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