One of the saddest moments of my life was when I learned that the Tijuana Flats 10 minutes away from my house was closing.
For those of you who have never heard of it, Tijuana Flats is an awesome Mexican restaurant. I've written about it before. The lines were extremely long, but it was worth it. They had an item on the menu called Double Cheesy Tacos, which I still have wet dreams about. All of my favorite food items generally include some sort of combination between meat and cheese, and this had both - and then, more cheese on top of it! I ordered multiple Double Cheesy Tacos whenever I went to Tijuana Flats. Sure, I shaved 20 years off my life, and I wasted what seemed like another 20 years standing in line, but it was well worth it.
Tijuana Flats closing not only was extremely upsetting, but it was confusing as well. How could they close if they were always busy? Well, I think I recall reading that the owner was arrested for something, which is utterly ridiculous. The cops should be ashamed of themselves. I don't care what this man did. Whether he robbed a bank, killed someone, or created a weapon that would blow up the Sun, he should not be locked up under any circumstances. For the love of God, he was responsible for Double Cheesy Tacos!
A new Mexican restaurant replaced Tijuana Flats. It's called Fire Girl Grill, or something like that. My fiancee and I tried it once, and it was extremely disappointing. It was one of those do-it-yourself restaurants where you get to pick anything you want and make it into a meal. It's one of those things that douchey, hipster millennial a**holes like because choosing exactly what they want makes them feel important when all they really happen to be is irrelevant scum. There, I said it. And yes, I know I'm technically a millennial. If that makes me irrelevant scum, so be it.
We never ventured back to Fire Girl Grill. We tried some other places until we found La Hacienda. It's amazing, and we knew it would be a great replacement for Tijuana Flats because barely anyone there speaks English, compared to Fire Girl Grill, where the workers were teenage girls with hipster glasses. If I want great Mexican food, I want it made by real Mexicans; not chicks who spend all of their money at Starbucks ordering Mocha Frappa Latte Something Something Grandes.
La Haciena doesn't have Double Cheesy Tacos, but they do have an assortment of delicious foodstuffs, such as something called Fiesta Tacos. Whenever I order them, I ask for a side of cheese sauce, and then I dump the cheese sauce into all my Fiesta Tacos, effectively recreating my beloved Double Cheesy Tacos. It's incredible.
What's the point of all this? Well, I'm ashamed to say that I've betrayed La Hacienda. And I may never forgive myself.
They opened a new chain of stores around the corner from my development. There's room for six new businesses, but only two have been filled thus far. One is some sort of dry cleaner, so who cares. Why dry clean clothes when you can just spray Febreze on them? What a waste of money and time!
The second business is a restaurant called Baja Fresh. My fiancee and I noticed it for the first time, and we agreed to try it one night. That one night happened to be a recent Tuesday. I drove over to Baja Fresh, completely unaware that I was about to have a terrible experience.
I grabbed a menu and instantly knew I was in trouble. Check out the meat options for their tacos:
OK, I made that last one up if you couldn't tell, but if you're a food connoisseur like me, you may have noticed that one particular meat option was missing:
Where's the beef!? How can any self-respecting Mexican restaurant not have beef as an option for tacos? That's so completely un-American. It would be like going to a hot dog place where you had to choose from a steak hot dog, an Ono hot dog, a Soylent Green hot dog, and nothing else. I'd be yelling "Where's the pork!?" like an old woman, just as I am now with the beef.
And... wait... what the hell is Ono? Is Ono beef? Is it the chick who ruined the Beatles? Is it a card game, you know, the one where if you have one card left, you shout, "Ono!?" Apparently not. I asked, and it was fish. So... why didn't they just list it as fish? I imagine "Ono" is "fish" in some sort of exotic language like Japanese or Canadian, but we're not in Japan or Canada. It would be like if I redesigned my Web site menu, and called my NFL Mock Drafts "Shlapa Flapa Floo." You'd never be able to find my mock drafts unless you learned what Shlapa Flapa Floo meant, which just seems like an unnecessary step. It's bad business. I don't understand how Baja Fresh doesn't realize that.
Oh, and another thing before I move on: Steak tacos are not beef tacos. Steak strips are fine, but don't belong in tacos. I want ground beef in my tacos. Is that too much to ask?
Anyway, the issue with ordering tacos and burritos - which is what my fiancee wanted - is that you don't know how big they're going to be. Thus, I asked the woman at the counter, some woman in her 40s who looked so distraught that she appeared to be losing all hope in life, but all she was able to do was make some weird motion with her hands in an attempt to show me how big the tacos were. She probably could've done this successfully if she cared, but she was putting zero effort into her job. I would as well if my particular restaurant had weird things like "Ono" on the menu.
