The Visible Taco.
I am choosing to break weeks of silence for what I feel is a noble cause: to show you quite possibly the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life.
Last Friday when I was waiting at Taco Bell for my chalupas, I noticed something back in the kitchen on top of the nacho station. I had an idea of what it was but couldn’t really believe what I was seeing. I was going to ask one of the employees about it, but there were people waiting in line behind me and I didn’t want to make a big scene. I figured I’d be able to find a picture of it on the internet, but guess what? Multiple searches on Google Images and Flickr turned up absolutely zilch.
I knew then what I had to do: return to Taco Bell the following Monday with a digital camera. Here is the result:
Do you see that thing on top of the “nacho hutch” (my term)? Right in the center? Here’s a closer look:
Uhh… yeah. You’ve heard of the Visible Man before?
That is a Visible Taco.
So many questions! For starters, what about every other item on the menu, almost all of which are more complicated? What about the Grilled Stuft Burrito? What about Nachos Bellgrande? What about Mexican Pizza?! The Visible Taco is a good place to start, but on its own its completely worthless.
Seriously, though – can somebody please tell me why this exists?
Only In Chicago.
There was a time in the not-so-distant past when Chicago was the meat capital of the world. Those days are over, but there are still a few stragglers around if you know where to look for them.
Yesterday we were hanging out at a bar, minding our own business, when we noticed a guy in the corner wearing a butcher’s outfit with a huge package of sausages tucked under his arm. He went around the bar from table to table, asking if people wanted any meat. It sort of seemed like some kind of weird performance art for a minute, but we soon realized the guy was dead serious and had a refrigerated truck parked outside. Some drunk guy held a bag over his head and started chanting “20 DOLLARS OF MEAT!” Within a half hour we had 20 bucks out on the table, and a few minutes after that it was gone, replaced by – surprise, surprise – a huge bag of meat.
There was also a menu in the bag, which I’d like to share with you. Of the 48 products listed below, 20 contain references to buttholes. Also of note: “Hot And Creamy Sex Candles,” a Monica Lewinsky joke, and something called “GI Joe’s Candyass Salsa Whoopass Wimpy!” Oh – and a “Sausage Emergency Number.” Ya’ll ready for this?
Things That Suck: Square Plates.
Oooh. This restaurant is really fancy. The waiter’s kind of a prick and it’s really dark in here and the prices are just say like “28” or “32” or however many dollars the item costs. This restaurant is so fancy they don’t even bother with change. That makes me feel good about spending so much money to eat here. I can’t wait to dig in! Here comes the food now! Wow – this looks pretty good. It’s some kind of chopped meat patty covered in stuff and served in the middle of a halved roll of some kind. And these things on the side… what are these? Pommes frites? Ooh… French. This all seems vaguely familiar, though. Where have I seen these foods before? I know I must not have ever had any of them before because they’re all being served to me on a square plate. Square plates are the fanciest! Anything served on a square plate is classy and elegant and I, having no class or elegance, have clearly never eaten any of these foods before!
Oh, wait – it’s a burger and fries. Fuck. Square plates suck.
Things That Are So-So: Eggs.
As you may or may not know, this blog was originally (and continues to be) the web presence of a print zine of the same name. In the first issue of said zine, I wrote a scathing blurb under “Things That Suck” that has really come to bite me in the ass in the last few months. Here it is.
I still agree with a lot of the things I said then. It’s still gross that you can buy them fertilized, it’s still gross that they smell kind of like farts, and it still kind of sucks that an entire meal is built almost entirely around them. I can still stand behind those statements in a way, but something strange happened to me over the course of the last year or so.
It all started about a year ago when I realized that McDonalds Egg McMuffins have the remarkable ability to almost instantly cure hangovers. In that context, eggs were like medicine, something to be choked down for my health but almost certainly not enjoyed. Then it started meandering to other breakfast sandwiches, like the ones Dunkin’ Donuts does with the croissants and the ham and all that. Little by little, eggs started creeping their way into my diet. I rationalized it by saying that I could tolerate eggs as long as they were surrounded by other stuff, as long as there was just as much meat, cheese, and bread in each bite as there was egg. But I wasn’t fooling anyone but myself. I was eating eggs.
