ELOTES DEFINED

Posted in Ginaissance on May 17th, 2005 by Ed

Alright, in an effort to avoid being that guy – the one who makes obscure references with the hope of puzzling readers – let's talk a little more about the Elotes Guy.

There are two places in the world in which a person can walk down any street in summertime and be handed a hot ear of corn: Mexico and Chicago. Elotes are simply roasted or boiled ears of sweet corn. The men who purvey them from rolling carts emblazoned with that word are called eloteros. Chicago loves its eloteros. They are one of the things that make us, well, not Detroit.

elotes.bmp

The city frequently tries to regulate them to death or eliminate them, believing that street vendors carry a ghetto, third-world connotation. Balderdash. Eloteros are as harmful to the community as the ice cream man. Yes, I understand that a rolling wooden cart piloted by a struggling immigrant is likely to experience some lapses in city food hygiene codes. But it's corn, water, salt, and butter for god's sake. There's not much that can go wrong there.

Fr. Chuck Dahm of St. Pius in Logan Square (but you knew that was coming) has led the fight to save the eloteros from excessive regulation. The Chicago Reader has called the debate over their survival The Elotes War. We like things that are phrased in terms of military metaphors.

Lest they miss a chance to chug the Latino community's wang in exchange for political support, the Daley fellows appear willing to let the Elotes carts be. But we must remain vigilant soldiers – Minutemen ready to serve in the War should it become necessary.

Viva Elote!

MEXICAN STREET TACOS: THE ELOTES GUY WOULD BE PROUD

Posted in Ginaissance on May 15th, 2005 by Ed

We have already enriched your lives to the tune of several recipies (and historical primers) for classic gin cocktails. Now let us turn to the gastronomic soulmate of gin: the taco.

I want to emphasize two ironclad facts of taco preparation up front:

  • 1. Tacos are not easy to make (well). They appear to be rather simple, with only a few ingredients and limited preparation time. But the cooking process is deceptively tricky. My techniques were developed through extended trial-and-error, not to mention several batches of horrible tacos gone wrong.
  • 2. There is absolutely no way to make a healthy taco that doesn't taste like crap. Get over it in advance. This is not diet food. The preparation will involve beef fat rendered into liquid and copious amounts of corn oil.

    Taco Basics

    Tacos, like so many wonderful things in our lives, were invented out of necessity. As men and women worked in the fields in Mexico many years ago, wrapping meat and vegetable items in a tortilla had two advantages. It made the concoction edible quickly and with one hand without food falling all over the ground. Secondly, it could be made in the morning, wrapped, and stored for eating later in the day (today, this method of wrapping and storing a taco is considered a separate and distinct cooking method known as Tacos sudados – literally "sweaty tacos", which steam themselves into a soft consistency with time).

    There are dozens of kinds of tacos, each distinctly different, including al pastor (spit-grilled meat, usually pork, cooked similarly to the way gyros are prepared by slicing meat from a rotating hunk of lamb), carnitas (meat fried in lard with fruit), and dorados (flautas or "taquitos"). However, the type most commonly associated with Mexican food in America are tacos al carbon, or barbecued meats. As we will see, electric griddle preparation has largely replaced the open fire in most American taquerias. Being the most basic taco type, we will focus on this recipie here. The hard-shell Taco Bell-type tacos common in America are rarely eaten in Mexico.

    The first thing you need to do is start with a flank steak. Flank steak is not pretty. It has fat, and often connective tissue, attached to it. Our tendency in the grocery store is to select the nice red and fat-free piece of beef. This will result in a dry, flavorless taco. Suck it up and ask the nice butcher for a flank.

    flank.bmp

    The key to cooking any lower-quality piece of meat is preparation, either marinating, aging, or dry-rubbing. Home cooks will need to rely on marinating this particular cut. The essence of any meat marinade is something that will attack the meat and break its tissue down (an acid) and something to penetrate the meat and protecting its liquid content during the cooking process (an oil). Acid and oil. This is a marinade. Acid softens, oil retains the flavor (since the oil, not the meat's own water and fat, will burn away in the cooking process).

