Taco Tuesday Take Down Semi-Finals

armadillo grill sign copy
Armadillo Grill winning.

Welcome back preoccupied readers to the Pot and Pan Handler’s diabolical blog where any resemblance to literacy is strictly coincidental, but any and all flavors are entirely intentional. Today we’re taking it to the streets of Chapel Hill, NC where we’re we’ve pitted eight taco joints against one another to find the top chicken soft shell taco. We’ve culled the fat as we are in our second round and the remaining four taco dives all made it through the first round. But one of these heavy hitters will be going down and they only have themselves to blame because to our surprise, Today’s Taco Tuesday Take Down results in something we never saw coming… A disqualification.

Round 2 the semis

We’re back in Chapelborro on Franklin St, for those of you who have never been, picture a college campus whose student population is still entirely dressed by their parents. Now move the campus ten feet to the right and throw in a bunch of restaurants and bars, local and corporate, welcome to Franklin Street, Chapel Hill/Carrboro.

Regular readers will already know, but as we’re optimists, and we hope that someone besides the NSA will read this, please allow us a minute to recap. Armadillo Grill sent City Bus packing (hand pressed tortillas and superior seasoning went a long way.) While Carrburrito’s Ala Mexicana chicken, sent Chipotle off to graze in a gestation crate free defeat.

Now that it’s the second round, we couldn’t wait to compare Armadillo’s and Carrburrito’s winning chicken tacos to one another and then snottily and judgmentally pick at flaws, whether real or perceived in an apples to apples comparison. Eventually rejecting one, while selecting the other as an inherent superior like d-bag judges on a bad, reality, food show.

So we nursed a couple of Full Steam Pilsners at Armadillo’s while waiting for take-out chicken soft tacos. After we procured the aforementioned chicken tacos, we went down the street to Carrburrito’s. Then during the ritual ordering of chicken tacos we saw it… The Gloves.

carburrito copy
So hip even the latex is vintage.

The Gloves

Worn by the appropriately tattooed hipster employ, we’ve all seen ‘em, slightly off white, latex, food service gloves. Individually, as an escaped restaurant industry worker, I’ve worn more of these than I can count and this particular pair is aged, and aged very well, like Anejo tequila or a cave aged cheese made by a Tibetan monk who has an aversion to changing his gloves. These gloves are no longer off white, now they are the patina of dingy grey like an old timey photo. The elasticity in the wrists had long ago given up and went wherever elasticity goes when it gives up and now the wrists of these gloves hung limply off of her wrists like punctured, lifeless balloons. Oh well busy night, we figured and ordered.

As usual we take the inconvenient edge of waiting for food for 10 minutes off by procuring a couple of Negra Modelos, sat at the cook’s bar and watched the action. While sipping on watery Mexican beers we decided to watch and see if there is any evidence of their making tortillas in house here, as that’s how they roll at the Armadillo. That’s how we saw it. Eventually the line banged out all the orders and the girl who took our order, began to clean the glass of the sneeze guard in front of their line. Well done we thought as they say in the restaurant industry: time to lean, time to clean.

We watched as she sprayed glass cleaner all over and cleaned it all thoroughly with a kitchen towel. New customers walked in the door she quickly walked behind the counter, took their order. Now watching carefully, as I wanted to see if they pressed their own tortilla, imagine my horror when I watched her take a new tortilla from a shelf above the grill, and quickly make a burrito. After cleaning with window cleaner, she never once changed her gloves and she prepared more food. Gross.

The once numerous places those gloves could’ve been, have just become more numerous. I imagine she can get a leg up on tomorrow’s work by bringing them home with her, where she can use them to clean the toilet and have them on and ready for work the next day. They must save a fortune on latex.

We took those tacos home and regretfully threw ‘em away, we have no idea where those hands had been. So there ya’ have it Armadillo Grill’s seasoned chicken and handmade tortillas, moves into the finals where they’ll take on either Lime Fresh or Bandido’s. Whose chicken soft taco will reign supreme?

Armadillo tacos... copy
Home made tortillas, cheese, chicken and sour cream. The drunken frat boy in you will love these tacos.


Coming soon:

Taco Tuesday Take Down continues with the semi-finals and finals not far behind. Also our travels take us to the Windy City, where we went on an unforeseen adventure. Like many adventures this one would leave us with hangovers so intense they were eligible for jobless benefits and still pollute the Chicago skyline as a hazy, foul smelling, cloud, that really knows how to dance, to this day. We’ll see ya’ there! –The Pot and Pan Handler

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