Taco Time

Check out the column on the right. Roarrr! (courtesy of Gawker/Taco Fusion)

For twelve years—from the end of high school, throughout college and into graduate school—I worked at a Mexican restaurant in my hometown. And if there was a position in the place, I worked it at one time or another: dishwasher, cook, host, cashier, waiter, bartender, manager… everything but cocktail waitress.

I couldn’t pull that off if I tried, so I never bothered. Not to mention I looked terrible in fishnet stockings, which seemed to be a necessary tool in order to rake in the tips, at least for my lounge-dwelling colleagues.

This also means that for twelve years—some of it part-time, but most of it full-time—I ate from one to three meals there each week (at first) and from one to three meals there each day (a bit later).

In other words, Mexican food became one of my native cuisines. And I’m not even counting the times I ate at other restaurants in the same food genre—not Taco Bell, though.

I’m not sure what the hell they’re serving there. If you believe the lawsuit filed by that firm in Alabama a few years ago, though, then it was hamburger that was only 35% beef—the remaining 65% included soy, wheat, oats, maltodextrin, lecithin, corn starch, anti-dusting agents… what they call “binders” and “extenders” in the industry.

Basically, it’s just another way for someone to save money while still collecting their cash from consumers like you and me. Sketchy, to say the least.

The good news is that the people at Taco Fusion in Tampa, Florida can never be accused of cutting corners. If anything, they make it a point to provide only the highest quality meats for their customers. The usual suspects are there, of course: hamburger, steak, chicken. But there are others that push the envelope a bit more and take customers on a safari of culinary delights.

I used the word safari for a reason, because the most recent addition to the menu at Taco Fusion is none other than the King of the Jungle… Simba himself… or perhaps Alex from Madagascar.

Don't even go there.

Yummy… but you’re gonna need some floss (courtesy of Grub Street NY)


That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. Atop a list that includes shark, bison, beaver, otter, rabbit, octopus, camel and even Rocky Mountain oysters—the testicles of bull calves, for those unfamiliar with this backwoods delicacy—each of them layered into flour tortillas and topped with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes and special sauce—is the mighty lion.

And believe me. Some people are not amused.

“There is obviously an animal welfare concern and there is a bigger picture,” said Jeff Kremer of Big Cat Rescue, a group that (duh) rescues lions and other big cats from “bad” situations. “The bigger concern is where do we, as a society, draw the line for what is acceptable for moral and ethical behavior.”

Incidentally, the lion meat used in the allegedly delicious tacos—which retail at $35, by the way—came from an approved distributor who raises the animals specifically for meat to sell to consumers. It’s legal, Kremer. Deal with it.

Better yet, consider taking the advice of Brad Barnett, a manager at Taco Fusion: “If you don’t like it, don’t eat it.”

Word to your mother.

As strange and interesting as this story is already, I can’t help but feel that Taco Fusion missed an opportunity to add yet another controversial ingredient to their exotic repertoire. It dawned on me as I read another story, this one from Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.

Paul and David White were arrested and charged with animal mistreatment recently when police found disturbing evidence behind their farm.

In several mass graves were the remains of two cows, twelve goats and… wait for it… sixty horses! Maybe more!

I have seen the future! (courtesy of Margaret Wallace)

Horse tacos? Why not?

Horse was all the rage in Europe just a few months ago. And if it’s good enough for Ikea‘s Swedish meatballs, it’s good enough for me.

Just don’t eat the horse you rode in on or you’ll have to “hitch” a ride home! Bon appétit!

Posted on May 14, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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