The Great Taco Debate 2011

chips

We’re rocking the suburbs here at Tooth & Nail. Literally. Our office is at the top of a suburban hill in Seattle, which means when it comes to lunch options within walking distance…well, options are limited. But we bring forward for your consideration a little taco shop that shall remain nameless.

Now having spent some some of my prime Mexi-eating years [also known as college] in Southern California, I’d like to think that I know a little bit about what makes good Mexican food. To be fair, I also love Taco Bell more than the average person, but when it comes to small mom-and-pop-type joints, I can definitely pick up what they’re puttin’ down, if you know what I mean.

Except Nameless Taco Shop.

For as long as I’ve worked at Tooth & Nail, there has been a heated debate over whether or not Nameless Taco Shop falls under the “good” or “not good” category. Lines have been drawn, arguments have taken place, fistfuls of guacamole have been thrown. Okay, maybe not that last bit, but for the most part, everyone in the office has an opinion.

So I suppose this begs the question: what do you think defines a quality Mexican establishment?

After some discussion between my anti-Nameless Taco Shop teammates and I, we’ve come to an agreement that the sign of a good restaurant is whether or not they make their own tortilla chips and salsa. That’s not so much to ask, right? You have to admit that there’s not much better than being served a nice basket of crispy fried tortilla chips with some chunky salsa – or maybe even an entire assortment of salsas! Not much indeed.

However, Nameless Taco Shop? They offer those generic yellow tortilla rounds that you could definitely buy at any grocery store in America. I’m also willing to bet that the salsa came from the same market as the chips.

Furthermore, upon arrival to the office in the morning a few days a week, there is a distinct spiced ground beef smell in the air. I’m not saying that I necessarily mind this smell – in fact, it smells quite nice and makes me wish I had more to eat for breakfast than a bowl of oatmeal. But curiously, this aroma is not present every day of the week, which leads me to believe that they don’t necessarily use fresh ingredients in your meal on any given day.

Interesting!

Not to mention, Nameless Taco Shop is cash-only, which is a serious “first world problem” for me.

Of course I understand the appeal of the place. It’s about 200 feet from door to door, the prices are low and if you don’t have the time or want to put in the effort to get in your car and drive somewhere, it’s extremely convenient [provided you have cash on hand]. Personally, I’d rather hop in the car and make a run for the border.

I guess the point of all this is to ask what you, our readers, think the tenets of a regular lunch-worthy taco shop are, and if you happen to live in Seattle or have ever visited, to suggest somewhere I should send the opposing team for comparison. Gracias!

When The Rain’s Away, The Co-Workers Will Play

Well maybe not play, exactly. But barbecue. Sunshine can occasionally be hard to come by in these here parts, so when it does…a lunchtime grill session seems necessary. Today’s grillmaster Scott and I took the opportunity to run to the local Trader Joe’s for some taco supplies.

We’re fortunate enough to have a grill behind our office, along with some outdoor patio furniture. So a bunch of us sat down for a good ol’ family lunch in the sunshine – probably getting a sufficient sunburn while we were at it since it’s not very often we get a chance to tan.

Not a bad way to spend your lunch hour on a Friday if you ask me!