    Here is a good, basic marinade for tacos. I have found it to be effective for any meat. I also, as much as a white-ass Polack can verify these things, consider it to be, if not authentic, then at least plausible in terms of the ingredients.

  • 2 tablespoons of corn oil
  • 2 or 3 tablespoons of lime juice (I sincerely doubt they use vinegar as an acid in Mexico like most American recipies call for)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced (fast mincing tip: peel the cloves and then just hit them with a heavy utensil)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed (grocery-store cumin is acceptable)
  • 1 seeded, chopped, and minced jalapeno pepper

    Mix these ingredients well. Toss the steak (whole) into your marinade dish. Turn it over once to coat it, then cover and let stand for 2-6 hours.

    Remove the steak and discard the marinade. Cut the flank into about 8 strips (approx 1/2" to 1" wide). Clean, peel, and dice one medium white potato (no red or Yukon Gold for these purposes), one more jalapeno (seeded), and one small yellow onion. So you have:

  • approx. 8 strips of steak
  • finely cubed potato, jalapeno, and onion mixed in a bowl, coated with a small amount of corn oil to facilitate cooking

    Now heat up an electric griddle to medium-high heat. A frying pan really isn't going to work. Sorry. Find me a taqueria where they prepare tacos in a frying pan. I recommend the Villaware electric (usually less than $50) because it has no "hot/cold spots" and is amazingly stick-resistant.

    Put a generous amount of corn oil (don't overdo it, but don't leave it dry) on the griddle and allow it to heat up. When everything starts sizzling, add the cubed potato-jalapeno-onion mix. Allow this to cook (stirring and tossing regularly) for 5-6 minutes. Look for the onion to start turning translucent. When done, either push it aside or (preferably) remove it to a bowl, covered in foil.

    Add the steak strips. Allow to cook (slightly brown) on each side. Remove the strips to a cutting board and dice into small cubes. The middle should still be pinkish. You are not done cooking the steak. Transfer the meat (with its accumulated juices, oil, and other gross shit) to a bowl and cover. Re-apply corn oil to the griddle if necessary and begin frying two small corn tortillas. Then take two big spoonfuls of the meat and a spoonful of the potato mixture and begin cooking them together next to the tortillas.

    Are you still with me? You're now frying two tortillas on one part of the griddle and the meat-potato mixture (which you've already cooked once) on the other. Cook long enough to cook the beef through if any of it is still pink/red when you start. Place one tortilla on top of the other and scoop the meat mixture on to the middle. Remove from the griddle.

    Congratulations, you've just made a taco. Repeat until satisfied.

    Garnishing tacos is a matter of personal taste. Authentic tacos will only be garnished with cilantro and onions (although anejo cheese, salsa and/or rice is also added in some traditional recipies). American-style tacos contain cheese, lettuce, and tomato in addition to other toppings. Do what makes you happy. The purpose of cooking is to eat something you enjoy. If you don't like the "authentic" toppings (I personally find cilantro to be too bitter) then put whatever the hell you want on them.

    The key to this recipie is the cooking/resting/re-cooking of the meat. Taquerias cook their meat in massive batches either late at night (for the next day) or in the morning. It then sits in a little tub of its own juices and is re-cooked before being applied to your tacos. This is gross, but it is also the reason your at-home tacos never taste quite like the taqueria.

    (note: Do not salt during the cooking process. While salt is commonly added to your tacos in any taqueria, doing so while cooking risks drying the meat out. Add salt immediately before eating if desired.)

  • The Ginaissance Presents: The Canon of Great Men's Martini Recipes.

    Posted in Ginaissance on May 12th, 2005 by Mike

    "[The Martini is] the only American invention as perfect as a sonnet."