Because I didn't know how much food to order, I asked for a pork taco combo meal - pork being the preferable option over the other non-beef choices - as well as an additional taco. I got a pork burrito and a fish, I mean, Ono taco for my fiancee. I also asked for chips and salsa, and the woman told me that the meal comes with chips and salsa.
The total ended up being $22.01. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a $20, as well as three $1s. I didn't have a penny, but I figured that as with most cashiers, this woman would just give me $1 back instead of 99 cents.
Oh, how wrong I was. Because she was working at a glacial pace, she spent minutes taking out three quarters, one dime, two nickels and four pennies. I couldn't believe it. How can someone do this? Again, it's bad business. Sure, Baja Fresh saved a precious penny, but they may have lost a customer because of that. I was pissed. Call it a first-world problem all you want, but I didn't want 10 coins jiggling in my pocket. It was just super annoying.
A shorter, older woman behind the counter smiled at me and said, "Help yourself to some of our hot sauces over there while you wait for your order."
And so I did. I poured hot sauce into four tiny containers. As I did this, I noticed that some fat kid wearing a J.J. Watt jersey was at the counter with his dad. They caught my attention because the chubby kid asked for beef tacos, and he was informed that they didn't have any.
"BUT I WANT BEEF TACOS, DAD!!!" he screamed.
The dad tried to quiet the kid down, but it didn't work. He started crying, and so the father grabbed him by the jersey and pulled him out of the restaurant.
I can't believe he did that. No, not the kid crying. The chubby boy was clearly a food connoisseur like me, and fully understood how horrible it was that Baja Fresh didn't have beef tacos.
I obtained my order 10 minutes later, and I was home five minutes after that. So, how was it?
On the positive side, well, there was no positive side. The food was mediocre, at best. The tacos weren't big enough, so I ate a massive number of chips. Oh, and speaking of chips, there was no salsa! I had to use the hot sauce as salsa, which was fine, but it wasn't a great replacement.
It's safe to say that I'm not eating at Baja Fresh ever again. The lack of beef tacos is appalling; the woman at the counter was horrible; and forgetting the salsa was unforgiveable.
My fiancee and I were ashamed of ourselves. We should've known better. First of all, Baja Fresh just sounds terrible. Baja California isn't real Mexico, and who cares if food is fresh? Maybe douchey, hipster millennial a**holes do, but not me. Baja Fresh would be better if it were called Baja Cheesy, or Baja Beef.
And second, we already discovered a great Mexican restaurant, so why in hell were we trying a new one? I never thought I'd be a failure as a food connoisseur, but this Baja Fresh experience taught me that I am, indeed, a failure.
Making matters worse, while Baja Fresh opened, two lovely food establishments closed their doors for good. We once had a cheesesteak place called Larry's Steaks within walking distance, but that shut down. There was a Little Caesars next to it, but that went out of business as well.
These were the second- and third-most devastating moments of my life. I've always dreamed of having cheesesteak and pizza places I could walk to, but that's no longer the case.
That said, I should've known better. Most of the people in my neighborhood are Russians who don't eat cheesesteaks or pizza. They go to Russian restaurants where they order horse tongue served over pickled watermelon. I'm not making that up. That's actually a thing. Or, they go to some hipster, douchey restaurants, and they order something called fufu a la tutu. I could be making that up. It might actually be a thing.
With limited dinner options one Friday evening, my fiancee and I opted to go somewhere special. One of the few great non-Mexican restaurants around us is this place called Ricardo's, which is terrific. Their strombolis are to die for. Literally. They're so massive that you'd probably have a coronary trying to finish one, but they are delicious nonetheless.
Anyway, my fiancee and I were enjoying our meal until she overheard something two dudes behind us were saying. I wasn't paying attention, but she suddenly said, "Ugh, such douche bags."
I asked her what they said, but she told me she'd tell me afterward because she didn't want them overhearing. Once we left the restaurant, she relayed their conversation to me.
Fiancee: One guy was saying stuff like, "For breakfast, I eat an organic egg white bagel I get at Whole Foods. It's so good for you. I only eat organic food."
Fiancee: Then, the other guy tried to one-up the first guy, and he said stuff like, "Well, I only drink almond milk because I want to make it so cows aren't tortured."
Me: But don't cows need to get milked? And isn't almond milk bad for the environment?
I hate these people. Like, if there were a rocket heading toward the sun, I'd bop them over the head with a barbed-wire baseball bat and drag them into the rocket, and I'd do this because I'd make the world a better place. These scumbags are the reason why we don't have beef tacos, and why my precious Larry's Steaks and Little Caesars are disappearing. These douches consume egg white bagels, almond milk, and mocha frappe latte something something grandees, and they need to be stopped.
It's quite fortunate that my fiancee didn't inform me of the douches' conversation while we were at Ricardo's, because I would've started a fight with them. I would've gotten kicked out of the restaurant, and then my eating options would be even more limited than they are now.
And as a food connoisseur, that's the last thing I'd ever want.