July 11, 2013 by Rebecca Herman with tasting by Wayne McBrayer
The long-awaited Taco Tuesday arrived on July 9. It was the talk of the town … well, at least among Padres fans. It is a new promotion for the summer – something to get the fans excited and in the ballpark – a great value for the whole family. And the commercials all showed Mark Kotsay eating them with zest … tagged as “Kotsay Approved!”
Well … that was the idea.
Before even sampling the tacos, there were naturally some concerns.
- How will they keep up with demand?
- How many places will you be able to buy these $1 tacos?
- Will they taste good?
- Will they cause a bigger line for the restrooms?
So the big day arrived and we also arrived at the ballpark. As soon as we came up the escalator we began seeing signs for “Taco Tuesday” … “Five for $5” … etc. They looked to be prepared.
After BP, we ventured to one of the stands on the 100 level … no waiting (it was early) … and ordered 3 for the 2 of us. They seemed confused about how to plate them. Really? Our order was first plated in larger container but the cashier yelled at the person behind the window that “those are ONLY to be used for orders of FIVE!!!” So they took our tacos back behind the wall. Seriously? Meanwhile, a family of 3 had walked up and ordered 15 tacos – they were served and on their way before our replacements were provided … each in an individual small container. Now, how does this save money? Anyway … here they are:
The appearance was not at all appealing. Honestly, I’ve seen my cat cough up more attractive looking items! In case you can’t tell – they are “chicken” street tacos. However, a large portion of the pre-mix is onions and cilantro. Note: “pre-mix” … this is what the cashier called it when I overheard a customer ask for no onions. Luckily, there was a large bowl of packaged hot sauce on the counter. It served to improve the appearance and the flavor … somewhat. I ate mine rather quickly and was unimpressed. Don’t plan to have another. Wayne agreed to be photographed while he sampled his:
We each concurred … you could taste onions and cilantro more than chicken (perhaps a good thing) and the hot sauce certainly was an important component. The even bigger issue with the tacos was the tortillas. The texture and taste was raw and stale … and they fell apart almost immediately … making it very challenging to eat.
As we headed to Hodad’s for our true meal, we passed MANY people with the 5 for $5 plates. When we got to our seats it was interesting to watch person after person carrying in the 5 for $5 plates so it was evident that the promotion was effective – at least from a sales perspective. One guy a couple rows in front of us sat his taco plate on the ground after a few bites. He then got up to carry it OUT to a trashcan. When I asked him what he thought, he mirrored our assessment above but he said it was, “the worst taco he has ever tasted” and that “it wasn’t worth even trying to finish it.” He went on to complain about the tortillas – ask the usher for a comment card – and order from in-seat service!!!
On the positive side:
- The Padres are trying to generate some fan excitement and value-added deals;
- They were well-prepared to serve thousands of tacos;
- Many regular food stands were converted for Taco Tuesday but more importantly, they set up temporary tents in numerous locations to filter the crowds to those lines so they wouldn’t affect other food sales;
- Hot sauce on the counter was a wise decision; and
- They were only $1 and you do get what you pay for.
It was only the first week and maybe the quality of the taco will improve. Time will tell. In the meanwhile, we suggest Hodad’s for the best value, taste, and atmosphere in the ballpark!