    H.L. Mencken

    “Martinis, my dear are dangerous. Have two at the very most. Have three and you’re under the table. Have four and you’re under the host.”

    Dorothy Parker

    "The martini is an honest drink, tasting exactly like what it is and nothing else. There is no sugar in a martini; no egg whites, no black and white rums, no shaved almonds, no fruit juice, no chocolate, and no spices. A martini is not served in a pineapple shell nor a piece of rolled up canoe bark, and there are no disgusting pieces of flotsam around the top. It is a clear, clean, cold, pure, honest drink …"

    Donald G. Smith

    I know what you are thinking. “Mike, I like gin, but drinking a martini comes with all kinds of bullshit.” Trust me I understand. This isn’t helped by a drinking culture where all cocktails, no matter how divorced they are from gin and vermouth, are considered martinis. Taking a peek at the Martini Bar Chicago martini list and seeing things like the Red Bulltini (Absolut Citron, Red Bull, Lemon Twist) makes me a little nauseous.

    Read more »

    Cinco de Mayo: Can we get drunk and eat tacos with a clear conscience?

    Posted in Ginaissance on May 11th, 2005 by Erik

    You might have noticed last week that all the shadiest of bars had strange vinyl signs advertising Corona with iconography reminiscent of a deserted Caribbean island. Then you look a bit further and notice that the cheap eyesore of a banner is actually advertising some kind of Cinco de Mayo celebration- or more appropriately advertising what Corona hopes to become the Mexican "Saint Patrick's Day."

    Read more »

    The Ginaissance presents: spice-flavored medicinal spirits, or: Gin, The Drink of Science.

    Posted in Ginaissance on May 10th, 2005 by Mike

    "The gin and tonic has saved more Englishmen's lives, and minds, than all the doctors in the empire."

    Winston Churchill

    The above statement is completely true. I already know what you are thinking: “C’mon guys. How has gin have saved more people’s lives than doctors? Do you know how hard doctors study? What their GPA looked like? (they certainly didn’t waste their time on webpages) Doctors represent science, which you can’t compare gin to in terms of benefiting humanity.”

    Oh your weak, fragile little minds. You are trying to force a conflict here, between science on one hand, and gin on the other – but what you are missing is they are in fact the same thing. One can’t force the search for empirically verifiable theories from the search to find a better way to get fucked up for less than $5 per 750ml.

    Or to put it a better way, the people responsible for your juniper-flavored hangovers are the same people extracting chemicals from plants and disproving the medieval superstitions about the body. Need examples? Well, you asked for it….

    OF COURSE IT WAS DISCOVERED IN A UNIVERSITY LAB SETTING

    Like most of science, we start off in the early 17th century. Specifically with a great man named Dr. Franciscus Sylvius. He was a Dutchman, whose actual name was Franz de le Boë before it was Latinized, who taught at Leyden University in the Netherlands. Like many a professor he held a vague grudge against something – the something in this case being the humoral theory, or the medieval school of thought that the body’s health is based on the balance of four elements – blood, phlegm, choler and melancholy. This theory of sickness relied heavily on interpretation and speculation, and very little on what we would consider independently verifiable science.

    Dr. Sylvius would have none of it. He is considered the founder of the Iatrochemical School of Medicine, which held that disorders in the body were caused by empirically verifiable chemical reactions. This blew a whole right threw the humoral theory, as it was easier to incorporate newly discovered concepts like “circulation” and “acidity/alkalies.” He helped to discover that blood circulates independently throughout the body. He discovered a fissure in the brain that to this day is still known as the “Fissure of Sylvius.” He also took it to the streets, creating the modern clinical. In 1664 he writes:

    "I have led my pupils by the hand to medical practice, using a method unknown at Leyden, or perhaps elsewhere, i.e., taking them daily to visit the sick at the public hospital. There I have put the symptoms of disease before their eyes; have let them hear the complaints of the patients, and have asked them their opinions as to the causes and rational treatment of each case, and the reasons for those opinions. Then I have given my own judgment on every point. Together with me they have seen the happy results of treatment when God has granted to our cares a restoration of health; or they have assisted in examining the body when the patient has paid the inevitable tribute to death."

