happiness is a warm taco

My friend Mae took this photo during a moment of our champagne tastes and caviar dreams (I didn't have a picture of me eating a taco).

My friend Mae took this photo during a champagne tastes and caviar dreams moment (I didn’t have a picture of me eating tacos).

The alternative title to this post was “happiness is hugging a warm taco”, but doing so is decidedly messy. Don’t believe me? Try it, then get back to me.

The other day a friend and I went to get tacos at a local Mexican market. It’s no frills and the tacos are soooo good. You walk in, pass the glass case filled with ready-to-go carnitas, salsas, cheese, chicharron, and crema, and head towards the back where you can order your deliciously warm tacos. Did I mention that they are $1.50/each??

When they call out your order for pick up, you can sit down at one of the few tables or hoist yourself up on a bar stool and sit at one of the counters.

I hoisted.

I hugged my taco.

I spoke with my mouth full: “Thi foo make me happy.”

If you’ve made it this far into the post, first of all, thank you from the bottom of my taco-loving heart. Second of all, you might be thinking, “Poor girl, she thinks she’s posting a review on Yelp. tsk tsk.”

Yes, sometimes I get confused and think I’m on Yelp, Match.com or even forget where I am in general, but today, talking about tacos reminds me how something so simple can bring such joy. When everything is so clearly simple and solid and in-the-moment. It doesn’t matter if it’s a taco, a stunning view, or breaking out in uncontrollable laughter with a friend. I’m grateful for any fleeting moment that causes you to connect to yourself and something even beyond that. Something bigger than yourself…that intangible feeling of…love?

I don’t know why my lesson was sent in a taco, but hey, I’ll take it. There’s a reason why I’m always proposing to food. Mr. T and I pity the poor fool I fall in love with: “Marry me or else I’m going to make a taco a very happy husband!!”

Hey, that’s a good title for a Match.com profile…

 

old yelper

I’m thinking about creating a Yelp account for my 91 year-old dad.

oldyelper prepares to review the persimmon trees. Those poor persimmons don't stand a chance.

oldyelper prepares to review the persimmon trees. Those poor persimmons don’t stand a chance.

His reviews will be concise, yet murky:

“Not bad.”
 Translation: meh.
“The meat is soft.” What he’s trying to say: Tender! And I don’t have to chew that much.
“I don’t know.” His answer to the questions: “What does it taste like?” and “What’s in it?”

He often uses the word whatchgall when he can’t think of the name of something. Here it is used in a sentence: “What’s the name of the restaurant where we had the whatchgall?”

It’s great fun, almost like playing a game, trying to guess the answer:

me: “Seafood Palace?”
oldyelper: “No!” (looks at me like I’m crazy)
me: “Great Grannie’s Goulash Garden?”
oldyelper: “That’s not it!” (more crazy looks in my direction)

Readers can look forward to going to that unnamed restaurant and asking the wait staff for the whatchgall that oldyelper ordered the other night.

Ermmm…I’m beginning to have second thoughts about this. I am thinking about the content of his potential reviews. I love food so much that a real-life comment like this pains me: “I won’t be eating those tacos again. I like it when it has a little cheese, lettuce and tomato – like at Taco Bell.”

This broke my heart a little because my dad was talking about a hard shell taco with “American” cheese, iceberg lettuce and flavorless tomatoes. You can’t teach an elderly dad many new tricks. Believe me, I’ve tried when it comes to Mexican food. I wanted to convert him to the deliciousness of carnitas and *lengua and mole, and different styles based on different regions. Expand his palate. I thought at the very least that I could get him to use the word salsa instead of “sauce” and “dip”.

We must have tried at least a dozen different Mexican restaurants (including bastardized versions), but oldyelper was never impressed. One night I decided to make the tacos my mom used to make when my brother and I were younger; the only kind of tacos to which my dad could relate: store bought hard shells, McCormick taco seasoning, ground beef, shredded Romaine (don’t tell him it wasn’t Iceberg) and homegrown tomatoes.

this is old school seasoning, yo.

this is old school seasoning, yo.

As I was sprinkling the seasoning on the meat, my mainly Japanese-speaking mom said, “Smells taco.” Yup. Smells taco. Just like she remembered.

That night, oldyelper gave me this review: “Good!” And then he helped himself to another taco.

It eased some of the pain. What can I say? I’m a sucker for a good review.

*I gave my dad a lengua burrito once and told him it was beef. It wasn’t a complete lie. What?? Like you’ve never lied to someone about something that’s for their own good??