Monday, November 8, 2010

Restaurant Review #2: I Didn’t Know You Could Put Feta Cheese On That

  Editor’s Note: Faithful followers of this blog will know that, back in the day, I posted my first restaurant review, detailing my experience at a certain food establishment in Dallas that did not quite satisfy me. Food was great, service was abysmal, that sort of thing. The followers will also be aware that the owner of said establishment did not care for my review, and posted a comment on the blog, calling me a name that cannot be used in polite company. (Rhymes with “trick”.)

  I had mixed reactions to the this startling comment. On the one hand, my natural need for everybody to love me was mortified. Why this hatred for an honest review? On the flip side, the “Norma Rae” in me was thrilled. Fight the power! Don’t put up with crap, especially when the owner proved himself to be worthy of the slur he directed at me. In the end, I decided that maybe restaurant reviews were not my forte, because I wasn’t aiming to win free future meals like so many dining reviewers expect, fawning over ho-hum offerings to score special treatment. I didn’t know the game.

  But time passes, reflections are made, and I finally realized that, what the hell, if I can’t speak my mind, I’m in the wrong country. So once more into the bleach (shout out to Blondie fans), and let the chips fall…

  So my best friend Apiphany had been babbling about this certain taco joint for quite some time. As is our usual protocol, I only half-listened to her musings. Blah blah best queso ever, blah blah coldest beer on the planet, blah blah these tacos will make you wanna slap your Momma twice. I fully expected her to move on to another obsession within days.

  She did not.

  Her rhapsodizing continued, to the point where she began following the owner of this small but growing chain of restaurants in Twitter. She was re-tweeting like a woman possessed. Fine, I get it, you really enjoy this place. Now, could you let it go? We have more important things coming up, like the mid-term elections and such. That has got to be more critical that your suspect infatuation with things folded in a tortilla, soft or fried.

  Then, as happenstance would have it, one of our mutual friends joined the cause, trying to convince me and my partner that we hadn’t lived until we consumed the divine delicacies of a place known as “Fuzzy’s Tacos”.

  Fine. There are times when you just have to give in or you will never hear the end of it. So we set a date, a Tuesday night when it wouldn’t be too terribly crowded and I could focus on the food instead of the fact that large crowds of people make me insane and temperamental. Actually, leave off “large crowds of” and you’re much closer to the truth.

  So the fateful day arrives, and things don’t look good. Let me set the mood for you: As many of you know, I cannot stand to drive from Dallas to Lewisville in rush-hour traffic. This is an activity that will crush your soul, to the point where all you want to do is pull off to the side of the road, fling yourself into the ditch, and then assume the fetal position until the traffic dies down, which is somewhere around 3am.

  And this particular journey was no different, sucking the life out of me as I didn’t move for large chunks of time, trapped in place with semi’s in front and back of me so I couldn’t see a damn thing, and some idiot on the left listening to a CD of marbles being thrown into a garbage disposal. Top if off with a wreck that forced folks to detour on some service roads that were never meant to be that popular, and you can imagine my utter dismay with everybody in the world.

  Finally, mind shattered, I rolled into the parking lot of Fuzzy’s Tacos.

  And found that everyone else was already there and, naturally, they had already started drinking. Which meant that they couldn’t care less about late-arrivals who were unfamiliar with the place and didn’t know the rules. The gang had taken up residence at one of the picnic tables on the patio, so I marched up to them.

  “I need a beer.”

  They all looked at me in surprise. I don’t know why. This is usually the first thing that I say anywhere I go, even church. Perhaps they didn’t hear me correctly. “I need a beer. Where’s the person that I tell that to?”

  Apiphany finally spoke up. “Ohhh. They don’t have waiters. You have to go inside and order at the counter.”

  I instantly hated this place with an intense passion. I want people to bring me things, I don’t want to go get them. I glanced at Terry, and noticed that he did not have a beverage before him, meaning he had not yet done the “going inside” business, or perhaps had tried doing that and failed in some way, meaning it might be even more troublesome than my already dispirited soul could imagine. “Have you been inside? Do you want to go with?”

