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.