‘OMG, a Pool of Grease!’
At veggie joint Tacotarian, that’s a good thing — a testament to its taco authenticity
Kristy: Okay, well, this might not sound like a compliment, but I mean it as one: This looks like a Mexican-themed nursery, for a little hipster baby. Very Instagram-able.
Heidi: I did notice an elderly woman at the counter, but almost everyone else here is really young. Sometimes I get the feeling that all the rabid vegans are in their 20s.
Kristy: That makes sense. But there seems to be a good mix of people — a few guys who are out to business lunch.
Heidi: I was kind of shocked, pulling into this strip mall, at the number of restaurants here. There’s Stefano’s back there, and something called Munch Box, which I assume is sandwiches for stoners. Or bikini-line waxing.
Kristy: There’s also a foot spa and chiro-yoga. I don’t know what that is.
Heidi: Me neither, and I’m a yoga teacher.
Kristy: Food is here!
Heidi: Oooh … this Baja taco — the beer-battered avocado one — is really good. It’s a flour tortilla, but it’s the flaky kind. That one’s my favorite so far. Also, it’s the only one I’ve tried.
Kristy: It has all the flavors of a fish taco, minus the fish, but I don’t miss it.
Heidi: Because the avocado is beer-battered! I like the jackfruit one, too, but I still get a little of that pungent, sour taste of the jackfruit.
Kristy: It’s supposed to be pork, but it tastes more like chicken.
Heidi: Oh, my God, there’s a pool of grease underneath the barbacoa taco. Can you see this? That’s the funny thing about some vegan food — you think of it as healthy, but there can be a lot of fat in it.
Kristy: Right. In high school I had so many vegetarian friends who were pizza-and-fries vegetarians. I’m like, Okay, although I eat meat, I also eat more vegetables than you do.
Heidi: Right. I suppose it depends on why people are doing it. If you’re doing it for health reasons, you have to be careful in places like this; but if you’re doing it for ethical reasons, I guess you don’t care about the calories.
Kristy: One thing about vegetarian food and cafés is sometimes the food isn’t very flavorful. And I get it — your taste buds are different, not tainted by animal fats, so you probably have a better sense of taste, actually. But with this, even as a meat-eater, I still find it totally satisfying because it’s really greasy.
Heidi: And salty! I prefer crunchy tacos, and whatever they used for the filling in this Gabacho — I think it’s Beyond Meat — tastes exactly like taco meat made with beef. I could seriously eat five of these. … Okay, so what do you think of the asada fries? It’s turning into a giant blob.
Kristy: Totally. Yeah. It’s its own thing now. Try the meat on its own. It’s sweet, and not like sweeeeet!
Heidi: Yeah, too much sugar in there for me.
Kristy: It would be good enough without the meat, with just the beans and the other toppings.
Heidi: You mean the 19 other things that are on there? Let’s see, jalapeños, guacamole, refried beans, cheese, pico, sour cream …
Kristy: No complaints. I tend to think of asada fries as bad-decision drunken food.
Heidi: Yeah, total Brett-Kavanaugh-at-3 a.m.-on-a-Sunday food.
Kristy: What do you think of this bean-and-cheese taco?
Heidi: I wanted to get it to see how it stacks up against the standard vegetarian taco you can get almost anywhere. It’s better than the ones I make at home. I hate to admit that.
Kristy: The service is good, too. This is totally anecdotal, but a lot of veg places I’ve gone to, the service sucks. … Tacotarian seems on it on multiple levels. It’s satisfying even if you’re not vegetarian. And if you are, who needs pizza and fries when you can have tacos?
6135 S. Fort Apache Rd. #402
Hours: 11a-10p daily