Categories
Humor Restaurants

[WATCH] Mexican Restaurant Masterfully Parodies Thanos’ Snap In Hilarious Ad

It doesn’t take much to sell me on a plate of tacos, but this restaurant in Veracruz, Mexico just took its advertising to the next level.

Trending on Reddit and Twitter, folks are impressed by Takesabroso’s so-bad-it’s-amazing ad, where they incorporated the famous Thanos snap misfire from Avengers: Endgame, and blended it with some fiery tacos and tortas.


They could have stopped with the opening clip, and it would have been great, but they added some nice touches with a twerking Thanos on the corner of the screen, and a Cumbia remix of the Avengers theme song.

There seems to be a few memes on their Facebook page, as this humble Mexican restaurant seems to very much be in touch with meme culture. Another hit seems to be a video of the owner teasing a bottle cap challenge kick, and transitioning into the dancing Brazilian stripper meme.

Whoever their marketing director is needs a raise. Even if that person is likely 14 years old.

Categories
Features Hit-Or-Miss

An Inside Look At The Most Haunted Taco Shop In California

You might not always admit it, but whether you’re going through a haunted maze, jumping out of an airplane or just watching a horror movie, you love being scared. The anticipation gives you an adrenaline rush like no other, and it’s that very thrill we chase, that has folks flocking to this humble taco shop in Arcadia, California.

Multiple accounts have been published where people swear they’ve seen a ghost appear near the bathroom of Taco Lita; and it’s not just a typical orb or a flash of light — people are seeing a human being walk into the restroom and disappear like Clayton Kershaw in the playoffs.

While there is no documented origin story for this taco-loving ghost, he has been identified as a tall, elderly man who wears khaki pants, a yellow sweater, and habitually makes his way inside the restroom located by the back lot.

The stories remind me of my ghost-hunting high school English teacher, who once told the class that some ghosts reenact their deaths on a loop. That means there’s a possibility this man walks into this restroom regularly, although it seems a precise pattern has yet to be recorded by any formal ghost chasers.

If you look hard enough, you’ll find mentions of the ghost in Yelp reviews, but perhaps the best account of the ghost was given by horror writer Tamara Thorne, in the San Gabriel Tribune.

Thorne relayed that she and her husband stopped by Taco Lita with plans to use the restroom. Her husband waited on a man who they had just seen walk into the men’s room, and after patiently waiting for some time, he eventually decided to knock on the door, asking if the guy was okay. After some concerning length of silence, they opened the door to find a completely empty restroom, with the light off, and no sign of a man anywhere.

There have been other, more terrifying accounts, with the older man supposedly having bugs in his mouth, and sometimes appearing in the mirror, but those stories were told anonymously, without many specifics.

Taco Lita just happens to be about 15 minutes from my house, so my horror-loving friend Donna and I embarked on a spooky adventure last Halloween, hoping to see something for ourselves.

As you walk into the little shop, the authentic 60s decor already throws you off a bit. It feels like not a single renovation has been made since its inception in 1967.

On top of that, all the seats are facing the kitchen, almost like a grade school seating arrangement, with everyone positioned towards the teacher. That means no matter where you sit, you’re forced to look at the employees through their see-through glass wall.

I walked up to the counter and put in my order for a couple of tacos, which apparently are more Del Taco-style than street style.

I get my receipt, and my order was No. 13 — because of course it was.

It was 2 p.m., how was I the 13th customer?

Anyway, I thanked my unlucky stars that I wasn’t No. 666, and carried on with my lunch.

The hard shell taco was nothing to write home about, but it seems like the shop is an after school hangout spot, and not exactly a culinary destination anyway.

After eating my tacos and scoping out the place, I decided to walk up to the cashier, Patty, and playfully asked if any of the haunting rumors were true. Apparently Patty has been there longer than anyone, so if anyone knew anything, it’d be her.

As she fiddled around in the back, without making eye contact she said, “Some people have told me they’ve seen things by the bathroom.”

She didn’t seem too willing to go into detail, but hoping to get some more out of her, I followed up by asking, ‘Do you think any of it is real?’

She suddenly stopped counting her receipts, looked up at me, gave me a grin and said, “You’re welcome to check it out for yourself,” in the most creepy, old-lady-working-at-a-haunted-restaurant way.

So I reluctantly went back to check it out for myself.

I opened the door to the tiny restroom, and it definitely looked like a place where one can pass out and carry on into the afterlife to haunt the living.

Every which way I turned, I fully expected to see a portal to a new dimension. I even closed the door and stared at the mirror just to scare the shit out of myself.

Nope.

