(In case you don’t know by now, I’m going to ramble on in story form about something only tangentially related to the actual burrito review. If you don’t feel like getting to know me better, scroll down a ways to just below the “Señor Taco” picture. I won’t be that offended.)
When I was 17 I moved from the comfortable suburbs of Connecticut, which comes from the Pequot word for “Land of the WASPs,” to Sugar Land, Texas, whose city motto was “Just like that movie Pleasantville… except fatter and with less personality.” At the time I had dreams of being recruited to play lacrosse at some small liberal arts college in the middle of nowhere New England to study a worthless major like history, poli-sci, international relations, or some combination of the three.
Unfortunately, my dream was shattered, not by the realization that I am a terrible athlete (average sized white dude with a slow first step, no ups, and a mouth that won’t quit), but by the first time someone in Texas said to me, “Lacrosse? Is that the sport with the spoons?” My hopes were dashed, my best friends (including the first girl that ever let me kiss her in a scenario that didn’t involve a spinning bottle) were 2000 miles away, and my new neighborhood was a repeating pattern of generic houses alternating with strip malls of chain retailers and restaurants. At this point, I did not know that my future held a city school, playing a stupid made up sport like Ultimate, and… a couple of worthless liberal arts degrees. (In the words of KG, “ANYTHING IS POSSSSIBBBLLEEE!!!”)
After driving the ~32 hours straight from CT to TX with my father immediately following my midterms junior year, I was exhausted, dejected, and cranky. My dad and I went to my new high school to register me for classes. The school, apparently designed by the same guy who designed Shawshank, had no outward facing windows and was bigger than many of the small liberal arts colleges I had thought I would be attending. By now it’s mid-morning and the guidance counselor says, “Would you like to start today?”, to which I reply, “Maybe it would be best to start fresh tomorrow.” Then my dad chimes in, “You should start today.” Great, glad I could be a part of this discussion.
I made my way through the torrent of Texan students, wading around them lost, confused, and probably looking like Hellen Keller participating in a spelunking competition, to find a mostly empty classroom. I sat down in a desk near the entrance. Slowly, other students began to trickle in, hanging out and chatting amongst themselves. “Hey, what’s your AIM screen name?” “Have you seen that new video on the Music Television channel?” “I love that new song by Crazy Town.” And so on.
Eventually, a flustered middle-aged woman comes running in, throws her stuff on her desk and gets right into it, jabbering on about some US presidents in the mid-19th century. I timidly and politely interrupt her, “Excuse me… I think I’m in your class…” She looked at my schedule, and says, “Ok, grab a seat back there,” and pointed to the back of the class. (racist much?!) By now, the class is silent and staring at me, understandable since I interrupted the class and am standing there… a strange man in a strange land. As I started to make my way to my seat, a girl a few rows back pipes up and says, “Oh you’re new? Where did you move from?” to which I respond, “Connecticut.” I figure that’s a fair question and our small talk is now done, but boy was I wrong…so so wrong.
Without missing a beat, this young lady then queried, “What religion are you?” A million things raced through my head, “What the hell kind of a question is that? Where the hell am I? This is a public school right? Should I lie? Do I make a bad joke here about religion and see how it lands? Hmm, ok let’s lie.” To which I then replied, “Uhh…Catholic,” and took my seat. I guess I hadn’t shaken the real foundation of Catholicism yet: guilt. I was shaken and the rest of the day was a blur of awkward small talk and Texas twangs.
And who was that girl that made me uncomfortable all those years ago? …Albert Einstein. Wait, no, that’s not right. It was my future dear friend Attorney Angela… Lawyer at Law. Despite our awkward initial introduction and my new found bitterness to the world, Angela and I became friends. After college, grad school, etc. we both found ourselves in DC and reconnected. Most of the time she’s jet-setting around to fancy destinations like Pittsburgh to lawyer things, but on this particular day, she was in town at her office in Farragut. We met for lunch in the food truck square, and under the suggestion of Pino de Gallo, she went right for Far East Taco Grille. Although I’ve made it known I’m a fan, I had to try something new. And there it was, an inauspicious white truck with a picture of a sombrero and a real sombrero hanging on it. ¡Si señor!
A simple menu for a simple truck. Taco, quesadilla, burrito, and sopa del día options. Steak, chicken, and veggie were all the same price ($7.99) so I figured I’d go hearty and grab the carne. Each burrito comes with “Lettuce, Pica de Gallo, Cheese, sour Cream, Rice, Bean & sauce.” I ordered my steak burrito with everything on it, but inquired as to what the “sauce” was, to which I received an unintelligible response and felt too awkward to ask him to repeat it in a heavy accent a third time.
After the adorable hard working people inside the truck gave me my burrito, Angela and I grabbed a bench where I unwrapped my meal while longingly stared at her awesome Far East tacos. I began to dig into señor’s burrito (phrasing!) and got four or five bites of bland and possibly under cooked rice before even getting a hint of meat. It tasted like al dente Kraft macaroni had a one night stand with the least interesting white person you know in the back of a taco truck and gave us this bastard love child. Occasionally I would get a bite of the sour cream, which had a hearty texture (in a good way!) and may have been the highlight of the burrito. When the sour cream is the highlight of the burrito, you know you’re in trouble; like a movie that spent too much money on the wrong things.
“That movie was poorly acted, made no sense, and was generally awful but at least it had a great soundtrack!” (I’m looking at you 1998 Godzilla movie with Matthew Broderick; but it did give us a Puff Daddy-Jimmy Page collaboration so it might have broken even.)
As I slogged through this burrito, there was nary a hint of cheese or pico. Every few bites I would find a scrap of steak, which made me feel like the poor I currently am. (The Mexican version of Oliver Twist maybe? “¿Puedo tener un poco más, por favor?”) Our friend from another post, Pamnado, turned me onto the phrase “The Devil’s Inch” to describe the final bit of a beer that is warm and backwashy; the devil’s inch could certainly apply to burritos as well – that weird mix of drippings, tortilla, and whatever other scraps have made their way to the bottom. Somehow in this burrito, the devil’s inch contained some of the actual ingredients I ordered, namely the meat and the pico.
I have no idea what Señor Taco’s tacos are actually like, but stay the hell away from their burritos. Apparently, I’m not the only to have this experience with them as Hustle Russell had nearly the same thing happen once near this work. Just hope Far East Taco truck is parked nearby. 1.5 Sombreros.