Jo was (and continues to be) heartbroken. We once stood together in our brave battle against the eggocracy, thought of ourselves as the lone voice of reason in a sea of sulfurous insanity. She was willing to turn the other cheek when it was just an occasional breakfast sandwich here and there. Hell, she’d even eat one herself every now and then. But when it turned into skillets at a diner, we both knew I was taking it too far. “No – look! It’s just scrambled eggs on top of all this other good stuff! It’s no worse than a breakfast sandwich,” I’d explain. She knew it was bullshit and she wanted no part of it.
One time we were at a fancy hipster brunch joint and I tried to order something called “Country Benedict” without any eggs. I was so naive. Everyone laughed. I guess it was kind of like hanging out at a junkie’s house and asking for a can of heroin.
We both knew what came next, and sure enough, not more than a month later, there I was, ordering omelets like it was no big deal.
It was humiliating.
What happened? I’ll tell you what happened – I got worn out, that’s what happened. I got sick of bread breakfasts, that’s what happened. A man can only tolerate so many waffles, so many pancakes and slices of french toast before he loses his mind. Yeah, you can toss a side of breakfast meat on the side, but you can wrap a ribbon around a turd, too. Does that make it a present?
When you’re sick of bread breakfast there aren’t too many other places you can turn. When it comes to breakfast, eggs are the name of the game. You win, breakfast. You broke me. Uncle.
Now what’s up with these frittata things I keep hearing about?
P.S. The other morning I was scrambling some eggs and one of them had a double-yolk. Why didn’t any of you egg-eating folks warn me about those? They’re terrifying.
Things That Suck: Any Slice Of Pizza That Is Made “Fresh” Within Five Minutes.
It’s easy to get sick of your lunch options, particularly when you work in the suburbs and have to drive to get anywhere. I generally eat at the same handful of places week after week, none of which sell pizza. I haven’t managed to find a decent slice of cheap pizza near my work. They’re a breeze to find in the city, but apparently there’s something about suburban sprawl that is inconducive to selling pizza in any unit smaller than “by the pie.” “By the slice” is out there, sure, but they’re hard to find and mostly disappointing. This is my plight. Pity me.
So when I drove past some place called Goode & Fresh Pizza Bakery with a sign in the window that said “slices” or “by the slice” or “we have slices!” or something like that, I was pretty excited. “Goode” and fresh? That’s my kind of slice! I walked in and was happy to find an old lady in there, picking up an order. A good sign – she’s probably lived here a long time, I thought to myself. This woman has seen a lot of pizzas in her time. She knows a good pie when she sees one. This is good. No, wait – this is “Goode.” And fresh. Things were looking up.
The man behind the counter looked enthusiastic when he asked me “What’ll it be?” I asked him what kind of slices they had – he looked at me like I was an idiot. “We make it all fresh here,” he said. “Any kind of slice you want.” Okay, wait a minute. You’re telling me you guys cook individual pizza slices here? That rather than preparing a few pies with standard toppings (generally one plain cheese, one sausage, and one pepperoni) and keeping them under heat lamps, you guys will prepare individual pizza slices with any toppings I want? Why didn’t I know about this place before?! This is fantastic!
“Oh, wow!” I said. “Well… uhh… can I have a slice with… umm… pepperoni and mushrooms?”
“Pepperoni and mushrooms, comin’ right up!” he said. “That’ll be about five minutes.”
Wait a second.
Five minutes? Five minutes to make a slice of pizza? How “goode” or “fresh” can a slice of pizza that takes five minutes to prepare possibly be? And hey… now that I think about it… why is there an “e” on the end of the word “good” in their name?
Five minutes later, Mr. Goode comes out with a triangular pile of half-melted cheese on a Boboli and a huge smile on his face. I pay for it and eat it. Guess what? Goode & Fresh Pizza Bakery sucks.