Late Night Culinary Horrorshow Open Thread: Nope, Not A Taco

Apparently some half-bright assignment editor at the NYTimes is looking to replicate the 2015 ‘put peas in your guacamole’ wars — hey, clicks are clicks!

I believe potatoes are the true staff of life, and that broccoli is a cruelly misunderstood vegetable. But you can’t wrap them in a tortilla and pass the result off as a “taco”, because there are limits, people. I mean, I can remember the 1970s, when the college cafeteria tried to pass off a cheese-free version of ‘Johnny Marzetti‘ as ‘an Italian favorite’ — we’re supposed to have made culinary progress since then!

(P.S. Yes, a version of that casserole was a staple of my Bronx childhood, but we knew it was related to ‘Italian food’ only in the sense that I am related to Serena Williams. Also, we grade-school coastal elitists knew it by the name ‘Highway Fatality Cleanup’, which gave it at least some rhetorical spice… )

59 replies
  1. 1

    Nope. Just nope.

    And potatoes only belong in breakfast burritos.

  2. 2
    jl says:

    Ehhh…. throw some roasted crickets and salsa on it. Looks close enough to tacos to me.

    But, a Californian might be considered presumptuous about judging taco-ness, compared to a Massachusite.

  3. 3

    Plus tacos should never require 45 minutes to make.

    That’s what the taco trucks on every corner are for.

  4. 4
    Jay says:

    @Sister Golden Bear:

    I wish,

    It was supposedly a threat,

    But I have to travel a long way to find a taco truck.

  5. 5
    piratedan says:

    those are fucking tostadas because you can’t fold those up and eat them.

    Besides everything the NYT knows about food came from the hacked DCC e-mails about risotto

  6. 6
    dp says:

    That’s like Disney’s kale, quinoa but no roux gumbo recipe.

  7. 7
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Sister Golden Bear: Don’t Baja style burritos get fries?

  8. 8
    Suzanne says:

    That’s avocado toast on a tortilla instead of bread. FFS.


    Need GoT thread.

  9. 9
    The Pale Scot says:

    So I just watched the first 2 episodes of GOT. Tr.dr of the plot seems to be,

    We’re getting the band back together

    We’re on a mission from g-d.

    I’ve seen this movie before

  10. 10
    jl says:

    @Adam L Silverman: They put all sorts of stuff in tacos in Mexico. Eggs, potatoes, crickets, that weird puffed up corn fungus stuff, nopales,
    Telling Mexico what to put in a taco is like telling the USA what the hell can go into a sandwich. IMHO.

  11. 11
    Adam L Silverman says:


    telling a USA-ian what the hell can go into a sandwich

    White bread, crusts cut off, mayo, processed cheese food.

  12. 12
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Doesn’t make it right.

  13. 13
    NotMax says:

    Short-lived attempt here to start chain called Tako Taco was iffy enough.

    (Tako = octopus.)

    Maybe the NYT can squirrel these away for the future:

    Egg salad tacos. Tripe and mashed turnip tacos. Fluffernutter and salsa tacos. Natto and seaweed tacos. French fry tacos.

  14. 14
    Omnes Omnibus says:


    Need GoT thread.

    All I will say is wow.

  15. 15
    jl says:

    huitlacoche tacos! Yum yum yum.

    First had these as a kid at a festival out by Los Banos. Thought they were great until someone showed me how they made them, and from exactly what.
    They do taste good, but made from fresh zombie fungus corn kernels, not that pickled glop from a jar.

  16. 16
    Suzanne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: The entire internet seems convinced that two characters behaved in a fashion inconsistent with their arcs, I am not sure what show they’ve been watching—all of this felt very foreshadowed to me.

  17. 17
    jl says:

    @NotMax: Sounds like reject ideas from Magos fast food in West LA.
    I see some places on the internet that seem to be descendents for the great Magos fast food hallucinogenic creations.
    I’ll have to check them out next time I’m down there.

    I remember their teriyaki chasu pork taco with spicy sweet salsa. It was great. I forget whether it had taters. I vaguely remember very finely shredded Napa cabbage and Mexican style pickles for the veggie crunch stuff.

  18. 18
    joel hanes says:

    I have been told and seen evidence that until the mid 1960’s, tacos were not served in any establishment in New York City.

  19. 19
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Suzanne: I don’t think anything was out of character, but they did rush one character’s progress.

  20. 20
    wenchacha says:

    Wouldn’t a broccoli slaw be better with this?

  21. 21
    NotMax says:

    Kind of a related read: A History of Taco Bell’s Failed Attempts to Open Locations in Mexico.

    @joel hanes

    The 1964 World’s Fair introduced NYers to a variety of ‘exotic’ foods.

    If one watches enough earlyish 1930s American movies, there are mentions of spaghetti as a strange and foreign food curiosity.

