When I was 15 and we moved to Washington, I fully expected for the entire state to be covered in flannel with blue hair singing along to Kurt Cobain. Instead we moved to Tonasket, which was covered in Wranglers with poofy-hair-sprayed perms singing along to Chattahoochee. However, weekend six hour trips to Seattle fed my grunge expectations. Especially when we ate at Taco Del Mar.
Taco del Mar was founded in Seattle and beyond the fantastic food they served, the employees were peirced in places I had never seen pierced before and the shaved headed young ladies and superbly green hair colored boys were indeed covered in tattoos and plaid flannel.
Fifteen years later and I am taking a drive to the old coffee shop in St. Francis here in Minnesota and I see the home of fish tacos in a strip mall in front of a strip mall next to a Wal Mart. It doesn’t seem right. Could this be the same company that I fell in love with in my youth? The same business that I took a clear blue easy test in to find out that The Max was on the way? The same place my immediate and extended family would gather after church at on Sundays?
It was. I happened to visit the same day the owner of the franchise was working the counter and she explained to me how they found out about the business, when they opened etc.
I bought two soft shelled chicken tacos with sour cream and guac and tomato salsa. I waited to try them until I was inside of my car so that I did not find out that the taste was changed and horrible and so that she did not see my disappointed face after biting into the overflowing shell.
It was terrific. I should have sat there at the counter and let the woman watch my eyes open widely when I embraced the beauty that soon began to spill onto my clean jeans. Tacos always do that, especially the good tasting ones.
So, if you are ever in Coon Rapids (Minneapolis’ equivalent of New Jersey) go to Taco Del Mar. You will be greeted with surf boards on the wall and patio umbrellas trimmed in grass skits. And be brave and try the fish tacos. Enjoy!
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