

What initially seemed to be a blessing revealed itself as a Faustian bargain. I had come to the crossroads a hungry man, and the Devil gave me a pizza in exchange for my soul. Entire weeks passed where these pizza remnants were my sole source of nutrition, quite a lot of it deep dish-- which, I'm convinced, if not a sinister ritualistic food, must be a cheap way to dispose of used fryer grease, by saturating the deep dish crust with it. If you squeezed a slice and drained it you'd end up with a flavorless triangular sponge and about a cup of concentrated evil. The grease started to permeate my entire body. I could smell it constantly, even when I wasn't eating. I will forever remember that smell, evocative of formless, nameless Hatred, older than the flaming rivers of rancid fryer grease that carry the lost souls of the damned to their Eternal Destination.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:52 PM on January 18, 2013 [3 favorites]


deep dish-- which, I'm convinced, if not a sinister ritualistic food, must be a cheap way to dispose of used fryer grease...

A couple of squirts of Whirl in the bottom of the pie pan, sprinkle with cornmeal and you're ready to build your pie. The shortening "fried" the bottom crust which allowed it to retain its shape when the pizza was served.

Those 'pizzas' didn't travel so well once they were cold.
posted by Pudhoho at 6:11 PM on January 18, 2013


Taco Bell is unlike Mexican. Really significantly unlike it, for all Taco Bell clearly promotes itself as Mexican.

A great Mission-style burrito is also pretty substantially unlike Mexican food.

To the extent that it's like anything, Taco Bell is like Tex Mex, but really even those two are still different enough to be clearly different things.

Mexico is a large country with different regions and a variety of different regional cuisines: it's fair to say that even Mexican food is unlike Mexican Food.

The one thing all these categories of food have in common is that they are delicious.
posted by moss at 6:14 PM on January 18, 2013


Also, how can anyone hate deep dish? How can that much melted cheese be a mistake?
posted by moss at 6:15 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


A couple of squirts of Whirl in the bottom of the pie pan, sprinkle with cornmeal and you're ready to build your pie.

Some of my favorite food in the world is made with lard, so I can't complain about shortening. Except when it's used to fry the crust of a pizza ...

The shortening "fried" the bottom crust which allowed it to retain its shape when the pizza was served.

Yeah, it always seemed like the crust was fried, but that was typically a fleeting thought, because ... nah! Who the fuck fries their pie? Yes, it makes sense, because it retains its shape. It also adds that extra touch, the little bit of flavor that makes you exclaim, "whoa, fucking gross!" The touch we all recognize as the signature of Pizza Hut, restaurant and Church of Satan.

Those 'pizzas' didn't travel so well once they were cold.

No... no, they do not.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:34 PM on January 18, 2013


This probably isn't the place to admit my weakness for Pizza Hut's stuffed crust, is it?
posted by restless_nomad at 6:44 PM on January 18, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mexico is a large country with different regions and a variety of different regional cuisines: it's fair to say that even Mexican food is unlike Mexican Food.

New Mexican food wins out over any type of Mexican, but I'm biased.

The one thing all these categories of food have in common is that they are delicious.

A friend from high school and I took mushrooms one night to celebrate the end of the school year. I did not know he had to work the next morning at his brand new job at Taco Bell. Naturally, he thought he had come down but was still mildly tripping when he got to work. First thing, his boss was showing him around the prep table, and he looked into the vat of steaming taco meat, which he described as undulating and breathing. He immediately told his boss he quit with no explanation, and walked out.

I've worked in enough restaurants to know exactly what he was talking about. I already didn't like Taco Bell, but this provided an image which has stuck in my mind for decades. Any appetite I have for their food evaporates when I remember, which happens each time it comes up.

Taco Bell taco meat, breathing and movin' around in the vat. Which, honestly, was a hallucination and not Taco Bell's fault. And it wasn't even my hallucination. And it happened 25 years ago. We were teenagers and gladly ate any and all kinds of junk food.

