Rachel's Table

Why Local is Better than Loco

I’ve hung out with Jules from Go Jules Go before. If you missed any of our escapades, take some time to catch up:

Here’s where Jules made me eat avocados at Cheesecake Factory.

And here’s where she drank all the beer.

Fortunately, our shenangians are on-going. We spent Monday together in New Hope, PA, and decided to meet at a Mexican restaurant called Blue Tortilla. I studied the menu beforehand, memorized the description of their guacamole (being a locavore can be a drag, because I rarely eat avocados) and knew my order by heart (pork carnitas with extra guac, please). But the unthinkable happened. BLUE TORTILLA WAS CLOSED!

Of course, there were other places nearby, even restaurants serving ingredients from local farms, but we had come to New Hope fully expecting to enjoy Mexican food. Thanks to Jules’ iPhone ingenuity, we discovered El Taco Loco and walked up Main Street, down a few side roads and into an alley to find it. And this is when I discovered six reasons why Local is better than (El Taco) Loco.

1. Local service is better than Loco service. At El Taco Loco, there is no service. You walk in, you look around for a few minutes waiting to be seated, you realize no one will seat you, you sit down, you wait for a menu, you find your own menu, you place your order at a little window at the back of the restaurant. The woman taking your order grunts at you, rolls her eyes, and does everything humanly possible NOT to interact with you.

2. Local bars are better than Loco bars. I’ve been to local restaurants that serve hand-crafted cocktails with organic vodka or include local wines on an extensive wine list. El Taco Loco has no bar; they barely wanted to give us water. Thank our lucky stars we planned on eating at a BYO, so Jules and I had 14 beers to share between the two of us (our husbands may have had a few, too).



3. Local ambiance is better than Loco ambiance. One of my favorite local places is tastefully decorated with white tablecloths and soft lighting. Loco decor included giant wicker urns and baskets filled with old tissues.

This is what happens when two bloggers get together and have to wait a really long time for their  food

This is what happens when two bloggers get together and have to wait a really long time for their food

4. Local staff is better than Loco staff. After waiting an extraordinary amount of time for our food (it’s a good thing we had two servings of guacamole to abate our hunger), a member of the kitchen staff brought out a plate of something. “Fish tacos,” he said. We looked at each other. No one ordered fish tacos. He argued with us for a full five minutes before stomping back to the kitchen mumbling,”I guarantee you ordered fish tacos.” Apparently fish tacos and chicken tacos look exactly the same.

I know it doesn't look like it, but I was very excited about this guac (which was actually fresh and tasty)

I know it doesn’t look like it, but I was very excited about this guac (which was actually fresh and tasty)

5. Local dinnerware is better than Loco dinnerware. Usually, local restaurants have actual plates, or at least disposable plastic plates. At El Taco Loco, your food is precariously set in front of you on a piece of flimsy styrofoam. We even had to bring our own coasters.

The remnants of a half-eaten meal on a flat, styrofoam loco-style plate.

The remnants of a half-eaten meal on a flat, styrofoam loco-style plate.

'Stache glasses coasters courtesy of me and MaidaSomeArt

Custom ‘stache glasses coasters courtesy of me and MaidaSomeArt

6. Local food is better than Loco food. Without a doubt this is true (see above photo for proof). El Taco Loco didn’t even shred their own cheese–a tasteless no-no in this locavore’s book. Jules’ husband Peppermeister and I could have whipped up something local, spicy and delicious that would have blown those fish chicken tacos out of the Gulf of Mexico.

Given the circumstances, it may seem like Jules and I had a terrible time on our bloggy meet-up. Not so. El Taco Loco was kind enough (or apathetic enough) to let us take over the dining room for four hours. They came by to roll their eyes only a few times and when shifts changed, a friendly staffer took our beer bottles and cleared our plates. She didn’t even mind when we used their decor as photo props.

Posin' with our What Would Sexy Stalin Do? wristbands. Intrigued? Go to The Byronic Man to find out how to win one of  your very own.

Posin’ with our What Would Sexy Stalin Do? wristbands. Intrigued? Go to The Byronic Man to find out how to win one of your very own.

After our long lunch, we headed out into the cold New Hope air to visit some shops, but we just ended up taking more ridiculous photos.

We are so cool

We are so cool

Creepy bear was speaking to me through the glass

Creepy bear was speaking to me through the glass

Good times

Good times

Uncle Jess should be jealous

Should Jules’ dog, Uncle Jesse, be jealous?

