Tacos for high schoolers are kind of a big deal. Whether you are scarfing them down before school starts, nibbling on them during first, or even pulling them out at lunch, tacos have become the staple food for MacArthur’s students. That being said, there are various taco shops around Mac to give your business too, but which one is the best? I decided to answer this question by conducting my very own taco test.
Taking into consideration taste, price, and proximity for the three categories I chose three taco shops to experiment with; Caracheo’s, Cholula’s, and Taco Vallarta. Next, I debated with some friends about which tacos were the most infamous here and Bacon & Egg, and Bean & Cheese won. (I also picked Carne Guisada because it’s my personal favorite). Now that all the parameters have been set, and places and tacos picked let’s get down to business
1st- Bacon & Egg:
I unwrapped the foil, and noticed the anti-climatic taco sitting there. From all I’ve heard about Caracheo’s bacon and egg I expected a golden light to ascend from the heavens once it was revealed to the world. However that was neither here nor there, and with no golden rays ascending towards me in sight, I dug in. Bacon was great, if you love crispy bacon like I do. The taco was good, but nothing to write about without a little green salsa in the mix.
If you need to know anything about this taco it’s that it’s extremely messy. I nearly missed a grease assault on my pants when I first unwrapped the taco. After that whole ordeal, and by ordeal I mean after the quick clean-up session, I noticed this overpowering smell wafting from the taco, which did smell delicious by the way, and at that moment I knew I was either going to love this taco or hate it. Unfortunately it was the latter and I didn’t enjoy the taco all that much. It wasn’t horrible, but it just wasn’t my taste. The bacon was limp, and honestly had a funny taste, not funny like ‘does this milk smell funny to you’ just funny like ‘I’m sure it’s not but for some weird reason this tastes like turkey bacon’. Over all, I can tell you before I even taste Taco Vallarta’s Bacon & Egg, that this is not the winner.
Taco Vallarta: $1.35-
First thing I noticed about this taco was that this baby was stuffed with bacon. Unlike the other two it wasn’t strips but still. Good thing too because unlike Cholula’s this bacon was good, and like Caracheo’s: crispy. Again after the first bite I realized this was nothing to write home about. So I tried salsa, green being my first choice because it’s my favorite and sadly noted that this salsa was very mild. Even with the watery salsa, which is another point against it because come on; chunky salsa all the way, it still was nothing too special.
First point to Caracheo’s.
2nd- Bean and Cheese:
After winning that first one I was excited to come back to this taco but honestly I was sadden by the quantity of bean and cheese. One thing I could put against Caracheo’s is that they are somewhat stingy with filling their tacos. Also the line and waiting time is insane, even on weekends. Anyway, on to the taco; same old refried beans with what I am assuming is either queso or really thick and gooey cheese, which may sound appetizing to some of you but for me it was overpowering. I’m not a big fan of bean and cheese, so it was obvious to me, the only way I’d down a bite or even two of this baby was with some salsa. Ahh, the green Caracheo’s salsa. Honestly, the salsa is what redeems this place from its long line and less-than-adequate stuffing rituals. In the end it was okay but again the cheese; Bleugh.
Again I braced myself for this one but was pleasantly surprised that the cheese was a quite nice cheddar and hey this one is actually better than Caracheo’s! The beans may be refried but the aren’t tasteless mush, and the tough(not at all in a bad way) taco, beans and cheddar cheese was a great combo. They all sat together well and I actually may have even gone in for another small mouthful.
Taco Vallarta: $1.35-
This taco was not all that disappointing. My only real complaint would be that it tasted like cheese and cheese and a little more cheese with some bean, taco. However, it wasn’t as bad as Caracheo’s but maybe that’s just because I’m partial to cheddar on a taco, and queso on chips. Nothing to write home about but not displeasing either.
Cholula’s, surprisingly, won this one.
3rd- Carne Guisada:
Meat chunks; tender and taste pretty darn good. Of course it’s not the best I’ve ever had, I feel that that title belongs to Panchito’s, but still it’s pretty darn good. That’s saying something because I’m usually very picky since this is my favorite type of taco. Add a little green sauce and this taco’s taste is a force to be reckoned with.
Not as full as Caracheo’s, and again a distinctive smell. Looking at each of the Carne Guisada tacos, I could easily tell you which shop it originated from just by it’s appearance. Carne is never the same everywhere, which is why it’s great to be open-minded and experience it everyplace you can. Now personally, the most important thing for carne is tender meat and a mouthwatering gravy because who wants just a dry carne? This carne was drier than Caracheo’s, but still it’s taste was something different. Instead of your normal focus on the gravy, they put the focus on the spices, which was pleasantly different because normally a kick from a carne comes from the salsa you add. I was surprised by this different taste and not at all turned off by it .
Taco Vallarta: $1.95-
Right off the bat my eyes picked up it’s rustic color. This isn’t uncommon, but it is few and far in carne. Meat was either huge chunks or shredded bits. Honestly, the color change was a mix up and threw hesitation into my first bite, but it came soon enough and this is how it went: disappointing. From the off putting color I was hoping for a seasoned kicker or something spiced the up but sadly it was like eating just dried pieces of carne. Bland and boring and overall saddening because the gravy’s my favorite but what can you do. I’m not sure the watery salsa can help this one out.
Ultimately, Caracheo’s it again, making it two for three.
Overall, Caracheo’s is my pick, and most likely the very obvious choice. Being the closest, having prices cheaper than the others, and having more to offer, that amazing green salsa and sweet tea or lemonade, whatever is your preference, makes it the best taco shop around. However, considering all the positive talk amongst the students and even the staff, maybe you all knew that. Cholula’s taste, and Taco Vallarta’s distance just couldn’t compete whereas the only complaints I could pin against Caracheo’s was that the wait was ridiculous and the taco less than adequately filled, but it makes up for it more than enough in other aspects.