Friday, October 18, 2019

Apple of My Eye

Place: Taco Bueno
Lunch: Big Freaking Taco (no tomato), Mucho Nachos (no tomato), ice water

Since emerging from bankruptcy under new ownership, the rallying cry to Taco Bueno from Buenoheads has been universal on social media...


Fans would argue Bueno’s problems started when they changed their queso.  It apparently led to a sharp (some say 30 percent) drop in sales.  That along with a narrow and precarious financial position (lots of debt) is said to have broken the chain.  Things only got worse as they changed other recipes and even I got to the point where I couldn’t eat that crap.

So fans reacted with precautionary joy recently when Taco Bueno announced they were back to the old recipes, including the queso.  And I’m here to tell you that this was the best meal I’ve had at Bueno in a couple of years.  And that made me very happy.

It's October, my favorite month of the year.  The fall colors arrive, the air is crisp, and so are the apples.  It's apple season, and I tend to embrace it.

But does that mean actual apples?  Or apple flavored stuff?  Well, both really.  I tend to have a supply of Fuji apples on hand.  Good flavor, not too crisp, not too soft.  Reasonably priced.  I used to occasionally get Honey Crisp, but they're a little too crisp for me and quite expensive.

I have fond memories, as do most Portlanders, of the caramel apples at Morrow's Nut House in Lloyd Center.  Made right there in front of you.  Very popular treat.  People still talk fondly about those on the Portland groups.  Morrow's had other locations too, but everybody ties their memories to Lloyd Center.

The newer bigger Aldi stores have a snack pack with apple slices and caramel to dip them in.  Doesn't get much easier than that.  Or cheaper.

There's always apple cider and apple juice.  Everfresh even put out a line of different apple juice flavors based on specific apples.  Fuji, Honey Crisp, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, McIntosh, and Pink Lady are all available options.  Tree Top has a Honey Crisp in their Pure Pressed line.  I've had the Everfresh Honey Crisp and loved it.

My all-time favorite milkshake is Steak n Shake's Caramel Apple Milkshake.  The milkshake itself is apple flavored with hot caramel infused in it.  It's just amazing.

Have you ever tried Popeyes Cinnamon Apple Pie?  It's actually fried like McDonald's used to do, and it's rolled in cinnamon and sugar.  Heaven.  They gave me one as an apology for a delayed order (my local Popeyes tends to throw free food at any problem...sometimes a completely ridiculous amount of it) and I've been addicted ever since.

There's even the occasional candy.  Cow Tales has a caramel apple flavored version that really does taste very caramel appley.

Enjoy October.

And the apples.