Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Pretty on the Inside

By Rena Distasio

FEBRUARY 23, 1999:  My dad is a Beach Boys fan, which is something I found oddly incomprehensible for a couple of decades until popular opinion released my repressed fandom. I'm stupid, and I don't know what I like. Likewise, I sometimes might bark out a pithy fast food perspective and break for the bathroom before the gavel bangs. Getting the scoop isn't always fair, but I've got slop to scoop, baby, and the deadlines loom.

Last spring I busted a lip on Taco Bell gorditas with a couple of snotty swipes, mostly because the pita was too tough and chewy to be admitted into my puny universe. It wasn't a totally irresponsible opinion: I tried them in a box and with a fox, but the whole gordita thing was irritating. The little dog sucked, and the food did, too. So I attacked.

Still, over the months, I've found myself enjoying gorditas amidst the haunting stink of hypocrisy from the whispering lips of my anus. They fired the guy who was burning the pitas (stoner!), and I found out that the gordita might be the best pop album since Pet Sounds.

Taco Bell and I have had our ups and downs. I love their food but resent their unerring ability to get my order wrong and look at me like an insect when I mention it. I hate their communist sauce protocol. I hate their embroidered mission statements and martian color schemes. When it takes too long in the drive-thru, I swear they're having sex in the back room beside my tacos. I'm in a bad relationship, but I keep coming back. Call Oprah.

Despite that, I've been nagged by a notion that I somehow wronged Taco Bell and Alibi readers alike by smashing in the gordita's head with a pipe wrench. Now, thanks to new Baja Gorditas, I have the opportunity to make a half-hearted, luke-warm public apology.

Nine times out of 10, I'd say, the gordita's pita is a soft, spongy, succulent slab of bread-food every inch the equal of Wendy's counterpart. My experience with the fillings, of course, is limited to ground beef since my religion prohibits me from spending extra money for fancy meat. But I'm sure they're real tasty as well. Gorditas can be good, man, and the Baja Gordita is the best.

Pepper-jack Baja Sauce is subtle yet taunting with a vague familiarity. Is it black pepper? Is it Cheese? Is it the comforting smell of my own armpit? Perhaps Baja sauce, like Charley perfume, mingles with my own body chemistry to create a soothing, friendly flavor. In any case, the Baja Gordita is a legitimate, respectable Taco Bell selection.

They're still too heavy on the lettuce and tomato, though, and if I'd wanted a salad, well ... hell, I never wanted a salad. Vegetables just junk up the mix and make the sauce watery. They're always out of season, with one foot in a compost heap and the other in a petri dish. It might be what they refer to as "fresh salsa," since talking Mexican food with Taco Bell is a little like talking tits with a third grader, but you can't be sure.

There are still some problems and opinions I won't budge on, either. The Santa Fe Gordita, with its corn-beans and crummy sauce, is total horse shit. It's exactly the type of thing I find amusing about fast food innovation: a grand practical joke that preys upon human curiosity. The Fiesta Gordita is a cilantro packed pile of poo that tastes like some cretin from Vermont was trying to cook spicy. I don't think I know anybody who actually likes cilantro. And nobody likes a Vermont guy trying to cook spicy.

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