Javier’s Taco Shop is a great place to go for cheap SoCal-style Mexican food if you are drunk. Or stoned. Or if you find yourself suddenly entwined in a summer action film about rebellious youths finding themselves in the middle of the rough urban landscape.
Tacos and grit
Javier’s Taco Shop is a great place to go for cheap SoCal-style Mexican food if you are drunk. Or stoned. Or if you find yourself suddenly entwined in a summer action film about rebellious youths finding themselves in the middle of the rough urban landscape. Or hey, maybe all three. Let’s see this scenario play out, shall we?
The camera pauses for a moment on Javier’s guacamole-green exterior: The cracked parking lot, the bits of garbage and newspapers breezing past in the cool Portland evening air. The steady red-and-white stream of traffic on Lombard. The cracked-out guy shambling past the taqueria, his stained and threadbare tan overcoat flapping a little in the wind.
Cut to you, in your beat-up red Pinto, smoking one last cigarette, nervously clutching the filter between dirty, sweaty fingers. Beside you in the worn vehicle is Alice, your feisty, moody, unpredictable partner in crime.
Alice suggests you both go inside to get something to eat and “figure shit out.”
Inside Javier’s your eyes are assaulted by a barrage of scantily clad women on posters advertising about half a million retailers of pre-paid phones and phone cards. The place is barely occupied, save for a family of four near the front window chowing down on a red plastic tray of burritos and Pepsi.
As the man behind the counter stares expectantly at you, silently waiting for you to order your food, alcohol-induced paranoia sets in. You stall for time by running your fingers through your hair and stare at the extensive bright yellow menu: enormous burritos, nachos, menudo, fried fish … the Brazilian phone card girls were one thing, this menu is a whole other beast for a drunk kid on the edge. Thankfully, that’s why you’ve got Alice.
She finishes reapplying her cherry-red lipstick and nudges you aside to order a small feast for two with the last of the money she stole from her parents back in Gresham: four chicken tacos, a large order of carne asada fries and two coffees. Amazingly, she gets change back from the $15 she hands over.
The two of you sit in an empty, hard plastic booth and stare at each other, gripping your cups of coffee like rosaries.
“What are we going to do?” you ask Alice. She shrugs and drinks her coffee. It’s thin, translucent, bitter and tastes like it’s been sitting in the pot for a week, but it’s successfully killing your buzz enough to focus on thinking up a plan. It also makes you a little jumpy.
Alice is about to say something, but she is cut off by a large tray of food set between you on the table.
The carne asada fries are, to your inebriated mind, perfect. A mountain of crispy, crinkle-cut fries are topped with greasy asada steak, green onions, half-melted shreds of yellow cheese and a thick dollop of sour cream. Your troubles with Alice and the dead drug dealer are temporarily forgotten as you drift into heaven. Greasy, carby heaven.
“You know, I think we’re going to be alright,” says Alice as she unwraps another perfectly cooked taco. “Yeah, we’re gonna be alright.”