Even so.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:56 PM on January 18, 2013 [7 favorites]


This probably isn't the place to admit my weakness for Pizza Hut's stuffed crust, is it?

Admission is the first step in rehabilitation.
posted by Pudhoho at 8:10 PM on January 18, 2013


It's not the addiction one needs rehabilitation from. It's the porcelain sessions the next day. Yes, I know your pain restless_nomad. I know stuffed crust.
posted by carsonb at 9:54 PM on January 18, 2013


Also, I suspect the "beef" filling in Taco Bell "beef" offerings is tripe.
posted by Pudhoho at 11:28 PM on January 18, 2013


New Mexican food

Dammit, I knew I was forgetting one!
posted by moss at 6:18 PM on January 19, 2013


A friend from high school and I took mushrooms one night to celebrate the end of the school year. I did not know he had to work the next morning at his brand new job at Taco Bell. Naturally, he thought he had come down but was still mildly tripping when he got to work. First thing, his boss was showing him around the prep table, and he looked into the vat of steaming taco meat, which he described as undulating and breathing. He immediately told his boss he quit with no explanation, and walked out.

For what it's worth, it's not a whole lot better when you do the same thing except you work in an office environment. I was celebrating the inauguration of roommateship with a good friend of mine in a very similar way on a weekday night, and the next morning began with a meeting concerning how this small web startup I was interning with might go about making money. My ideas were...not especially well-received.
posted by invitapriore at 9:42 PM on January 19, 2013


One time when I took shrooms I suddenly realized the thought of eating shrooms made me nauseous. Not a good time.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:43 AM on January 20, 2013


I suspect the "beef" filling in Taco Bell "beef" offerings is tripe.

They list exact ingredients of everything on the web site.

Inspired by another couple of threads linked to from this post, I had dinner at the Houston Loving Hut cult-veggie-eating-place on Friday. Turns out it was only five minutes from my office. Slow as heck service, but the food was AMAZING.
posted by mrbill at 7:35 PM on January 20, 2013


The first taco I ever ate was a Taco Bell taco. It was like 1985, and I was a relatively new inductee to the world of non-bite-sized finger foods.

In the intervening decades, I've come to appreciate many other kinds of tacos, whether it's the Chipotle iteration, the gourmet approach from the local haute-Mexican places (mmmm Guisados in Boyle Heights...), or 75 cent tacos al pastor from the truck in the parking lot of a supermarket in East LA.

I haven't eaten Taco Bell in at least ten years, and even when I used to go there, I didn't just order a plain regular taco. It's possible that they've totally redesigned their tacos in the 28 years since I first had one.

And, yet, somewhere deep in my reptile brain there is a sense-memory of Taco Bell Tacos In The Eighties. I've actually developed a home-cooked version that comes very close to satisfying the cravings I get occasionally. The tortilla is pan-fried, the beef is a million times better, the tomatos are hand-diced, and the lettuce is Romaine rather than Iceberg. It's about the best taco in the world, to me, as a redneck child of the eighties, and you cannot pry it from my cold, dead, hands because it IS ALREADY IN MY BELLY.
posted by Sara C. at 1:02 PM on January 23, 2013


For what it's worth, it's not a whole lot better when you do the same thing except you work in an office environment.

Yeah, although the difference I think is that I had friends that would go to work at bars and restaurants tripping, mostly people who worked in the kitchen. Hey, it's already a shit job with shit pay, and you're a teenager in high school, and nearly everyone else at work is getting fucked up on something, so why not? As long as you can handle your job and get through the shift ... I could never handle tripping at work, even during my restaurant years, except the occasional come-down at the beginning of a shift, although I'd do nearly anything else back then. Once you work in an office, it's not as likely you'll get fired for this sort of thing if you get caught, but it's far less socially acceptable to show up to work right after you ate some strong blotter.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:55 PM on January 26, 2013


Taco Bell CEO Confirms: Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Tacos Coming Soon
posted by octothorpe at 7:57 AM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


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