Those new taco-things from Taco Bell

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I grew up eating tacos once a week. My family liked them because they were easy, delicious and inexpensive to boot (buy meat on sale, freeze, cook in Crock-Pot, shred). We never had a box of those premade shells in the house; my mother would pour a half-inch of oil in a pan, quick-fry a fresh corn tortilla, flip it to make a pocket, hit it with some salt and drain it on a towel. I still make tacos that way, except now I'll just use some onions and cilantro rather than the shredded cheese and lettuce-tomato toppings we had when I was a kid ... unless I'm getting tacos from a truck or a roadside stand, and then I take (and happily eat) what I'm given.

All this is prologue to seeing a commercial the other night for these things -- Taco Bell's new "Cantinas Tacos":

cantinas tacos

It's in response, no doubt, to people's changing tastes and the food cart movement that's particularly popular on the West Coast, where tacos have always been popular. But these things don't look like tacos to me -- they look like the molded plastic sushi and sashimi you see in the windows of some Japanese restaurants, or those periodic attempts by pet-food manufacturers to make dog food look like human food. (Meat bits in the right-hand taco, I'm talking to you.) Also: are those tiny cubes of feta or are they onion dice?

All this taco-talk left me thinking about where the nearest Taco Bell might be. Turns out -- according to the TB website -- there isn't one on the east bank of Orleans Parish, so you really do have to run for the border if you want one of these things:

taco b

But why do that? Recipe for the world's easiest tacos under the jump. Jump!

• Corn tortillas (little tiny ones if you can find them -- try Ideal Supermarket on S. Broad)

• Half-inch of oil in a pan

• Meat of your choice, shredded (or fish, or whatever you want)

• Onions diced fine

• Cilantro chopped fine

• Lime wedges

• Salt

Heat oil in shallow skillet. Using tongs, quick-fry tortilla, flip, then bend it into the shape of a taco shell. (This takes seconds.) Hit tortilla with some salt, then put in a bowl lined with paper towels to drain and cool.

Fill with a bit of meat, top with onions/cilantro, squeeze a little lime over the whole thing.

Eat. Repeat. Drink beer.

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