Monday, April 19, 2010

Overrated: Tito's Tacos

When I first moved to Los Angeles everyone told me I had to try Tito's Tacos. "Trust me, dude, they're super awesome and super cheap!" So I did. And I loved it. I started to spread the word to all my fellow LA transplants: try Tito's, thank me later.

That was a long time ago. Upon my recent return to Tito's I am officially here to tag it overrated. Tito's quirky characteristics, which once allured this LA virgin, now evoke the complete opposite. Yes, it is cheap and for the money, it seems like a bargain. But, whenever something is described as "good for the money" that means it isn't good. McDonald's is good for the money. Dairy Queen is good for the money. 7-Eleven coffee is good for the money.

The Tito's enchiladas are bland. The chips tasteless. The guacamole and salsa too watery. And the famous tacos, while still the stand out, are nothing to write home to mom and dad about.

The uniqueness of Tito's is the fact it can't really be compared to any other place. There really isn't anything like it. Sometimes, however, being in your own league doesn't make you the champion. Okay, that was a horrible analogy, but you know what I'm getting at.

There's also the whole aesthetic of the place. The assembly line workmanship which dazzled me upon my first few visits now seems sweatshop-like and sad. Patrons stare through the large glass windows at the open kitchen like a zoo exhibit. And, like most giraffe attractions, the workers look incredibly unhappy to be there. The interior design, once charmingly ugly, now reminds me of my junior high Taco Bell heyday. There's just no character.

While I know this sounds like just another outsider ranting on L.A. institutions, I hope you realize how hard it was for me to come to this conclusion. I wanted to love Tito's like I used to, but it simply cannot be done. In the words of the dreaded Celine Dion, my heart has gone on...