What food represents you?

Whenever I’m in my hometown, I insist on stopping for at least one meal at a particular Mexican-American restaurant. The place is family-owned and operated, the food is always fresh, the restaurant is clean, the service is good, and the recipes haven’t changed much in 29 years.

The restaurant isn’t fancy — you tell the person at the counter what you want, you pay for your order, and a few minutes later a woman next to the beverage dispenser calls your number when your food is ready. This isn’t a place you take someone you’re trying to impress. It’s the equivalent of your corner bar or a favorite book. It’s a known quantity that makes you feel at home.

I have my standard order, as most people do at their hometown haunts. I get two Light Tacos (Tacos Ligero) without lettuce, but add black olives, and a medium root beer. The “Light” in Light Tacos is a bit misleading, as it means the flour shell is deep fried and flaky, not that it is light on calories.

To be honest, the Light Tacos are as much nostalgia as they are beef, cheese, sour cream, and hot sauce. I remember eating these tacos every day for lunch during the second semester of my senior year of high school, while crowded into a booth with my best friends. I remember eating them before football games on Friday nights and on Sunday afternoons with my family. On a recent visit to my hometown, my son had his first bites of Mexican food here.

If I were to identify one food as the food to best represent who I am, it would be the Light Taco from Tortilla Jack’s. It’s the food I am at heart.

What food best represents you? Share your stories in the comments.

10 comments posted

  1. Posted by Marge - 02/15/2011

    We have these drinks in Utah, not sure they really have them any where else (or the same any where else). It’s called a Lime Rickey at a place called Artic Circle – http://www.acburger.com/ – it’s something really simple like Sprite/7up and some sort of syrup that is purpleish in color and sweet in taste and then they squeeze limes in it (I don’t drink alcholoic beverages so this is my fancy mixed drink). Anyway – when we were away from Utah for a time and would come back to visit – this was a MUST have!! (I think they make something similar at Sonic but it’s just not the same).

  2. Posted by Meg - 02/15/2011

    Spicy veggie stir-fry :D

    A little bit of this, a little bit of that, full of contrasts and lots of color, spicy, and vegan.

  3. Posted by Matt Fetissoff - 02/15/2011

    For me, it’s gotta be Neopolitan style margherita pizza. It looks so simple, but the flavors are complex and not easily reproduced without knowing the exact ingredients and methods used to produce it… my taste buds have never come closer to nirvana.

  4. Posted by Rae - 02/15/2011

    For me, it’s a falafel sandwich from any hole-in-the-wall establishment in Ottawa, falafel capital of Canada. It is the perfect food–sweet, spicy, savoury, salty, nutritious in parts, bad in parts, crunchy, soft, chewy, creamy…

  5. Posted by Nikki - 02/15/2011

    A Publix deli sub. Publix is a grocery store in Florida (Where my husband and I grew up) and everytime we’re in town, we end up getting a Publix sub almost every day for lunch. I get the Ultimate on White. Soooooooo delicious!

  6. Posted by Alice - 02/16/2011

    I have so many places that seem to be “me.”

    Back when I was working in El Segundo, there was this place across the street from Northrup Grumman called Hectors (now apparently called Frijoles) that had the most amazing Mexican food I’d ever had. I think I also had my first horchata there. I used to go every week or so for their huge carne asada wet burritos smothered in sauce.

    Another place of note is Golden Dragon’s dimsum in LA’s Chinatown, where my dad would always take me for lunch whenever I came home. They have items on the menu that are not commonly seen at other dimsum places (LA included). My dad isn’t normally inclined to order special things, and our eating here is sort of a nod to the fact that I don’t eat much Chinese food when I’m away from LA, so this place always feels like a “welcome home.”

  7. Posted by Amanda - 02/16/2011

    Turtle pizza from Ledo’s in Maryland. Started with my grandfather who studied at the Univ. of Maryland and brought home pizza on special occasions to my grandmother, dad and aunts. When my family lived there, on many Fridays my mother will tell my father before he left work to stop at the Ledo’s and pick up the pizza she ordered. As children we didn’t understand that the terpin was a U of MD mascot, so we always called Turtle pizza. Now my father and I’s favorite place is Arepa City, the best and only Venezuelan restaurant in town.

  8. Posted by Gina - 02/16/2011

    Disco Fries (aka cheese fries with brown gravy) from the diner. As a Jersey girl, the diner was the high school hangout, and that was the Friday night staple. Along with a big bowl of pickles!

  9. Posted by Erin S. - 02/16/2011

    I’m a Peppi. Pepperoni & melted cheese on a huge homemade biscuit from Tudor’s Biscuit World. I can always spot an out-of-towner by how they refer to the little chain of restaurants – call it Biscuit World and I know you aren’t from around these parts =)

  10. Posted by Berta - 02/22/2011

    This is easy, I’m a Tumbler’s ham and pineapple pizza.

    When I was little I would wait for my pizza delivery guy dad to come home from work, even though there was no way a 4 year old should be up at 3 in the morning. He would always bring home a ham and pineapple pizza that we would share.

    Then when he semi-retired from truck driving he went back to work at Tumbler’s and he still brings home a ham and pineapple pizza every night. I am sometimes there to share it.

Subscribe to this entry's comments

Comments are closed for this entry.