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Report: Umpteenth Annual Taco Ride

Posted by on June 20th, 2009 at 9:38 am

[Report by ride leader Ben Salzberg via the Shift list. This is part of our ongoing Pedalpalooza coverage. See all our reports and photos here.]

The taco ride is a victim of its own success. A lot of people really love to ride their bikes and eat tacos, it seems. Over 100 this time!

We had 4 stops, which I called the week before to warn.

1) Ole Ole, 21st and Burnside
I tried to organize people into affinity groups (chicken, carnitas, etc.) but the money-handling and ordering was a mess. I took a pre-order for the next stop by show of hands.

2) Cha!Cha!Cha! NE 26th & Broadway
Here our tacos were coming out as we arrived. I paid for the whole shebang and then collected cash. It came out all right but there was som confusion and people maybe ate some other people’s tacos or didn’t pay. Still I tried again for Chilango’s.

3) Chilango’s, NE 15th & Prescott
I called in our order (118 tacos!) and designated someone else to lead the crowd (Sorry I’ve forgotten your name — Thanks!). We got there and they were trying really hard but they were hand-making tortillas (some of the best in town BTW) and it was slow. Orders and finances worked out pretty well again, and I think people had relaxed expectations this time. Still my favorite fish taco in town. The carne asada was also superior.

4) Don Pancho, NE 20th & Alberta
As people were getting antsy I sent them off on their own the 10 or so blocks to Don Pancho to order individually. They were ready for us and had live music! Awesome! I had a weird pulque (coco-tamarindo) and a great cabeza (beef cheeks) taco.

Whew! I was so bushed and needed a drink after that. I went to Zilla and had some awesome fancy sake to wind down.

I like the idea of enforcing smaller rides, maybe neighborhood-based, and doing like 3 next time. 25 people max per ride maybe.

Any other suggestions are welcome!

Photos: I only got a couple snaps.

Ron took some also.

And Bob has some awesome stuff on the book of face.

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One Comment
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    Rich June 29, 2009 at 7:56 pm

    Ben, thank you so much for organizing this ride, it was a blast! I can attest some of the confusion at Ole Ole as I was one of the people taking orders. It was pretty chaotic and I was sure that I was going to end up forking over some cash just to make things come out okay. But I am happy to report that after all the dust settled there was enough cash to leave a $32 tip on a $120 tab, plus an extra $5 in the tip jar when two tacos went unclaimed and I raffled them off to the highest bidder. I asked people at Ole Ole to add $.50/taco as a tip which added a buffer and also eliminated the need for coins and nobody objected. Have to say the staff there earned every penny, especially when you factor in that they make almost nada on food and hardly anyone ordered drinks at that stop.

    Completely understand wanting to scale things back next year, but if you could be arm-twisted into doing a large ride again I’d be more than happy to help with orders so you can actually relax some of the time and enjoy the ride. Maybe I could get a handful of taco options from each place and make an order pad before the event, and then dispense tickets as people pay in advance. No ticket, no taco…hopefully a little more orderly and a way to reduce the odds of you or anyone else getting stuck with a bill just for volunteering.

    Anyway, thanks again for organizing the ride, take a bow!


    PS – Elly, if you are reading this a HUGE nod to you for the thankless work on the pizza ride AND for somehow being on every corner in town two+ weeks with camera at the ready. How do you do that? Are you a ninja?

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