Culinary no-no began on Father’s Day 2007, a beautiful summer day, when I wrote about grilling brats. And eating brats. And topping those brats. I was inspired by my wife, Jennifer who, in my admittedly unscientific opinion, ruins brats by squirting ketchup on them. Other dining taboos quickly came to mind. The original idea was to take this concept only a few months, till the end of summer and then pull the plug. Then the unexpected happened. People started reading Culinary no-no. Lots of folks. So we keep doing the no-no.
Suppose I mention O’Tacos. What comes to mind?
You’re thinking, hmm. Today being what it is that I must be referring to a popular Mexican item with a certain European twist. Like a hard shell or soft tortilla stuffed with shaved corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, maybe some onions, and Thousand Island dressing.
No way Jose.
O’Taco’s is actually a restaurant chain.
There are more than 200 locations… in France.
Franchises have also popped up in Belgium and Morocco.
O’Tacos restaurants have become so popular that they’re now being described as a phenomenon. Their claim to fame as mentioned in an above photo is the French taco.
WTH is that? Taco shells with snails? Tortillas with ratatouille (tomatoes, garlic, onions, zucchini, eggplant, carrots, bell peppers, basil, marjoram, thyme and other green herbs)?
Again, no, but those would certainly be high on our list of more than 600 Culinary no-no entries.
What goes into a French taco?
It depends on your interpretation. Is it a grilled panini? A wrap? What’s clear is that everything is jammed inside a rectangular portion, fries or rice, that’s right, rice included. Different meats such as chicken nuggets and merguez sausage, combined with several sauces including one of French chesse.
Couldn’t track down the French food writer who said described the French taco as a “hymn to junk food”
Here’s what you get.
The French taco restaurants are especially favorites of the 15-25 year old crowd, not just because of the loaded transformed sandwich, but the establishments have become coffeehouse-like hangouts for this group that cherishes the opportunity to gather with friends.
Customers tend to appreciate the size and price of the French taco that is far more satisfying than a Big Mac that leaves the French taco clientele hungry later in the day. McDonald’s prices in France are among the highest in the world. “Young people often say that after a Big Mac they’re hungry again at 4pm. After a taco, you wouldn’t be.”
Majd Hasnaoui, a former Paris nightclub events manager who opened four O’Tacos franchises in the Paris area in 18 months, said: “The kind of infatuation people have for O’Tacos – I haven’t seen that for a long time in fast food.”
Take another look at that taco.
Patrick Pelonero, the co-founder of O’Tacos, describes the French taco as “a take on the traditional sandwich – tortilla, shawarma, whatever you like to call it – and it’s easy to eat. Everything is inside, it’s clean, nothing drips on you, the meat doesn’t fall out the side.”
Really? Apparently he’s never seen me eat. Looks kinda potentially messy to me. And the combo? Sure, lots of items on a sub sandwich, hamburger, or hot dog get two thumbs up from me. But massive concoctions don’t always look appealing.
That’s an example.
Another I saw not long ago in Milwaukee featured Thanksgiving between two buns with a turkey burger, gravy, mashed potatoes, dressing, and cranberry sauce.
No thank you.
I’m just not a fan of throwing everything from your frig into one container and then microwaving.
Whenever food is concerned it’s really easy to find suppliers for a no-no: the nutritionists. In this case, OMG, they are very worried about a French taco’s calories. Far more than a Big Mac it turns out.
But want another no-no in addition to the sloppiness of the all-you-can eat shoved into a French taco?
How about the fact the number of O’Tacos is growing at such a rate that some observers believe the franchise can challenge and possibly surpass the fast food superiority of McDonald’s.
Yes, O’Tacos is a booming big business, in France, with 15-25 year olds. What about the children where McDonald’s mops up? Could they, will they stomach the collective mess that is the French taco?
CULINARY NO-NO BONUSES