Saying 'No,' to Taco Bell; Big-Business Organic; MGD Chic

Selections from Voracious, our food blog.

Taco Time, EVERY TIME! — Unless I want Mexican food. I have no idea why anyone would ever go near a Taco Bell when we have Taco Time in Seattle. And yes, I know and love the increasing number of authentic, family-operated taco trucks we have in the area. I frequent Cafe Moose, and when a craving for an Agua Verde Tunarita hits, I brave the crowds and typically order spicy catfish tacos to go with it. There are a handful of places in the area to have a reasonably authentic experience (though none compares to adventures like this), but I think comparing these places to Taco Time is ridiculous. Taco Time isn't Mexican food, but that's just fine. Hell, we may as well have a culinary constitutional amendment stating that anything accompanied by ranch dressing can only be claimed as Ameri-trash cuisine. Anyone who engages in an argument about Taco Time's lack of authenticity is the epicurean equivalent of those jackasses who insist they just LOVE Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music but think the Velvet Underground is garbage. Get over yourself seriously. This meal is accompanied by something called "Mexi-Fries," for chrissakes. I don't think they are trying to fool anybody. So what exactly are we dealing with here? In short: a whole-wheat tortilla, pinto beans, iceberg lettuce, sharp cheddar cheese, impossibly rich ranch dressing, and an assortment of diced vegetables (red bell pepper and celery among them), plus a handful of black olives and sunflower seeds. You will notice that my ranch is on the side. I assure you, I'm not one of those annoying everything-on-the-side girls, but in the case of Taco Time, a ranch-on-the-side request is essential. Left inside the tortilla, the thickness of the ranch is irretrievably compromised by heat and runs everywhere. Things get soggy, flavors are washed out, and most distressfully, the opportunity to dip the Mexi-Fries in the ranch is lost entirely. One final note, somewhat confidential to TT: This meal was enjoyed at your Wallingford location. Very nice people work there, and I have no real complaints (besides, complaining about fast food is a practice best reserved for those in the early stage of dementia). However, I have to question your judgment in continuing to display a clip from Seattle Weekly, circa 1990, in which your "futuristic" architecture is applauded. Granted, I'm not sure where we were coming from with such an observation to begin with, but it's 2008, and that yellowing clip in a cheap frame isn't doing you any favors aesthetically. Don't worry, I'm still your No. 1 fan.— Hannah Levin The McDonald's of Organic Fast Food? Seattle-based Organic to Go seems to have hit its stride. Sales of the ready-to-eat sandwiches and salads, all bearing that enviro-friendly organic certification, hit $4.7 million during the last quarter of 2007, the company reported today. It's still operating at a loss, but that hole is filling in quickly. It finished the quarter $1 million in the hole compared with a $2.4 million loss during the fourth quarter of 2006. Wall Street liked what it saw, and Organic's tiny share price rose more than 6 percent to close at $1.41. With stores in Washington and California, it hardly makes Organic to Go a green Burger King, but it's good news for businesses catering to the Al Gore crowd, and the birth of another polar bear in Germany (remember the adorable Knut?) can only keep interest in Earth-friendly businesses high. -- Laura Onstot First Call: Who Says MGD Pint Glasses Aren't Swank? Barkeep: Travis Brown, Owner Watering Hole: Swank, Kent Pick Your Poison: Pometini This seems to be everywhere these days, and at Kent's newest gay hot spot, it only makes sense to elevate it to the status of signature drink. Brown's take on this new standard is less tini and more Sex on the Beach. The blend is vodka, pomegranate liqueur, orange juice, and a splash of 7. But what really made this drink for me was that Brown served it in an MGD Sonics pint glass. This is Kent, bitches! So why are we drinking a pometini? "You'd asked for a drink that was one of my favorites. I've found very few people that dislike it; sometimes it's too sweet." What's with the suddenly ubiquitous pometini? "I think youÄôve seen over the last year, the pomegranate in general has become very popular, very healthy. PomegranateÄîitÄôs that time.Äù I have to say, I'm impressed that you just went for it with the MGD pint glass. No frilly martini glasses for you, eh? "The reality of the pint glasses is it's cheaper for us get them from our beer vendors than stores. There's also Seahawks and Huskies. We have a little bit of everything in our glassware." And just how long should we ride this pomegranate bandwagon? I'm not opposed to sweet candy drinks and alcopops per se. Hell, I loved those Key lime Bacardi Breezers. But the pometini thing seems to have gotten a little out of control. A few weeks ago I had one at a happy hour. It was served in the requisite tini glass and tasted like watered down pom liqueur mixed with sugar mixed with a splash of vodka. Brown knows better. He says he combined the best of the recipes that came with the liqueur to come up with his concoction. And with that splash of 7, it's pretty strong, like "Oh my God! I luh-uhve George Michael!" strength. When you're a gay nightclub in Kent, isn't that exactly the chord you're trying to strike? -- Laura Onstot  

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