    He also created the first chemistry laboratory (all you kids horribly burnt in a high school chem lab accident can blame him). He did many experiments in his Leyden lab – one of them involved diuretics. He once said : “One-third of all diseases can be cured by sweating.” Lord knows what he thought about the other way to remove liquids, but we do know he spent quite a lot of time trying to find the perfect diuretic. Not just any diuretic though; he needed one cheap, so it was affordable to the masses of people suffering from kidney disorders and stomach problems. He found his solution in 1650.

    Enter gin. This begins the long history of associating gin with the cheapest possible solution to a problem (not to mention having to use the bathroom an excessive amount). Fruit derived alcohol was very expensive back in those days – and nothing was cheaper than grain alcohol. Dr. Sylvius took the grain alcohol, and started searching for something else that was disturbingly cheap and also a heavy diuretic; he found the perfect match of both in “juniper-berry oil.”

    The Dutch called it jenever (juniper), the French called it genievre – the later being the name Dr. Sylvius gave to his new concoction. You and I know it simply, as gin.

    ALKALOIDS, COLONIALISM

    Let’s fast forward. Due to a series of events, including a bloodless revolution, yields of low-quality grain not suitable for market, and the Gin Riot’s ability to overturn Gin-related legislation (stay tuned for more details later in the week!) Gin became the drink of choice for the British people as they began to build their giant empire.

    The empire did come across one major stumbling block: malaria. The disease was a major problem in their colony in India. Malaria has been of the major killers throughout the 15th and 16th centuries, with no known cure in Europe. In the early 17th century, an Augustinian monk named Antonio de Calancha found a tree “whose bark, of the color of cinnamon, made into powder amounting to the weight of two small silver coins and given as a beverage, cures the fevers and tertiana [of malaria].” The name of the bark was Cinchona.

    It took quite some time for cinchona bark to catch on as a malaria cure, as it was closely associated with Catholicism in an increasingly Protestant world. Also the idea of drinking an awful tasting hot liquid was a world apart from the normal medicine of the time period – where was the bleeding? What humors were involved? Eventually though, Cinchona was accepted as the standard cure.

    Starting in 1817 the French chemists Pierre-Joseph Pelletier and Joseph Caventou began a series of groundbreaking experiments using mild solvents to isolate out active plant elements, acts which created the idea of chemistry surrounded around alkaloids. This would allow chemists to start playing around with plants using specific chemical elements that the plants contained, rather than having to makeshift units of plant extracts and bark mixtures. Within the first year they isolated the green pigment from plant, which they named Chlorophyll. In 1820 they isolated the active malaria fighting element in Cinchona – and named it quinine.

    Hop over a continent to the British imperial presence in India circa 1870. Malaria is a massive problem for the people of India. As it us spread by mosquitoes, it was very difficult to isolate to one caste of people, and as such hit the British soldiers stationed there. Quinine extract is the obvious medicine, however in its pure form its effectiveness is matched only by its repulsiveness. Dissolved in water, it made a beverage called “Indian Tonic Water.” Tonic Water available in stores these days is sweetened and contains a fraction of the quinine from those days. So picture less sweet, and significantly more bitter, Tonic Water. Awful, right? Worse, according to Merck Index it takes 2L of water to dissolve 1 gram of quinine. You’d have to drink gallons of it!

    Enter gin. The British, being the righteous bastards that they are, learned quickly that gin would take care of this dissolving issue. A gram of quinine dissolves in 0.8ml, or about 2,500x less liquid than water. Add a twist of lime, and you now have the Gin and Tonic – the perfect way to get buzzed, force indigenous people into the salt mines, and keep healthy by fighting malaria. Hence the quote from Mr. Churchill here that opened this article – the Gin and Tonic saved the British Army from malaria. Let’s see your chocolate vodka martini nonsense do that!