  22. 22
    something fabulous says:

    Potato tacos are a thing! Super delicious says this LA person. Broccoli in tacos on the other hand? Nothing but side eye. (side eye on the side?)

  23. 23
    Amir Khalid says:

    I once saw in Salon (many years ago, before it sucked too bad to be worth reading) a “nasi lemak” recipe by an American self-proclaimed expert on Malaysian cuisine that was just the rice cooked in coonut milk — no sambal, no list of customary fixings. No Malaysian eats nasi lemak that way.

  24. 24
    smike says:


    French fry tacos

    Almost there. Here in central texas (tex-mex) potatoes are a staple of breakfast tacos (not fried). Potato, egg, bacon, refried beans, chorizo, cheese, jalapenos or red salsa (or both, or neither). That’s called a combo at a local spot, and one is a good meal. I’m also partial to refried beans, crisp bacon and cheese in a fresh flour tortilla.

    ETA: Fried potatoes would work just fine in the above, but the added grease is not necessary.

  25. 25
    jl says:

    @Amir Khalid: But, does it makes a good taco?

  26. 26
    prostratedragon says:

    “a pasta-meat-and-cheese casserole popular in the American Midwest and the former Panama Canal Zone” ??

    As for the tacos, something like a knish, maybe? One could instead just have a knish with a little something green on the side. One wonders what the presenter for the photo thought of the dish. Maybe those eggs represent side eye.

  27. 27
    NotMax says:


    Okay then, amend to poutine tacos.


  28. 28
    smike says:


  29. 29

    @Adam L Silverman: I hadn’t heard of “Baja style burritos” and my Google-fu has failed to find an explanation of how that style differs.

    But as jl says, in Mexico tacos and other foods can contain all sorts of fillings. E.g. my favorites restaurant for chicken tortilla soup includes potatoes in their recipe.

    I will allow that potatoes in breakfast tacos are also acceptable (albeit breakfast tacos are far messier).

  30. 30

    @something fabulous: It’s as horrifying as broccoli pizza.

    “Congratulations San Francisco, you’ve ruined pizza!”

  31. 31
    Inventor says:

    The absence of a taco truck on my corner is a constant reminder of the horrors of Trump’s… well, let’s call it election.

  32. 32
    NotMax says:

    @Sister Golden Bear


    Still, although some have been known to give it a thumbs up, would take broccoli pizza over most any version of this any day of the week.

  33. 33
    hotshoe says:

    Best burrito I ever had was in San Diego, carne asada with French fries (instead of starchy beans/rice). I think it’s called a “California burrito”, and it’s a surfer thing.
    I keep thinking I will replicate it, or something like it, by taking an order of fries with me to Super Taqueria when I order a burrito there …
    Unfortunately, NorCal doesn’t seem to have caught on to this fabulous mix. Dunno why, we’ve got enough surf!

  34. 34
    Anne Laurie says:

    @joel hanes:

    I have been told and seen evidence that until the mid 1960’s, tacos were not served in any establishment in New York City.

    Can verify, anecdotally — and my old man was a foodie before that was a ‘thing’; he introduced us to restaurants that served stuff like Hong Kong fried elvers and cuban pressed sandwiches. (Not to mention forcing Euell Gibbons recipes on us; Jones Beach cattail-flour muffins were bad enough, but the fresh tomato ice-cream topping… ) I think if there’d been tacos generally available, he’d have known about them. As it was, I didn’t even know about Taco Bell until I went to college in Michigan!

  35. 35
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Sister Golden Bear:

    I will allow that potatoes in breakfast tacos are also acceptable (albeit breakfast tacos are far messier).

    Upon consideration, I think of burritos as better than tacos for breakfast regardless, because they’re easier not to spill everywhere when you’re on the move and/or insufficiently caffeinated.

    In fact, I tend to think of tacos as equivalent to hot dogs, the sort of topping-intensive food best suited to situations where you don’t worry about having to wear the evidence for the rest of the day…

  36. 36
    mrmoshpotato says:

    There’s a taqueria near me that has chorizo and potato burritos. They’re very good.

  37. 37
    NotMax says:

    @Anne Laurie

    Taco Bell began in 1962, in California.

    Kind of an interesting historical overview of the taco.

    When did the taco first make an appearance in the U.S. and where? What groups were instrumental in making it popular here?

