Sunday, October 28, 2012

Henry J's Taco House: A Brief Essay

We live on the #southside of town. Yep, that's southside with a hashtag, because some of the things we see in our 'hood can only be explained with a "#southside" attached to it.

The southside offers a plethora of mediocre fast food restaurants. We generally try to avoid them, but it just so happened that one evening Jason and I were headed out to help some friends move but needed something quick to eat. Consequently we found ourselves in the parking lot of a particularly jazzy joint named Henry J's Taco House.

Now, before I continue, I must note that the name says it all. I am fully aware that the rest of this brief essay will come as no surprise to you. And yet, I press on as a dutiful purveyor of the facts.

We are from Arizona. It is an understatement to say that coming from Arizona, we are passionate about our Mexican food. We knew that Des Moines Mexican food probably wouldn't be at the caliber we're used to. There's a fast food Mexican chain here that sells tater tots and burgers. It's undignified, but it's happening.

Back to Henry J's parking lot. We shared a weak smile and got out of the car. The building was small and lacking in any aesthetics. You know the type. I passed the window and a cigarette butt grimaced back at me from the windowsill.

Upon entering the shop, we were greeted with an equally uninspired interior. The kind you forget about even before you've left. Because there was no line to speak of, an assuming lady asked us what we would like to order. Jason asked what their most popular tacos were. She answered, "flour."

And this is where I promptly laughed out loud. I had to turn my head and snicker into my arm before I could recompose. I just can't even... Anyway, we ordered our exotic "flour" tacos and sat down to wait. There was more giggling about the flour tacos, and I started watching a fly happily buzzing in our general area. Jason then directed my attention to the beeping in the background.

The beeping, my friends, was the microwave.

After our food was heated, and well, probably reheated because there was several microwave beeps, our order was up. It was as expected... fried flour taco shells with a mix of ground beef and beans (beans?!), lettuce, and a cheese-like product (essentially, cheese would be offended to be associated with it). Jason had beans and rice, I had beans and some type of noodles (noodles?!) that tasted something like soy sauce (soy sauce?!). Ultimately, we had already made up our minds about Henry J's Taco House long before we got our food, so nothing changed.

Moral of the story? Never trust a man named Henry J is he offers to cook you a taco. Especially if he sticks that taco in a microwave. Unless you also enjoy writing brief essays. Then by all means, go for it!


  1. ha ha!!! how sad! This was very entertaining!

  2. This is HYSTERICAL. I was really hoping it would turn out to be a surprisingly good meal, but alas. Perhaps you were too, for a fraction of a second. :) I'm with you. There is a wide chasm between good Mexican food, and bad, baaaaaad "Mexican" food.

  3. OMG. I am both horrified and laughing hysterically... a microwave?! Soy sauce? Amazing.

  4. ahhhhh as a girl who is PASSIONATE about her tacos this just kills me! KILLS ME! if the menu isn't neon and in broken English, it's going nowhere. And what the tater tots??

  5. Bahaha! You need to write a book! Because you, my dear, are brilliantly hilarious. Seriously. And I love you.