    So there you have it. Next time you are kicking back, enjoying a fine martini, tom collins, gin and tonic, or just plain old gin by itself, take comfort in knowing that what you drink stands for the virtues of empiricism, disinterested inquiry, theories based on observation and not on faith, weights and measures, and Science.

    BACK TO THE BASICS: GINANDTACOS.COM PRESENTS ITS RECIPIES

    Posted in Ginaissance on May 10th, 2005 by Ed

    How derelict is it to maintain a website about gin and tacos without making sure that the public is properly informed about how best to enjoy these foods? Very derelict.

    Come, take my hand. I am going to review the absolute basics for proper gin and taco enjoyment. You will be a better person by the end of this piece. We will focus on gin first.

    Read more »

    The Ginaissance Presents: Sir Robert Burnett, Fact or Fiction?

    Posted in Ginaissance on May 9th, 2005 by Erik

    On October 9th, 1999 the founding members of the Ginandtacos Corporation convened in Champaign, Illinois with the goal of getting drunk and eating tacos. Confounded by rising gin prices and pretentious college students attempting to tell us that Bombay Sapphire was “good gin” we set out to locate a cheaper gin. Having been previously offended by your mainstream cheap gin manufacturers (McCormick, Aristocrat, and Gordon’s come to mind) we decided to find a cheaper gin. Ed Burmila told a story of a cheap gin named “Crystal Palace” that sold for around $4.50 a bottle with a 1 dollar rebate coupon. Unfortunately, we were informed by local liquor stores that such shit was only sold “up north.”

    This did not bother us. We knew that a cheaper gin could be found. After many long hours searching all the liquor stores we finally decided on a regal looking green bottle. This gin was none other than Sir Robert Burnett’s White Satin. When we purchased this bottle we had no idea the legacy that we were starting.

    As chronicled on my now defunct university website this is what could have been heard from us that evening:

    • "Officer, there is a toy gun in my shirt"
    • "that pizza guy drank a lot of gin and got in his car to deliver more
      pizza"
      -will he ever know the impact he had on our lives?
    • "why are those people waiting in line for Joes….and there are a lot
      of them"
    • "what gin could possibly be cheaper than Gordon's
      London Dry……"
    • "…..He is a knight, he can't possibly make bad gin"
    • "He is only kind of my boyfriend."

    And so it began. That Christmas, Mike and I purchased for Ed a case (12 bottles) or Sir Robert’s finest, thus utilizing bulk discounts to make it the single cheapest per bottle price on gin any of us have ever paid.

    Over the years many things changed, but Sir Robert Burnett remained cheap. The simultaneous dirt-cheap price and fine flavor encouraged the ginandtacos.com staff to probe deeper into the mythology of this fine brand. Since 1990 the American version of this gin has been produced by Heaven Hill’s distilleries in Bardstown, Kentucky. (Known for manufacturing, distributing and marketing a fucking ton of shitty spirits) In 2002 Heaven Hill purchased the rights to distribute the gin worldwide (excepting Japan for some reason). Kentucky then became a premium source for London Dry Gin – and unfortunately leaving us with an inadequate “Heaven Hill” website to find out the history of this product.

    The website seems to agree that the gin was first produced in 1770. However, the two websites seem confused as to whether a man named “Thomas Burnett” or “Robert Burnett” was the man that first developed this elixir of the gods. Our original thought was that possibly Thomas was Robert’s father, however that quickly faded into fear that Robert Burnett was actually a mythical figure and we had simply been fed lies from the Kentucky gin producers- not an altogether unlikely conclusion.

    The first bit of evidence was the fact that Heaven Hill claimed that Robert Burnett perfected his recipe in 1770 when he was Lord Mayor of London. This would have been a great story- if it were true. A quick search reveals no one with the last name of Burnett to have been Lord Mayor until the 1900’s and a list for 20 years around 1770 reveals no Robert or Thomas Burnett.