It was just your typical restroom, a bit too tiny if anything.

My friend Donna took a selfie in there, and we sat in the back parking lot, waiting to see if any yellow-sweatered man rolled up to take a ghastly bathroom break.

Nothing. Maybe we scared him away.

Sure we had already walked in expecting something creepy to go down, but I swear the vibes in that place were spooky. The way all the employees stared at us as we ate, almost felt like they expected my visit, and just wanted me to leave.

Other than that, there was unfortunately no paranormal sighting, though there was one thing I’d like to note after the fact.

As I reviewed the photos I took that day, trying to pick a few out for this article, there was a peculiarly missing photo. A blank photo, actually.

I was wondering to myself, did I accidentally put my thumb on the lens while taking that photo? But I actually remembered that as I was taking photos of  the interior that day, I took a shot of the employee area, directly in front of where we were sitting.

I swear to you that photo came out clear as day when I took it, and I even remember looking at it after I took it.

There was nothing particularly interesting going on back there, just their regular assembly line.

I’m not one who completely buys into the supernatural, and I’m sure the folks working there aren’t paranormal, but it does give me some chills that that specific photo is missing, and is the only blank photo in my entire camera roll.

There are tons of possibilities why that photo is blank, and I’d believe any one of them if you told me, but I’d also like to think there’s something spooky going on at Taco Lita; something that didn’t appreciate a nosy journalist poking around in there, looking for things that don’t concern him.

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

The Challenges Of Running A Successful Taco Stand In Los Angeles


Photo by Isai Rocha

We found ourselves at Tacos El Venado on a random Tuesday because of a 10-pound burrito that’s as tall as a 6-year-old. The So-Cal based burrito was right up Foodbeast’s alley — being insanely huge for no reason, and itching to go viral.

Angel Tamayo, the man behind the behemoth of a burrito, was damn near born to do this taco stand thing. In a city brimming with amazing taco joints, Tacos El Venado, whether in its Van Nuys truck or North Hollywood stand locations, will often have lines circling the block, while surrounding taco trucks watch and hope to get the stragglers who don’t want to wait in line.

El Venado’s success can be attributed to more than just the occasional stunt food, as Tamayo literally worked day and night to make sure his offerings stood out from the rest, while concurrently navigating through L.A.’s infamous street food bans.

“It’s an all-day job,” Tamayo said. “People think you can just wake up at 4 p.m., prep everything and go to work. It takes a lot of time, and you get little sleep.”

The anatomy of a taco stand is a lot more complex than you’d expect. It starts  with picking up the fresh meats from a carniceria, and with Tacos El Venado, that care needs to go into 11 different meat options.

Then you have to buy the produce, which often consists of white onions, red onions, radishes, lettuce, cilantro, limes, tomatoes, avocado, and different types of chiles to make up the salsas. You then need to make sure you have enough corn and flour tortillas for those tacos and burritos. You also need to pick up propane to power up the whole operation.

After you’ve crossed off all of those from your shopping list, there’s pre-prep, where you have to marinate and prep all those meats, begin blending up your salsas, setting up the stand itself, stationing the taco toppings, getting ready for hundreds of people to populate your stand, all while still trying to capture a specific flavor that’s special to Southern California.

Tamayo made a daily routine of getting up at 7 a.m., and putting in the love and care  necessary to put together a taco spot that stands out. He even noted there were countless nights he’d lose sleep and doze off behind the wheel, all to craft the dream of “making it,” and creating something successful from the ground up.

If you’re not familiar with street food in Los Angeles, there’s seemingly someone selling tacos, hot dogs, or elotes on every corner. While you’d assume this is just a norm, there is actually a very real daily risk that the health department will come through and shut down the whole operation.

It hasn’t been a very accepting climate, as opposed to other major cities in the U.S., like New York, where selling food on the sidewalk is not a legal issue.

There has been a major push with street vendors this year, though, as the L.A. City Council approved the plan to write a sidewalk vendor ordinance, putting the city one step closer to full decriminalization.

While it looks like the laws will soon change, at this moment, the fear still sits within the minds of all these Los Angeles vendors.

One of the biggest examples of this was in 2017, when one of L.A.’s most popular taco stands, Avenue 26, was subject to a random sweep by the health department, and had every single piece of cooking equipment stripped away. The LAPD took zero credit for that sweep. Hell, you can even routinely find police enjoying tacos from stands like this in Los Angeles, so the raid rested solely in the hands of the health department.

Tamayo admitted that he has had similar run ins with them in the past, but has recently built allies within the police department to give him a heads up when these kinds of sweeps are going to take place.

