As we head toward Thanksgiving, I'm reminded how food has played a role in my life.
My mother was the best cook and her Filipino food rivaled any restaurant fare or fast-food joint in the world as far as I'm concerned. However, on the rare occasion that we went out to eat, we did have some favorite haunts. One was Del Taco.
In fact, this was a must-stop location on our frequent family trips to and from Las Vegas. It's been years since I've been back to the Mexican restaurant, so it was a surprise to learn that Del Taco has opened not too far from me. The Southern California-based chain plans to open about 80 restaurants in the region.
I took my family to the restaurant near the Golden Triangle Mall in Denton to see what they thought of the food. Here's our family review:
1715 SOUTH LOOP 288
Denton, TX 76205
The atmosphere: The Denton location is the first to have a modern look with a decor in fruit-and-veggie colors such as lime green, orange, reds and yellows. On the walls are words such as "Cheddar Hand Grated Here" to remind you that menu items are made-to-order with fresh ingredients. My husband said the new design looked like the inside of his macho taco, and that was a good thing.
The food: The regular fare such as the classic taco (99 cents) and beef burrito ($2.59) was just how I remembered them -- full of seasoned ground beef and hand-grated cheese. The "classics" became a quick fave for our 9-year-old who barely let me taste them before he gobbled them up. My husband and I tried the new Carne Asada Taco ($1.79) and Pollo Asado Taco ($1.79), which come with a slice of lime (as it should) and compared well, if not better, than some of the competitors forays into the street taco craze. The aforementioned Macho Taco ($1.79) really impressed my husband who especially liked it drizzled with the Inferno salsa. However, the most impressive items on the menu for us, surprisingly was not the Mexican fare. I apparently had been depriving myself of the best kept secret at Del Taco: the Bacon Double Del Cheeseburger ($3.29) and crinkle-cut french fries ($1.49). Our son called the fries "the best he's ever tasted" and when I said the burger tastes like what the Big Mac used to be, my husband responded, "It's what the Big Mac wants to be." Who knew that the Del Taco burger made with 100% ground beef patty, cheese, bacon, tomato, lettuce, onions and special sauce on a sesame-seed bun would rival that of my beloved In-N-Out double-double? In fact, readers of the OC Register in California named it the best burger over In-N-Out's.
What kids will like: The variety in the menu will allow your teens and your tots to find something to please their picky palates. There is a Kids Loco menu that consists of fries, a kid's drink, a toy and a choice of a taco, burrito, quesadilla or hamburger.
What parents will like: You could easily feed a family of four for $20 or less and there are also promos and coupons on the Del Taco web site (including the recent 39-cent taco promotion). If you sign up for the fan eclub, you will also get deals e-mailed to you.
Del Taco plans to expand in Texas