  Terry, quickly gauging my state of mind and pondering the various ways in which my dissatisfaction with unsavory situations may or may not play out, agreed. “Let’s go.”

  “Get the queso!” screeched Apiphany. “You’ll DIE!”

  I’ve already done that, thank you very much. About 50 times on that freaking highway that brought me to this stupid town. We opened the door and sauntered inside.

  Now, I haven’t been to the other Fuzzy’s Tacos locations, but I’m assuming that the layout is generally the same. You have your standard tables and booths scattered about, which is nice if you just want to sit and do nothing. If you want to eat, you have to get in line at the counter. There’s a huge sign indicating all of the possible edibles, so you have to stand there looking skyward, deciphering, while people behind you in line tap their feet because they’ve been here before and know the drill. I don’t like it when people are self-centered and assume that everyone should know what they already know, and they get impatient. It makes me get a little ornery.

  So I stepped up to the lady at the counter. “We’re new. Can you tell me everything there is to know about Fuzzy’s Tacos?” The groans from behind me pleased me immensely.

  Turns out, it’s not all that bad. You figure out which of the suggested combo ingredients sound titillating, designate whether you want these ingredients wrapped in a hard or soft shell, select a beverage, and hand over some money. When your order is ready, a pleasant voice will announce this from the heavens, and you can then sally forth to the pickup window to retrieve your treasures. We picked out a few things, making sure queso was in the mix, requested a couple draft beers, scanned plastic, and received a number.

  (Side Note: They fix the drinks for you right there at the counter, and I have to say that the mugs they use for the draft beer are huge and chilled to Arctic proportions. Things were already looking up.)

  Feeling as if we had just accomplished great things, we headed back out to the patio, where we were greeted by an incredulous Apiphany. “You didn’t get the queso?” The expression on her face fully indicated that something horrifying had just happened near a grassy knoll.

  We were perplexed at her outrage. “Yes, we ordered queso.”

  “Where is it?”

  She was starting to get on my nerves. “I’m assuming it’s going to be with our food when they call our number.”

  She rolled her eyes as if she had just lifted up a rock and discovered mentally-deficient slugs. “It’s already at the pickup window. They put it there when you order. It’s the tacos that you get later.”

  And how were we supposed to know this tidbit of information? I glanced at the rest of the gang for moral support. They were all staring back blankly, appalled at our obvious lack of intelligence. Perhaps I should just get a t-shirt made: We’ve never been here. Ever. We are going to have questions. And on the back: You suck. Go away.

  Lolo finally piped up: “Well, I was a little confused my first time, too.” Well, hallelujah, at least somebody was going to be nice. I glared at Apiphany to make my silent point. She just turned away from me, tearing into her next beer and babbling about yet another time that she wore something pretty.

  We slipped back inside to rectify the Fumbling of the Queso Play.

  A bit later, Terry and I were both tonguing the bottom of the queso bowl, clawing at each other to get the last drop. It’s quite good. I’m sure that long-term relationships have been destroyed when one of the partners heartlessly ate more than their fair share.

  A few minutes after that, Mary Magdalene announced from the sky that our number was ready. We soon had the infamous tacos in our hands, ready for perusal. And this is when we discovered that they sprinkle a bit of feta cheese on top of the tacos. Hmmm. This could be a make-or-break ingredient.

  They were delicious. Both of mine were gone in the time it took Apiphany to reapply her lip gloss. Naturally, she started gloating about our enjoyment of the fare, so I had to downplay my pleasure a little. She already thinks highly enough of herself as it is, constantly peering around corners, searching for the royal retinue which must have misplaced her cradle at an inopportune time, ready to reclaim her throne.

  And thusly, I lost my virginity at Fuzzy’s Tacos.

  Good food, great queso, frost-bitten beer. And it’s cheap, always a good thing. There’s the little quibble about having to fetch your own things, but after a while you get used to it. And if you’re a drama queen like Apiphany, having to run back inside every so often just means that many more grand entrances. (Wave stoically, clutch pearls. Rinse and repeat.)

Click Here for more Fuzzy info, if intrigued.

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