Tag Archives: Taco Bell

Quick Treat: I do not pay $18 for a burrito

The title of this treat says it all. At the moment Perth is going through a Mexican phase. There is a flood of Mexican influenced franchises popping around Perth including Zambreros, Mad Mex and the newbie Guzman y Gomez that hails from the East Coast. These places are quite reasonably priced but then again they are no Taco Bell 99 cent menu. Gosh I miss my USA college days where Taco Bell was a staple. There is a reason why Taco Bell isn’t in Australia. I learnt that in one of my early law classes. It’s similar to why Hungry Jacks is not Burger King in Australia…someone else has bought the naming rights. That’s your fun fact for the day. So unfortunately for expensive Perth the 99 cent menu does not exist. While cheaper franchise Mexican restaurants pop up in Perth there are also the expensive ones where a burrito, which is your stock standard wrap with rice, beans and salsa could cost you more than $18. Let’s face it; a burrito is just a glorified sandwich. It doesn’t require chef training. Last time I checked rice was one of the cheapest staples going around and beans don’t carry caviar prices. So I question why the Flying Taco in North Perth has $18 burritos. Apparently they taste great but I ask this fundamental question…do they taste better than the $12 burritos you can get at the franchise outlets. Could you go to Coles and make something similar and feed a family of 4? I’ll put my money where my mouth is. Watch out for the $18 feed a family of four burrito challenge in an upcoming treat. Now as we all know I don’t wait in line so I missed out on a free burrito on Guzman y Gomez’s opening day. I did venture there a couple days later and was impressed by the industrial interior design, which screams Melbourne. The menu is quite extensive and I was so happy to see 2 tacos for $8. Guzman’s neighbour, La Cholita charges $5 for one taco and they are tiny. You definitely get bang for your buck at Guzman. The tacos are full to the brim with filling and flavour. I recommend the steak chipotle. The next time I went there I tried the barramundi burrito for something different. I tried to healthify my burrito with brown rice and whole wheat. It costs $2 extra to go healthy so my burrito was edging to $18 but still only $13. The $5 breathing room counts, that’s sixteen 30 cent cones you could buy instead. The burrito would benefit from chilli sauce, I like it hot. I won’t use the dreaded B word (bland) but it was borderline. Let’s face it, the brown rice probably didn’t help it. While the Mexican phase continues to sweep Perth and Australia at large, we still have a lot to learn about this cuisine from our good friends in the USA. Mexican food shouldn’t be expensive to be tasty. I hope one day one of the USA chains; Taco Bell, Chipotle or Qdoba makes its way to Australia’s sunny shores so that our wallets can be heavier and our mouths burn on fire with flavour.

Disclaimer: Sorry for not taking any photos. Both times I went to Guzman y Gomez I was starving.

Guzman y Gomez Mexican Taqueria Northbridge on Urbanspoon

Treat 14: HOLA SenoRITA!

I am loving this current mex/tex/rex/etc phase that is hitting Perth, inspired from the laneways of Melbourne, further inspired from the actual location of South and Central America without the Northern American touch of Taco Bell.  Now don’t get me wrong I love me some Taco Bell, why wouldn’t you for under $3 you can get a burrito, nachos and a taco thanks to their 99 cent menu.  When I was living in the USA back when the Aussie dollar was only worth 63 cents, Taco Bell was a staple.  Now with the Aussie dollar at $1.05 (weakest in 7 weeks) it would have made that $3 even cheaper.  Though Taco Bell is low in dollars it’s high in kilos, so your wallet and body gets heavier.  I love my mum’s version of Mexican, spices from her mother country Lebanon she adds a dash of cumin while she sautees the onions and garlic, bit of mixed spice for extra flavour and Meemo Khouri’s healthy touch of putting as many vegetables in that chilli con carne.  She marries kidney beans, onions and mince with zucchini and then the wrap (wholewheat of course)/burrito is given more love with avocado, chopped tomato, spinach and carrot to make a rainbow burrito.  Use your imagination – add some snow peas or even bean sprouts for crunch.  This healthy and delicious meal definately has me back for seconds.  It does make going out for Mexican tricky business, with the standard and sloppy fake looking mince tacos topped with sour cream, random red sauce and shredded lettuce no longer satisfying.  So me and Taco Bell have grown apart what with me being in Perth and Taco Bell unable to get a visa here makes this long distance relationship challenging.  So I am left with Perth’s overpriced Mexican fare, shout out to Sante Fe Subiaco if it wasn’t for $2 Tuesday tacos you would not see me in there.  On a random visit to Cabos San Lucas a popular place for celebrities to hang out – think Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler not that I stayed in the same resort as them.  I’m guessing there’s was 5 stars and mine was 3 stars but still pretty amazing with a pool and overlooking the beach.  To think that a week before Beyonce partied there – yes it’s true New Idea told me so.  This is all besides the point, the food we came across was cheap and delicious.  A favourite combination of mine was pork and pineapple, the irony was that my meal came from a chain restaurant in Mexico.  This flavour combination was (to quote Manu) a marriage in heaven.  I think about it till this day but have yet to find it in Perth.  I have ranted and raved quite a lot about this blog but I am very close to a lot of latinas out there, Jennifer Lopez, Gloria Estefan, Ricky Martin, Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull are ones that come to mind.    So this won’t be the last time I blog about this cuisine and the rate Perth is popping out Mexican restaurants (2 in less than 6 months I rest my case) there will be more talk about burritos, nachos, fajitas but finally our vocab for this cuisine will expand.  As you can tell I might need to do a bit more research, i.e. more eating to really master and understand the foods from such a massive area.  I will not let the 4 year olds out there be the only ones speaking Spanish (thanks Dora), I too will say hola, gracias and per favour.  As you can tell those were the only Spanish words I picked up in Mexico, which puzzled the locals who thought I was from there.  I digress, back to the food.  All this time I wanted to talk about my Melbourne experience with Mexican food and on my long list of food I was so excited to go to Mamasitas.  This restaurant takes no bookings, it’s 10pm on a Friday night and we were told there was another 1 hour and half wait.  So we….did not wait and went to Chin Chin instead which I will treat about another time.  I will mention Newmarket Hotel in St Kilda, which with it’s cool industrial interior would fit perfectly in Subiaco or Mt Lawley.  Sadly it’s all the way in St Kilda.  I was with a vegetarian friend so we kept the options to that and why not because the quinoa and zucchini salad was amazing.  I actually now make it for lunch (add a few more vegetables – I am my mother’s daughter after all), squeeze of lemon, add some parsley and bang a lunch that packs flavour and is healthy.  To quote Justin Timberlake, ‘Senorita I feel for you.  You deal with things that you don’t have to’ – as you can tell Justin was writing about me.  I have to deal with overpriced Mexican food, I can’t even get the pretend $3 kind but watch this space….on Friday I am going to give La Cholita in Northbridge a go finally!  As this fad is in full motion in my three attempts to eat there I have been turned away (or told to wait for more than 2 hours – same same but different).  Not anymore amigos – on Friday I will do what’s never been done before (by me) stick it out for the wait and have my Mexican food (even if it might be overpriced) and get a taste of Melbourne/Mexico that I dearly miss.  Hasta la vista baby!