My wife tells me that lately she has been waking up in the mornings dreaming of French fries.
Not just any French fries, mind you. Well-done, crispy French fries from the taqueria across the street.
French fries at a taqueria? You read that right.
There is a tiny mom ‘n pop taco shop on the corner, the kind of hole in the wall where you can barely take two steps from the front door to the ordering counter. There are three tiny round tables, tall ones with high chairs to match. They somehow managed to wedge in a soda fountain. And that’s it.
Oh, yeah, they stick a wooden picnic table out front when the weather is nice.
When we lived in southern California and would drive up here to visit my mother-in-law, the place was either a coffee shop or an empty building. I’m told that, at one time, it was a print shop. I can’t imagine how they managed that one, as you could probably fit this tiny eatery into a typical Kinko’s twenty times over.
The taqueria has been quite successful, despite the fact that the staff consists of one cook and a counter guy whose runs the register and bags the orders despite having a broken arm immobilized in a cast. Talk about quirky!
I’m not sure what this business’s secret is. They have a large sign in front of the building that lists some of their wares (tacos, tortas, veggie burritos, breakfast burritos, nachos, quesadillas, even hamburgers). Their list of twenty or so items is also printed along with their phone number on half-size flyers available at the counter. Their prices are low; they have a daily special for three or four bucks. And they have a Facebook page.
The place sits on a busy road, less than a half-mile from the freeway. There are a couple of mini-marts, a pizza joint and a Subway just up the street, but no Mexican food unless you go a few miles into town. I guess you could call the place “homey,” which may account for their popularity as a local lunch choice. Not that they’re ever short of customers at dinnertime, either. There’s usually at least one law enforcement cruiser or orange utility crew truck parked out front. If there’s no room inside, you can take your food home or eat in your vehicle. And if you call in advance, your food will be ready when you arrive. The place has enough parking for maybe three cars; after that, customers leave their vehicles at our church and walk across the street. We really do need to erect a “no taqueria parking” sign.
But I know we won’t. We’re not about to do anything that might encourage this place to expand and move elsewhere. Their food may be just standard Mexican fast food, but all the locals, including my own family, love it.
I once asked them for black olives on my taco, and that’s when I learned that they don’t carry them. They also don’t make guacamole! What kind of a Mexican place is this?
I don’t know, but they sure do keep the customers coming back for carne asada, lengua and al pastor.
And my wife dreams about their crispy French fries.