The best food is always local food. The more local, the better. No pizza from any big chain can compare to a simple pie cooked by somebody who owns a house in your town. A hamburger will always taste better if it is cooked by somebody who has kids who go to a school in the area. And tacos, the epitome of delicious simplicity, always taste better when served out of a local truck. This is the sentiment that convinced us to try Olivo Taco, the local chain of taco trucks that you can’t help but notice driving around Rockford.
Nobody named Olivo actually owns these taco trucks – the owners are brothers Mahmud and Said Zatar, who have their silly-looking faces plastered prominently on every single truck. They’re serious eye-catchers, and when you’re driving down the street and see one of them, they do a good job at asking you “wouldn’t you like a taco?” Well of course we’d like a taco, dear Zatar brothers, we’d love one. We’d really, really love one.
The Grilled Cheese Burrito was introduced at Taco Bell back in like, July, and it wasn’t until now that we’ve decided to review it. It’s not like we hadn’t had it since it came out – we’ve eaten it several times and, spoiler alert, find it really good. We’re just still bitter about the Taco Bell Menugeddon that happened around the same time period. We don’t want to give Taco Bell much attention right now.
But like a siren, the Grilled Cheese Burrito calls to us. We hear its song. The promise of crisp cheese on the outside of the burrito, and a filling almost but not exactly like our old favorite, the Beefy Fritos Burrito. We cannot resist. We must, must have this burrito. And so we did. And we had it again, and again, and again.
We broke our own oath over this thing. We pledged that we would stop eating at Taco Bell, that they had hurt us for the last time. But we knew we couldn’t stay away. It’s too, too hard. Hit the jump and you can find out what makes it so irresistible for yourself.
You may have heard of the Gandhi Mahal, an Indian restaurant in Minneapolis that was burned down in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. They now have a fundraiser for the rebuilding fees you can donate to, and have stood in support of the protests.
We had eaten at the Gandhi Mahal before, and found the food there excellent. It was a sobering reminder for us of just how real the whole event was. It was also a reminder for us that the Gandhi Mahal is actually really great. We don’t eat at our local Indian restaurants as often as we should, which is a huge mark of shame for us. This train of thought is what brought us to an even more local place in Bloomington: equal parts ‘a desire to help’, and ‘a deep anxiety that local food will be lost in the pandemic’.
We miss sitting down at a real restaurant. We don’t mind takeout, we love it, but sometimes we really do want a regular, sit-down experience. Don’t worry, we’re not one of those people who will start bullying restaurants to open back up – we know this lockdown is for a good reason – but it does make us sad. If we’re struggling with this, imagine how the restaurants themselves are handling it! The answer is, for the most part, “poorly.” Restaurants that simply do not work as take-out joints have been forced to transition, and it’s not going smoothly for most places. This can be a problem with multiple factors: the food isn’t suited for take-out, they don’t have any ecosystem in place for take-out or delivery, or the owners don’t want to work out the business plan for transition.
One restaurant we’ve been wanting to go to, El Loro in Bloomington, is a sit-down Mexican place that has made the transition to take out. Have they managed to crack the code? Hit the jump to find out.