Talk about value for your money.
In these times when money disappears faster than Nicolas Cage’s receding hairline, anything that offers items that cost P100 or less is considered a good buy.
And that goes for food, too.
Such is the case of Tacoritto, a small, unpretentious practically Mom-and-Pop enterprise that offers largely Tex-Mex food to customers – especially those working on a tight budget (but ain’t we all?). So if your taste is sooooo elevated that you turn your noses up at pedestrian fare and cafeteria food, then this joint is not for you. Only an idiot will come to Tacoritto and expect Oaxacan moles in a restaurant that is clearly made for the working class and students.
At less than P100 per item, food at Tacoritto is at best filling. It’s just good, old Tex-Mex-Fil food.
There is, for instance, the quesadillas, those fat cheese-and-meat pillows with a choice of steak, fish or ground beef. Each pillow has a generous layer of melted cheese in it, with the saltiness of the cheese countering the flavour of whatever else is inside. My quesadilla was practically bursting with flavour – the heat of the spicy beef, in particular, filled my mouth and stayed there long after I had washed it down with soda. BacolodSpice, on the other hand, swears by the tuna-filled quesadilla, which I eyed with suspicion since any fish, when cooked improperly, can have THAT certain smell one usually associates with people who have not had a bath in days.
There was none of that fish-y taste in the fillet that went with BacolodSpice’s quesadilla, though, as the breading effectively neutralized any unpleasant flavour that usually accompanies fish that had done its share of sunbathing for hours. So plus points for prep.
We tried the burrito, which is as large a child’s forearm. It was a little unwieldy, and the dripping does tend to get to one’s fingers. (Solution: Lick fingers off. Simple.) Does it taste like an authentic burrito? Beats me. I haven’t tasted an authentic burrito before. Is it any good? At less than P100, yes it sure is. It’s a complete meal if you ask me: the rice, beans, tomatoes, cabbages and beef all wrapped in a flour tortilla shell. Nothing spectacular about the prep, really. It’s just one big fat burrito with all the items coming together – the beef is cooked just right, for instance, so that the juices are practically oozing from my burrito, while the veggies create a nice crunch at every bite.
Then there’s the spicy chilli wings, which are crispy fried wings dipped in a spicy barbecue batter and, for some reason, sesame seeds. Some really juicy chicken right there – whatever meat that was left of the chicken wings is still juicy, which is more than we can say from some other fast food chains here. But the spice itself is, surprisingly, on the mild side. I was expecting an explosion in my mouth, since Mexican food is (reportedly) high on the capsaicin count. No such luck.
Next was the soft shell taco, which is just a sort of open-faced burrito which, in true Tex-Mex style, has a generous layer of grated filled cheese (the supermarket variety – but of course!), lots of greens, tomatoes and steak. There was a generous amount of everything except for, strangely, the meat which we practically have to dig out of its cheese-and-slaw grave. Still, at less than P100, who are we to complain, eh?
And then, the topper of it all – the chilli cheese fries. This time, the potatoes were more like the potato chips of the UK variety, as the spud slices were fatter than the elongated ones favoured by fast foods. These fat spuds are then topped off with a thick layer of chilli – fried ground beef drowning in a tomato-based sauce, then drizzled with a generous layer of melted cheese (Cheez Wiz?). It’s positively screaming with calories, but hey, we only get to live once, eh? So why not live a little dangerously?
All in all, Tacoritto’s food is as simple yet satisfying, unpretentious yet delicious (rhyme not intended). It’s not for the elevated palate, but then not all kinds of food should be. Like I said, Tacoritto is a perfect example of value for money.
And in these hard times, nothing is more welcome than that.