The late great William Shakespeare once said, “Shall I compare thee to a tasty taco?”
He would later go on to word it a little different, but I think the first draft will always be more heartfelt. Tacos are the purest form of perfection, little edible works of art. How you dress your taco says a lot about the type of person you are, too. Dripping with salsa, cilantro, onions, and whatever else is around, or maybe you just like plain tacos. Messy vs. orderly. Do you order only one type of meat, or do you throw caution to the wind and try one everything? Reserved vs. adventurous! Will you eat tacos anywhere or do you have one specific place that you are loyal to? There are too many questions and not enough time.
Those of you that know me, know that I just love tacos. For those of you that don’t know me, buckle up, because you’re going to learn way more than you probably ever need to know about this long standing, beautiful, love affair.
First, we need to go back to when it all began. It was the summer of ‘68. It was hot, but not as hot as it is these days. I was 14 years old, spunky as all get-out, and head over heels for the boy next door-
You know what? No. We’re not doing that, too much work to make up some weird fake background story.
I need to be real with you!
We are all familiar with Taco Tuesday, yes?
Taqueria Guerrero (Indio) is my favorite place to frequent, mostly because they have Taco Tuesday as well as Taco Thursday! Tacos are $1 each and they have every type of meat you could ever want. Asada, al pastor, carnitas, cabeza, barbacoa, buche, chicharrón, pollo, chorizo, and birria. I’m not entirely sure what a couple of those options are, but I can tell you that the (write this down) barbacoa ones are my favorite.
Now, at work, tacos became a sort of…currency, if you will. If someone thought they did me wrong, tacos would show up out of nowhere. If someone needed a favor? Tacos. People would bring them by just because they “had too many” (not possible), and that was how one friend got bumped up to grade A best friend status. I even met a coworker in the copy room once, to do a taco deal. Text messages were exchanged, a meeting place arranged, tacos given and received, it went smooth.
How I see it, there are two types of people in the world, those who observe this glorious should-be-nationally-observed-holiday every week, and those that don’t. The latter we shall keep out of this, there is neither time nor rhetoric strong enough to express my disappointment in that particular group of humans.
Despite my better judgment, I am going to teach you how to acquire tacos in the safest and most efficient way possible. This applies to Guerrero’s, on Tuesday and Thursday. By not following this very detailed plan, you run the risk of waiting in line upwards of 30 minutes. The line is usually to the door, but there’s a way to avoid this. A better way! This is probably the same way everyone already knows about, NEVER THE LESS, let’s begin, shall we?
Things you will need to pull off a successful Taqueria Guerrero’s Taco Tuesday and/or Thursday:
- Reliable transportation
- A trusty friend
- A written or typed list of all the tacos you have an immediate need for, plan to eat later, want to hoard, share, etc.
- Commitment to the craft.
- Phone (with at least 80% battery, you’re gonna need it)
- More dollars (they’re a buck, you’re really going to go through all of this and only order 3 tacos? Come on!)
- Optional: Bonus pal to securely, and lovingly hold tacos in the car. A seat belt substitution can be made if a bonus pal is unattainable.
Step 1: GETTING THE CALL THROUGH
Enlist your trusty friend to call Guerrero’s. This is where line items 4 through 6 will come in handy. If you get through to a person on the first try, celebrate, you have just witnessed a miracle. Otherwise, patience and commitment, assemble! No matter how annoying that busy signal is, you must persist. It’s worth it, I promise! Keep calling until you get through, swap with a friend if you get too tired. Repeatedly pressing the redial button is a task not meant for the weak. Same goes for the phone. You don’t want the phone to die midway through your ordering. Starting the process over again will a) crush your soul and b) leave you defeated, which will inevitably lead you to KFC or some crappy place with no tacos. Make good choices.
NOTE: Wait time will vary depending on the time of day. Sometimes it’s 20 minutes, sometimes they say 35 minutes. Whatever time they give you, respect it. Taco making is an art, you can’t rush that. If you have a scheduled lunch time, try and plan it out, don’t call right when you go on your break. That’s a major rookie mistake, and you’re better than that.
ALTERNATIVE STEP 1
You could be the one to call in the order. This is not a task for the uninitiated, so think it through.
STEP 2: PLACING THE ORDER
If you are ordering for multiple people, (which of course you are, because you’re a good friend, right?) have everything WRITTEN DOWN! I cannot emphasize that enough. Once they answer, you’re going to panic a little. Hearing a human voice after the busy signal will take you by surprise. That’s normal. Speak slowly (but not too slowly because they’re very busy) and clearly, to maximize chances of correct order taking. Trust me, they’ve messed up my order before, and it was not excellent. I ordered 4 barbacoa and 2 carne asada tacos, only to find out that they reversed the order! My tastebuds were prepped for more barbacoa than carne asada that day. I let them down, and things have been awkward ever since.
STEP 3: ACQUIRING THE GOODS
Drive, walk, run. I don’t care, just get there and pick up your damn food.
When you walk in, there will most likely be an ungodly line. You’ll think, “Have I magically teleported to the Cars ride line at Disneyland?” and the answer is no, it’s literally a line just for tacos.
Since you were a smart cookie with a plan, you don’t need to wait in that line! Wave to all the miserable people (do not actually do that) as you walk to the front. The left side register is for pick up orders. Give them the name for the order, pay, and then wait while they get your items in order.
STEP 4: SALSA
My least favorite part. Since you were a smart ass cookie with the well executed plan, you don’t have any downtime to wait for your food, so you need to get your salsa and accoutrements after you get your tacos. This is where things get tricky. The counter space on the salsa bar is nonexistent, but getting salsa really requires two hands. Keep your tacos close and nearby, because once they’re ready, they all look the same in their homecoming wrapping paper. You wouldn’t want to grab someone else’s order on accident. True tragedy! If you have a drink with you, godspeed.
Of course, you could be smart and get salsa before you even get to the pick up counter. My only reservation with that scenario is then the person at the counter knows how much salsa and crap you got, and they might judge you. Or charge you for taking too much! I’ve never thought that to be their business, that’s why I’ve always gotten my taco dressings after the transaction has been done. I stuff everything in the bag and leave as soon as I can! What are they gonna do? Run after me and take back all the spicy carrots I got?
STEP 5: CELEBRATE
You did it! Try not to look to excited as you walk out with your bag of tacos and excessive amount of salsa. Wave at the folks still in line (please don’t) and walk out the champion that you are!
Obeying all traffic laws, drive safely back, take your partner-in-crime their tacos, high five each other, hug, cry, whatever, and then enjoy. You deserve it! Your perseverance and hard work paid off! This is the kind of stuff that can go straight on a resume!
STEP 6: CELEBRATE AGAIN
Why? Because on Thursday you get the opportunity to do it all over again!