2009-02-05

The Covenience Store Files: Taquitos



Strictly for our own bemusement my good friend, Mr. O'Flacker and I took it upon ourselves to go round to local gas station’s convenience stores and do a comparison of all things taquito. The rules were as follows: 1) Go to as many different Quik-E-Marts type places as possible in the given area 2) Buy one of every available flavor taquito 3) Consume 4) Critique the bejeezus out of the entire experience - from concept to the tasting, whilst keeping it short and at least mildly interesting to the idle reader.


I myself do not frequent the innards of Quik-E-Marts too often. I go to get gas, pay at the pump, and depart. Only on road trips has it ever become imperative that I enter into such establishments – (pretzels & Gatorade are my fuel – diff entry). The "diminutive taco" worked its way into my zeitgeist via Mr. O'Flacker and his late night, drunken escapades. (Drunk running out of the bar, stumbling towards the 7-Eleven, angrily shouting slurred statements of taquito munchies). So in need of something bloggable, I was compelled to try out the little fried fiends who, like Sirens of old, lured drunken men to their doom.

Living in the middle of suburban sprawl we didn’t have to venture far to find the goods. In the end, we acquired samples from 7-Eleven, Circle K, and RaceTrac (Marathon, Hess Express, and Mobil – for shame) The findings were placed on the middle rack of the oven and broiled for about 30 seconds to heat them back up (no microwave – we wanted to ensure crispy)

We hunted and gathered the following:

7-Eleven Buffalo Chicken, Taco, Monterey Jack & Chicken, Supreme Omelet

RaceTrac Beef, Chicken; Pepperoni Pizza; & Cheesy Pepperjack

Circle K Ranchero Steak & Cheese; Chicken & Pepperjack; French Toast & Sausage (FTS); Sausage, Egg, & Cheese (SEG)


We had to travel to two Circle Ks to find the crispy goodness and then had to overcome the first marketing hurdle – Circle K has “Tornadoes” not taquitos. With the pumped up name we hoped for pumped up flavor or better ingredients, but all we got was the same exact taquitos available at RaceTrac with better PR. The Ranchero Steak & Cheese of Circle K was simply the Beef of RaceTrac. Same with the Chicken & Pepperjack vs. Chicken. RaceTrac is known here for their cheap gas, which must result from not getting fancy when it comes to their taquitos.

Taste wise, the FTS was the clear champion in the breakfast category. A simple maple breakfast sausage wrapped in fried tortilla – eloquent in simplicity. The clear as an ummuddied lake loser in the same category was the SEG. Dissection proved there was the thinnest strip of sausage, as well as some "egg", but the rancid rollup had spent to much time in the warmer and almost caused my good friend and colleague to hurl taquitoness. He was so desperate to get the taste out of his mouth he had to grab the bottle of Jack from the freezer and take a swig (or two) to cleanse his pallet.

In the non-breakfast category the best of the best of the night was a dark horse from RaceTrac: Cheesy Pepperjack. Unwrapping it we found chicken, corn, black beans, celery, dried red pepper, and a southwest type sauce! The RaceTrac website had no mention of this particular taquito, so I'm chalking it up to the local management making a good pick from the food truck list. Kudos.

Overall though, 7-Eleven has the dominant taquito experience. Reason #1: they are the most expensive ($1.29/each as compared to .99 elsewheres), and therefore, following the rules of Capitalism, are the best. I surmise that the price is driven up by the cardboard containers used to keep your little, fried fajitas happy and warm until you destroy them in your gullet. The others had readily available, cheap paper sleeves in which to chuck the fried baby tacos.

Even the act of acquiring the taquito is more elaborate at 7-Eleven. In order for you to hold one for yourself it is necessary for the trained service technician behind the counter to get them for you, giving the impression that what is being sold is far too valuable to leave unattended - like diamond rings or donuts. Truly it is a place worthy of celestial praise serving the manna of the mass production gods.


Additional Notes:
  • Pimento cheese was used in the Chicken & Pepperjack.
  • The Buffalo Chicken and Taco from 7-Eleven had a nice spicy kick to them
  • Gas issues started about half way through the taste test.
  • I made it through the whole night before my bowels woke me about half an hour earlier than normal
  • Sam's Club sells two different brands' 30 packs for under $12

4 comments:

  1. my god, this is awesome

    ReplyDelete
  2. All I want to do is go to 7-11 for a taquito.

    Sir your drunk.

    Here have my keys it's not a crime to walk to 7-11 for that yummy goodness.

    I wish I could say I was the drunk one stumbling over to 7-11 from obrians but I was there to witness it all.

    ReplyDelete
  3. yummy goodness indeed

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous4:17 PM EST

    On behalf of the manufacturer of these cylindrical gems, we thank you for your patronage and critique. We hope that drunk or not, you will continue to frequent your local C-Store for more of the same.

    ReplyDelete

 
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