“They’ll come by here and there,” Tamayo said. “They’ll take everything, your grill, your meat, we don’t [get it back]. It sucks, bro.”

Tamayo has never let that stop him though, risking it all to make a living, fully knowing a health inspection sweep could cost him his entire stand setup, and feeling the challenge of starting his days at 7 a.m. and ending them at 1 a.m.

“I’m not where I want to be yet, but I’m doing pretty good,” Tamayo said. “It was a lot of hard work. A lot of time and effort. Remembering all those late nights, early mornings. It was a lot of work.”

Categories
Hit-Or-Miss

What It Feels Like In A Real Taco Shop [WATCH]

We’re pretty spoiled here in Southern California as we get to munch on amazing food from so many different cultures. Mexican food, in particular, can be found just as easily as a Starbucks can. You can enter any city and find a nice hole-in-the-wall taqueria, or taco truck. Trying to pick out the best taco spots can be a pretty tough, though. I’ve been to some highly-praised shops that aren’t bad, but aren’t worth the hype.

If you’re the type that settles for Chipotle and Taco Bell for your Mexican food fix, step out of your comfort zone and look for these signs, then you’ll really know your search for bomb tacos is over:

 

Mexican Clientele

mexicans

If it looks like there’s Mexicans in bunches, chances are there’s something good about this taco spot. Through my experiences, growing up in a Mexican home and around Mexican people, I can tell you that we can be very particular about the Mexican food we eat. If you have a Mexican friend, you’ve probably heard this one at some point, “That’s not Mexican food.” So if you see a taqueria heavily populated by Mexicans, that’s because they’ve made the decision that it’s an acceptable, authentic, delicious spot. If there’s anyone you should trust to like good Mexican food, it’s Mexicans.

Mexicoke

mexicoke
picthx review journal

Drinks in glass bottles are an absolute a must. Fountain drinks are OK, but for whatever reason, Coke tastes better out of a glass bottle than it does in your run-of-the-mill paper cup. The Mexicoke as it’s called adds to the experience, along with the bottles of Jarritos, non-alcoholic Sangria Senorial and even Fanta.

Spanish Speaking Workers

asada

If there aren’t older Mexicans manning the ship at a taco shop, that’s a big red flag. Call it a stereotype if you want, but I don’t want some hipster kid who works part-time while he pays for school taking my order. I want the no-nonsense, Mexican who’s going to yell out my order to the other Mexican preparing the food.

Soccer on TV

chicharito
No matter what day it is, or what time it is, there seems to always be soccer on TV when you go to a taco shop. Correction, if it’s Saturday night, they’ll definitely be showing the popular Spanish TV show, Sabado Gigante. About 90 percent of the time, I guess, there’s some soccer being played on the tube.

They Cut the Meat in Front of You

carne

The sound of meat being chopped on a board is borderline therapeutic. If you order your tacos and immediately see the person in the back throw the meat on the grill and start cutting it for you, you’re gold. Your meat wasn’t just sitting there like it does at Chipotle and that little extra love makes a difference with every bite.

Horchata

horchata

When you’re not drinking your Mexicoke, it’s because you’re sipping on that refreshing horchata, agua de jamiaca, agua de pepino, or some kind of house-made agua. I won’t completely knock the horchata served from a machine because it’s easier for some places, but when you see it in a barrel and is home-made, you’ve got a special drink coming your way.

 

Sketchy Neighborhood

caution tape

It seems like some of the best taco shops are in the darkest, scariest looking neighborhoods. We joked around with this in the newsroom, but there is some truth to it. A lot of amazing taco shops will have vagrants walking the streets, or have beat up, cracked pavement. It just happens to be the environment, don’t let it keep you from a good taco.

Handmade Salsa

salsa

The salsa can make, or break a good taco. This one might be the most critical point of all. Even the best crafted taco, with generous amounts of meat and the perfect amount of onions can be ruined by crappy salsa. A good taqueria knows this, that’s why they make their salsas in-house and make sure it’s a solid recipe.

What Your Tacos Should Look Like

tacosss

picthx Peter Pham

So look for these signs and you’ll know you’re going to have a good taco experience. OMG, I know you love Chipotle, but if you think that’s Mexican food, you’re really missing out.

Categories
Adventures

Part II: Ernesto's Taco Shop (Miami, FL)

Looking for some good tacos in Miami? Ernesto’s is where it’s at! Part II’s stop of the adventure in Miami was this taco shop. As I said before, this place was cheap and had great quality food. What more could you ask for in life really? Check out the rest of the post to see how our visit to Ernesto’s Taco Shop all went down.