Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Memories of Tico Taco
The national (heck maybe even international) news has been filled with stories about the local Taco Bell. In high school, our family would frequent it quite a bit since my brother was a growing boy who needed to eat every three hours... the box of 10 tacos would be gone in a flash (8 of them going to my brother).
The talk of "e coli and Mexican food" evolved into a trip down memory lane for the Mexican restaurant of our youth, Tico Taco. In the 70s, there wasn't much diversity in NJ restaurants (Basically, you had a choice between Chinese and Italian) but on Rt. 22, there was a grungy dark place marked by a life-size concrete man with a sombrero pulling a burro saddled with bags.
Tico Taco had the greatest coconut punch served in a giant glass (we kids would often share one since it was sooo big) and the tacos were soft and had a layer of cheese between the two thin tortillas that wrapped the mystery meat goodness. On weekends, Tico Taco had live music and a wandering gypsy telling fortunes. We loved eating there or just picking stuff up to bring home... even after a friend who worked in the back told us horror stories about the dishwashing and cockroaches! We figured that "what doesn't kill us makes us stronger." Did I mention that the food was yummy?! The restaurant was knocked down in the late 80s and there's now a Pizza Hut in its stead; we now have a wonderful Mexican restaurant in the downtown. But it's not the same. Memories won't let it be.