Jules, the dog whisperer

Jules, the dog whisperer

This is what sexy stalin would do

This is what sexy Stalin would do. (Best photo bomb ever, Peppermeister)

Wanting to get out of the cold (and stop embarrassing ourselves) Jules took us to the perfect place for a cocktail: church! Martha Brown Restaurant is a dining experience located in a renovated church. The bar is especially cozy and has those hand-crafted cocktails I was talking about earlier.

Fancy drinks

Fancy drinks

The old church sanctuary transformed into the posh dining room

The old church sanctuary transformed into a posh dining room

Sippin' on gin and juice

Cheers to church!

As you can see, the day turned out splendidly despite the loco Mexican food. I would go back to El Taco Loco just to enjoy a four-hour conversation with Jules (and the guacamole). I would even drive through a blizzard on the way back home. Oh wait, I already did that.

Blizzard on the way home

Trapped in the car on the way home in a blizzard with a man who just ate inferior Mexican food off of black styrofoam. There are not enough prepositional phrases to describe the torment.

Totally worth it

Totally worth it

If you’d like to win some art, head over to Go Jules Go. She’s hosting a giveaway for those awesome coasters or another custom item from MaidaSomeArt!


  1. You two really should get out more…bust out of your shells a little.
    Loved all the photos! the peppermeister bomb made me laugh. And who would drive through a blizzard for fresh guac?! Me! oh, hellz yeah! (can you imagine a world where you couldn’t eat guac? I wouldn’t want to live anymore….)

  2. I WANT THAT DOG. I. WANT. THAT. DOG. (Don’t tell Uncle Jesse.)

    Okay. Okay. I need to focus. The “fish” tacos, HA! I was like, “But he [Peppermeister] doesn’t even EAT fish!” Because there was that moment when he had us all convinced we really did order them. Can you imagine if this was the restaurant I’d picked as our first choice? You would never let me live it down.

    Your ride home was even more treacherous than I thought! But we did drink in a church. So. There’s that.

    This post made me laugh a LOT. Hard. Like in-that-one-creepy-bear-picture hard. I heart you, Rache. And your hub’s not half bad, either.

    • I’m sure Uncle Jesse would be pleased to have a playmate. We need to give that dog a name! Kimmy Gibbler?

      Church drinking is glorious! I might start doing that more.

      I’m so glad you laughed, Jules! Thanks for taking me to that ridiculous restaurant and making me do ridiculous poses and generally being such a great blogging buddy and real live friend!

      • Yes! That dog looks like it could totally be a Kimmy Gibbler! We actually had the chance to buy Uncle Jesse’s neice, and wanted to name her DJ.

        BTW, this might be my favorite line: ” Loco decor included giant wicker urns and baskets filled with old tissues.” I just read the whole post again; I can’t stop laughing.

  3. RACHEL!! LOOK OUT. There’s a creepy bear stalking you!!

    Oh wait, nevermind. That’s just Senor Pep. Carry on.

    Those pics are fantastic. Looks like a great time. And somehow, when you have to change course on the fly and end up with something wholey ridiculous and disasterous, it makes it even MORE fun. Well done, ladies.

    And admit it . . . Jules totally shoved that pup in her bag and carried him home with her so Uncle Jesse could have a buddy. It’s ok, you can admit it. I won’t tell.

  4. You east-coast people… “I’m in Massachusetts!” “I’m in Maryland!” “Oh, great, that’s 300 yards away! Let’s go hang out!”

    And everyone should be intrigued by an WWSSD? wristband.

      • Nah, you guys need to just stick w/ those Amish potroasts. 😉 (Hey, don’t think I didn’t notice that Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale on the table, either — good girl!)

      • Now, you just have to get your hands on some Pliny the Elder. (I would send you some, except I can’t even find any for myself!)

        Not sure how extensive the Sierra Nevada distribution is out there, but they’ve got a seasonal IPA out right now called “Ruthless Rye” that may be my new favorite.

  5. You definitely captured the ambiance of El Taco Loco. The rudeness of the fish taco dude would have been almost shocking if the woman who took our order hadn’t already set the boorish table for us with her anger laden responses and death stares. Nothing like a good day-buzz to bring friends together in such a hostile/loco environment.

    • That woman definitely eased us into the whole day. Maybe she was kinder than we first thought–those death stares were actually warning glances.

      I’m off to get my day-buzz on. Cheers!

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