Does 365 tacos sound like too many tacos to eat in one year?
Minneapolis taco enthusiast Kelly Johnson is on pace to devour a taco a day in 2015 and her tongue-in-cheek reviews of the various tongues and cheeks she’s eaten at taco stands around the Twin Cities have attracted a growing readership online.
On her blog, Tacopalooza 2015, Johnson rates tacos on a five-point scale (from “le sad taco” to “mexcellent”). She estimates there are 50 to 100 taco-serving establishments in the metro area, and she plans to personally investigate 40 taquerias before the end of December.
On Monday, Johnson made her first visit to the legendary Lake Street taco spot Taco Taxi and tasted the asada tacos, which she found “moist and crispy.”
Johnson then answered several questions ending in the word “tacos.” (Her responses have been condensed and edited.)
What’s a reasonable price for tacos?
Two bucks or less. If you’re paying more than $2 for a taco, it had better be really unique, really good or really big. The more Americanized places will have tacos for $3 or $4 and the meat’s not that tasty.
How should one eat the tacos?
A little of the squeeze of the lemon or lime. A little crunchy from the radish, about two radishes per taco. Always eat both tortillas. The simpler the better. If you go to a place with a plethora of sauces, don’t put the sauce on top. Mix and match. Then dig in.
What are your favorite tacos?
Al pastor. They take pork, slice it really thin, marinate it. They pack it really tight, usually on a spit, like a gyro. Then they top it with pineapple and slow-roast it all day long. The fat drips, becomes super savory, and the pineapple gives a little sweetness to the meat.
How did you get involved with tacos?
Like any American kid, mom made ground beef with the Ortega mix, a big flour tortilla, lettuce, sour cream, cheese. We were a Pace Picante family. We weren’t super adventurous.
I didn’t start eating good, authentic tacos until about two years ago. I lived in Austin, Minnesota, where there’s a large Mexican population and therefore some great local places. I tried a corner place where no one spoke English and just pointed at a couple things I didn’t know the name of.
I realized authentic tacos are so much better than the stuff I grew up on. I can’t do ground beef tacos anymore like my mom used to do it.
Why did you decide to eat so many tacos?
My boyfriend asked me if I thought I could eat one taco a day for a year. I said, ‘I can’t eat one every day, but I could average one a day, for sure.’ Then it became a challenge.
Most people make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, start working out, give up smoking — something healthy. Eating tacos isn’t super unhealthy, but I thought it would be funny to give myself this type of challenge.
And how did you decide to blog about tacos?
I have a friend in Chicago writing a candy bar blog and a friend in New York writing a donut blog. I realized I can’t go to the same taco place all the time, so I thought I might as well start reviewing them.
What’s the appeal of tacos?
They taste so good, and they’re so easy to make. You can keep a huge stack of corn tortillas in your fridge for months. I’ll make a big Crock-Pot, or Dutch oven of braised meat: carnitas style or barbacoa. It freezes down really well. Don’t know what to have for dinner? Boom, tacos all day long.
What’s the most tacos you’ve eaten in one meal of tacos?
On Cinco de Mayo, I ordered 12 tacos on a wager and ate them all. It was fun for awhile. By taco No. 9, I was not really tasting and just powering through. Too many in one sitting, for sure.