Taco Quality & Essence
Can a taco be enlightened?
As of late, I’ve been pondering what qualifies as a quality taco. Other than the fact that we are constantly analyzing our taco selections and ingredient quality, Jeff and I also want to make sure we’re following the true “enlightened” taco path. And, that we’re not fooling ourselves with cute ingredient combinations that don’t please our customers and are ultimately only satisfying our vanities.
What precipitated this line of thought is that I’ve started noticing division amongst self-proclaimed “taco connoisseurs”.
Just to clarify, I get it and appreciate all of them. I really do.
But I have found that they are primarily divided among people who grew up eating tacos that consisted of tortillas topped with a single meat/chicken/pork protein and maybe some cheese and onions or cilantro, and people who have followed taco trends led by the likes of Torchy’s out of Austin or Velvet Taco out of Dallas—restaurants that elevated taco ingredients to include flavors from all over the world, mainly street food.
Another divide includes people who followed the likes of Chipotle and Qudoba, who fill 12-inch large tortillas with beans, rice, proteins and all kinds of stuff to produce huge burritos that can, amazingly, be eaten in one sitting.
Moreover, there’s the question (or debate) over whether corn or flour tortillas are best.
But wait…what about pita bread or whole-wheat tortillas?
And don’t forget about breakfast tacos…which many people refer to as breakfast burritos!
By no means do I describe myself as a taco connoisseur. I’m not sure how anyone can be a taco connoisseur any more than being a hamburger, sandwich or barbeque (wait, should that be B-B-Q!?) connoisseur.
I think that the reason tacos are becoming so popular is because of the layers of taste, like wine or craft beer.
I’m not going to take you down my taco-centered version of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, but to me, quality tacos start with the following non-negotiable’s:
Good ingredients. This means following consistent recipes (for prepped product, i.e. meats and garnishments) to the T. Good tortillas that are heated just prior to being filled as a taco. Ingredients that cater to customer demand, not to what sounds cute or looks good on paper.
Good people cooking. The people cooking (and serving) must really care about the finished product.
Good team spirit from the top. Did I say “spirit”? Yep, I did…and I think spirit is the most important quality of a taco! That job’s on me and Jeff.
So, in conclusion...
“Taco Essence” is bestowed by the people who make them and the ingredients they put into tortillas.
I want to continue to foster the spirit of making tacos with the people who work at Taco Buddha. We are The Taco, from the front of house that represents our tacos, to the people in the kitchen that put love into the ingredients that get stuffed into them.
I will always emulate this and will encourage Taco Buddha employees to appreciate all tacos from all places: Fuzzy’s, Fort Taco, Taco Circus and Mission Taco should — and do — get the love and respect they deserve for the hard work they put into their tacos.
Surely, this spirit of togetherness and camaraderie will create a vortex for our wonderful customers to always come and enjoy Taco Buddha Tacos!
Come visit us soon.
Written by Kurt Eller, owner of Taco Buddha.
Published on October 4th, 2019.