    The first mention that I have seen [in the U.S.] is in 1905, in a newspaper. That’s a time when Mexican migrants are starting to come—working the mines and railroads and other such jobs. In the United States, Mexican food was seen as street food, lower-class food. It was associated with a group of women called the Chili Queens and with tamale pushcarts in Los Angeles. The Chili Queens of San Antonio were street vendors who earned a little extra money by selling food during festivals. When tourists started arriving in the 1880s with the railroad, these occasional sales started to become a nightly event. Tourists came looking for two things in San Antonio—the Alamo and the Chili Queens. Mexico was considered a dangerous place. The Chili Queens were a way of sampling that danger, but not at the risk of being robbed by bandits. The risk was that the food was hot—people described it as “biting like a serpent.” These women were also sexualized and seen as “available.” So the idea was that you would flirt with the Chili Queens. I think that image of [something] exotic, slightly dangerous, but still appealing has really persisted with Mexican food.

    When does the taco become a mainstream American food?

    The children of those migrants who came in 1910 or 1920 are starting to advance economically. They’re gaining civil rights; many of them fought in World War II and are claiming citizenship. Their incomes are going up and they’re eating more diverse things, but they’re still eating Mexican. A lot of Mexican American tacos are really adaptations of Mexican food to the ingredients that are available through the U.S. food-processing industry. Hamburger instead of offal meat. Cheddar cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomato—these are all foods that Mexican-Americans start to incorporate into their diet. Source

  38. 38
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Sister Golden Bear:

    (albeit breakfast tacos are far messier).

    What’s in these messy breakfast tacos?

  39. 39

    @something fabulous:

    Potato tacos are a thing! Super delicious says this LA person.

    Never seen such a thing.

  40. 40

    @Anne Laurie:

    Not to mention forcing Euell Gibbons recipes on us

    Did you eat a pine tree(some parts are edible)?

  41. 41
    NotMax says:


    Q: Why did Euell Gibbons have purple children?

    A: Grape nuts.


  42. 42
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @NotMax: NotMax!

  43. 43
    NotMax says:


    B-J After Dark can be a very forgiving potpourri, don’tcha know.


  44. 44

    @NotMax: (Looks @ NotMax, shakes head.)

  45. 45

    @mrmoshpotato: Breakfast tacos use the same as breakfast burritos: scrambled egg, cheese, bacon or chorizo, potatoes and various trimmings, e.g. grilled bell peppers, salsa, etc.

    They’re just messier to eat because they’re not self-contained the way burritos are.

  46. 46
    something fabulous says:

    @Sister Golden Bear: Broccoli??? NYET!! (and gotta agree with the angry dude: pineapple on a tomato sauce pizza is and remains even grosser than that. But I realize this is a battle we’ve largely lost.) ETA: never seen this movie! Looks like I’ve missed out.

  47. 47
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @Sister Golden Bear: Oh. I was hoping this iteration of breakfast tacos had a messy ingredient that was so awesome that the messiness could be overlooked.

  48. 48
    NotMax says:


    Could be it’s the traditional dunking it in a Bloody Mary that makes it messier?


  49. 49
    mrmoshpotato says:

    @NotMax: traditional dunking?

    It’s Tabasco that makes bloody Marys spicy, not chorizo falling into your drink.

  50. 50
    NotMax says:


    Admittedly, some traditions are much slower to catch on than others.


  51. 51
  52. 52
    Anne Laurie says:


    Did you eat a pine tree(some parts are edible)?

    Pine nuts (pignolia) were available at Italian markets, but too expensive, even then. I believe my old man did try harvesting his own from trees in Duchess County… and that’s when he realized *why* they were expensive; they’re hard to find at just the right stage, and a real pain to shell!

  53. 53
    NotMax says:

    Whoa. Just came back from rolling the trash container to the street. Can’t tell with the naked eye whether that is Jupiter or Venus hanging low in the southeastern sky but whichever, it is really, really bright.

  54. 54
    something fabulous says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: To be honest, have had them most often at home state which is admittedly tex-mex, but have had them at stand-up taco stands, too! More plain, with just taters and chorizo that way, but also YUM.

  55. 55
    donatellonerd says:

    tacos de papa are potato tacos and are definitely mexican. i was disappointed once when the potatoes came mashed. this certain looks edible and even good to me. and no i would not use peas in my guac.

  56. 56
    Butch says:

    If I tried to put a broccoli taco in front of my family I might as well take it straight out to the chickens. Not gonna happen.

  57. 57
    The Moar You Know says:

    I live in SoCal, taco ground zero. Tacos can have lots of things, but not motherfucking broccoli. I have spoken.

    Potatoes? Hell yeah. Got about ten places within a mile of my house that have tacos papas.

  58. 58
    Waynski says:

    I don’t care what that hot mess is. I wouldn’t eat it if you paid me to.

  59. 59
    Ohio Mom says:

    @joel hanes: Growing up in NYC, my first taco ever was when I was 11 or 12 in a Mexican restaurant in Greenwich Village. It was quite exotic.

    That would have been 1966 or 67, so fits your theory.

    May be a reflection of the 1965 Immigration law, which opened the gates to people from many more countries than had previously been allowed, and led to the explosion of authentic ethnic restaurants everywhere.

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