    Lord Mayors of London
    1759 Sir Thomas CHITTY
    1760 Sir Mathew BLAKISTON
    1761 Sir Samuel FLUDYER
    1762 William BECKFORD
    1763 William BRIDGEN
    1764 Sir William STEPHENSON
    1765 George NELSON
    1766 Sir Robert KITE
    1767 Thomas HARLEY
    1768 Samuel TUMER
    1769 William BECKFORD second term
    1770 Barlow TRECOTHICK
    1770 Brass CROSBY
    1771 William NASH
    1772 James TOWNSEND
    1773 Frederick BULL
    1774 John WILKES
    1775 John SAWBRIDGE
    1776 Sir Thomas HALLIFAX
    1777 Sir James ESDAILE
    1778 Samuel PLUMBE
    1779 Brackley KENNETT
    1780 Sir Watkin LEWES

    Obviously this information was quite disheartening. How is it that the manufacturer of such a fine product could have lied to us in such a flagrant way? Did they not realize that a simple search of the internet would reveal their horrible falsehoods? The only logical conclusion was that they were misled by the British, no doubt in an attempt to make the Robert Burnett corporation seem more regal.Although feeling somewhat betrayed, I was not willing to give up. I needed to find out if Sir Robert Burnett actually existed. So I did what anyone in my position would have done. I signed up for a shady, temporary account at Ancestry.com.

    Here is what my search revealed.

    (All citations from the Times of London)
    On June 2nd 1790. Robert Burnett Esq served as a steward at something called the “Constitutional Society.” This society was celebrating “His Majesty’s birthday.” Tickets for this event were 5 “s”. I have no idea what denomination of money “s” is (shilling, sterling?) nor do I have any frame of reference to indicate whether 5 of them is dirt-cheap. What we do know is that the announcement makes reference to wine being included in the price- presumably gin was an extra cost.

    In October of 1795 Sir Robert Burnett is given some kind of congratulation from the mayor of London for being the Sheriff of Middlefex…and treating his prisoners well. Although I was quite disappointed to find out that Robert Burnett was not the mayor himself, a sheriff is more or less as amusing.

    Do you remember Robert Burnett Esq? Well, we find out that he is the oldest son of Sir Robert Burnett, and in joyous occasion for the Burnett family is married in 1795.

    I have absolutely no idea what this means. It seems to indicate that Robert Burnett the junior has been given some kind of Lord status over a county of some sort. Although I am happy to see that the Burnett family is doing so well, I am disappointed that so far the only reference to spirituous beverages has been wine served at a constitutional society dinner.

    In the late 1790’s England was attempting to militarize in preparation to fend off that little bastard Napoleon. It would seem that Sir Robert Burnett the senior and Robert Burnett Esq played a substantial role in recruitment into the armed forces. Here is a printed speech Sir Robert Burnett gave congratulating his wife and several other women for their recruitment efforts.

    Here is the one we have all been waiting for. Some rough son of a bitch named Stack is apparently accused of forging a will of some fellow from the East India Company. Stack claims he is innocent, and that the other accused, a shady individual named Blakely (who had several aliases) forged the will in an attempt to pay of a debt to Stack. It is unclear what actually happened but it seems that a bar tab might have been involved.

    Regardless, Robert Burnett comes to testify on the behalf of Stack, who apparently owned (owns?) a bar. And guess who one of his liquor distributors was? None other than Robert Burnett. We now know that Robert Burnett not only existed, but primary sources put him as a distributor of liquors. I am fairly certain that, in the 18th century, when you were selling liquor to “public houses” you were not simply a middleman, you were producing the stuff. Now we are talking.

    Although the Burnett family pops up several more times, this is the final entry I am going to give you. In 1819 Sir Robert Burnett has passed away and his estate is being leased. This is the advertisement. As least it can be said that while he lived, he lived well.

