The Netscape-friendly hunt for the perfect urban food log.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Much, much better: I've got to give my mother props, she's always up for trying a new burrito place. In this case, we returned to one of the favorite taquerias of my distant past: El Faro on Monument Boulevard in Concord.

I hadn't been to El Faro in about 10 years, but nothing much had changed. Well, they were resurfacing the parking lot, which made getting to the front door a bitch. I had forgotten that the "regular" burrito ($4.95) is honking big; in my experience, only El Zamorano on Foothill Boulevard in Oakland serves a bigger one. The "little" burrito ($3.95) makes a better lunch portion, unless you can truly afford to take a siesta.

I got my standard chile verde with pinto beans; mom got a beef tamale dinner (about $7). The burrito was as good as I remembered it, although you do need to add pico de gallo (it comes on the side) to really punch up the flavor. Mom was a little dismayed at the size of her tamale plate (enormous), but went after it like a trouper. The tamale had a nice balance of meat to masa and was really delicious. She got horchata - more vanilla than usual, and I guess what you would call full-bodied. I got tamarindo, which is really my favorite, but for some reason isn't carried by a lot of taquerias.

"Why don't they have the telenovelas on?" was mom's only complaint - all three TVs were turned to cable news.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Worst. Burrito. Evah: Curry Village in the Yosemite Valley is the original family camp, I guess: 107 years old. You spend what would buy you a fabulous four-star hotel room in Bakersfield for a tent cabin with camp beds that's about six inches away from your neighbors. Not only did I get to learn exactly what teen-aged girls giggle about, I got to hear when the baby woke up with nightmares. On the other hand, the back window flap opened onto a view of Yosemite Falls, the Merced River is just a short walk away, and after the evening program we could lie back on the benches in the amphitheater and look for shooting stars and satellites.

Obviously, you don't go there for the food. Still, there is a food pavilion offering family-camp-style food: pizza, burgers, a breakfast/dinner buffet and burritos.

Stay away from the burritos.

The rice is Rice-A-Roni; the beans are a taupe spackle flavored with McCormick's Chili Powder, the salsa came out of a jar and the chicken -- I could only tell it was chicken and not ground beef by making a visual inspection. This will set you back about $5, and you would be better off eating your money. My Dining Companion wouldn't take more than a bite of hers even though she had been run up and down the Mist Trail shortly after breakfast, then forced to cavort in the river for about an hour. I ate mine -- you don't want to meet me on low blood sugar -- but it was NASTY. I would gladly have paid $9 for one of those yuppified burritos from the Bear Valley cafe about that time.