    To summarize, we now know that

    • Robert Burnett Jr. and Sir Robert Burnett were active in politics, however neither were mayor of London.
    • The Burnett family was very active in military recruitment
    • Most importantly, that the Burnett family dealt in liquors.
    • Finally, Sir Robert Burnett had a pretty damn nice estate.

    Unfortunately, none of my research resulted in specific reference to gin. This is primarily due to the fact that the only available source to me was the Times of London, although there might have been advertisements for Burnett’s Gin in the Times, they did not come through on the search. Someone with more experience in alcohol oriented history could possibly do better.

    When contacted, Heaven Hill Distilleries did not respond to allegations that their history of Robert Burnett was inaccurate.

    As a final note, when calling Ancestry.com to cancel my trial membership I was asked why I no longer wanted the service. Not wanting to say: "because it costs 100 dollars," I simply informed the fellow that it didn't suit my needs. When asked what those needs were, I politely informed him that I was doing research on important historical figures as they relate to my company- Ginandtacos.com.

    MEMORABLE MOMENTS IN GIN HISTORY

    Posted in Ginaissance on May 8th, 2005 by Ed

    (Editor's note: this represents the first part of the Ginaissance series, ably described in Erik's May 6 entry)

    We are all well-acquainted with the powers and benefits of gin; to recount them here, even during The Ginaissance, would be superfluous. Instead we cordially invite you to take a walk down memory lane with us as we look at some of the highlights in the history of gin and its soulmate the taco.

    Read more »

    Ginandtacos.com: Heading face first into the Ginaissance.

    Posted in Ginaissance on May 1st, 2005 by Erik



    When I was 16 I got my first proper job. I got the job in the winter at a shop that sold Outdoor clothing and ski equipment, which, as summer rolled around quickly became an outlet for patio furniture and home gyms. It was at this job that I first became fully acquainted with the concept of the "lunch break." Back in Des Moines, Iowa, we had a chain of fast food taco establishments known as Taco John's. One of these purveyors of fine Mexican food at a fair price happened to be a block away from where I worked. This, of course, resulted in many a taco consumed on breaks. My life, unbeknownst to me, was about to change- a friend of mine found employment at a Taco John's across town. The first day our work hours overlapped, I decided to drive to his Taco John's instead of the one nearby. I returned to work nearly an hour later with a huge bag full of overflowing "custom" fast food tacos at a heavily discounted price. When my boss began yelling at me for taking such a massive quantity of time for lunch, I calmly explained to him that my friend worked at the Taco John's across town and gave me a large discount…and would he like a Taco? He proceeded to eat the taco and never question my lunchtime outings again.

    Brian Hannan eventually quit that job (as a result of an increasing quantity of nausea in him and his friends from the constant taco smell on his person) but the memories of discounted tacos live on…that’s right Brian, if you actually read this, I am talking about you.

    Fast forward to the Christmas season of 1999. I was drunk at my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary party in Tucson, Arizona. (For all of you who know the story, yes it was the one where I tried to urinate out the patio door in my parents’ room in the condo where we were staying and needed to be led to the toilet by my mother) I was approached by two other college students who spent far too much time working on their websites and far too little time working on their schoolwork. The concept was that we could increase our procrastination threshold, and celebrate "Gin and Tacos"- two things that the three of us held dear in our hearts. Thus, Ginandtacos.com was born.

    Five and a half years later, we at the Ginandtacos.com Corporation have noticed that our attention to Gin and Taco related content has begun to wane. Aside from the ever popular Gin Reviews and the always insightful Taco Doctor there seems as though we have been lax in our duty to provide the viewing public with all their gin and tacos oriented needs.

    We at Ginandtacos.com believe that the time has come, and hence we bring you…..

    THE GINAISSANCE!

    That’s right, starting on Monday the 9th of May Ginandtacos.com will post a weeks work of daily Gin and Taco oriented content. I hope you all enjoy it as much as we do.

    In the meantime, I encourage all of you to share your favorite gin and or taco oriented memory.