Thursday, October 14, 2010

Taco Shakes and a Side of Sour Cream

July, 1983. Naugle's Drive-Thru. Corona, California. 11:00 PM.

BING BING BING!

"Welcome to Naugle's, can I take your order please?"

"About fucking time," said the customer, from the comfort and safety of his Honda Prelude. "Gimme a macho combination burrito and a taco with sour cream on the side."

"Would you like something to drink with that?" I suggested, as per the official Naugle's Employee Handbook.

"Did I ask for a fucking drink? Just get me my order and make it fast, I'm in a hurry."

"Thank you, please pull - "

The Honda screeched to a stop at the drive thru window, Mr. Congeniality wedged in between the steering wheel and the back of the driver's seat. I estimated his weight at somewhere between "fat turd" and "disgusting fuckin' lard ass". His car was practically form-fitting. This guy needed a fast food burrito like Tiger Woods needs e-Harmony.

"That'll be three dollars and eighty-five cents."

He shoved a five-spot at me. I gave him his change, and started helping my co-worker Ryan prepare the order. Since it was so late at night, it was just the two of us and our assistant manager Dave on duty. Ryan prepared the macho combo burrito while I took care of the taco.

"Hurry the fuck up in there!" came a yell from the window.

Dave overheard this, and called out from the office, "You guys need help out there?"

"Nah, we're fine." With thoughts of revenge, I finished making the taco, wrapped it, and bagged it with the burrito. Tossed in a couple of napkins, and gave him the bag.

"There's no fuckin' hot sauce in here!"

I gently placed three packets of Naugle's Hot Sauce in his blubbery paw, with a slight smirk on my face.

He peeled out, and headed on his way as I shut the window.

About two minutes later, we heard a banging on the dining room door. It was locked, as 11:00 PM was the beginning of "drive through only" time.

Ryan and I went to the door. It was Mr. Congeniality, holding a half-eaten taco in one hand. His other hand was covered in sour cream. "Let me in so I can talk to the fucking manager!"

"Dave! A customer wants to talk to you! Should we let him in?"

"Yeah, go ahead, I'll be right out."

We got the keys, opened the door, and Hurricane Fatass blew right by us. Dave met him at the counter.

"What seems to be the problem, sir?"

"I opened my taco and I got sour cream all over my fucking hand! The outside of the shell was covered with sour cream! Who made this fucking taco!?"

Dave looked Ryan and me. "Who made the taco?"

"I did," I said. "I just made it like the guy ordered it."

Dave looked back at the customer. "What did you order, sir?"

"A taco with sour cream on the side."

Dave looked at me. "Well?"

"That's what I gave him! A taco with sour cream on the side!"

Dave had overheard the rudeness with which Mr. Congeniality had treated us earlier, so he was not quite as accommodating (or angry) as he might otherwise have been. "Well, sir, it looks like an honest mistake. Have a seat and we'll get you a new taco. Sorry for the misunderstanding, but in the future, you might want to be more clear about your order."

Ryan made the new taco and gave it to the guy, who left in a huff. We even let him keep the sour cream-slathered one.

What can I say, I take things literally.

I worked at Naugle's (now Del Taco) for a few months in the early 80's. During the summer I worked the late-night shift, along with several other high-school students and the aforementioned Dave, who was in his early twenties. On weeknights the late shift was very slow, so we found different ways to combat boredom.

Like the infamous Milkshake Contest.

At Naugle's, we didn't have the usual kind of shake machine where the chocolate came from one spigot, the vanilla from another, and strawberry from a third. Instead, we had a shake mixer full of, well, shake mix. To make an Dick Naugle-approved Naugle's milkshake, we first put in vanilla ice cream, then the flavoring (chocolate syrup, strawberry syrup, etc.), then the shake mix and we'd blend it all together. This setup made it possible (hypothetically, of course) to make any kind of shake we wanted by simply replacing the traditional chocolate syrup or vanilla with an ingredient of our choosing.

In some cases, it was great. The orange soda syrup made for a wonderful Creamsicle Shake, for example.

One boring evening, Ryan and I, along with Steve (grillmaster extraordinaire) decided to have a milkshake contest. We would take turns creating shakes, and see who could come up with the worst-tasting (but non-fatal) concoction.

The Rules:

1. The competition would consist of three rounds, one shake per contestant in each round.

2. All entries must include ice cream, shake mix, and no more than three other ingredients.

3. The creator of the shake had to take three sips, the other two contestants just a sample.

4. All three contestants must agree on the worst-tasting for it to be declared the winner.

Ryan kicked off round one with a blend of ground beef, cheese, and taco sauce. He dubbed this the "El Shako Con Taco". Ryan took a sip, dislodged some beef from the straw, took two more sips, and said, "Dang. Just tastes like a cold, liquid taco." Steve and I concurred.

I was up next. My recipe? Strawberry syrup, sour cream, and french fries. It tasted like salty strawberry cheesecake. Later, we made it again without the fries and it was delicious. Serendipity.

Steve countered with what he called the "Shakeburger". Catsup, pickles, and American cheese. After much deliberation, "Shakeburger" was declared the leader. It was the pickles that did it.

Round two featured the "Veggie Special" (tomatoes, lettuce, and onions), "Shakin' Bacon" (self-explanatory), and "Not 'Cho Shake" (tortilla chips, cheese, and guacamole).

"Shakin' Bacon" climbed to the top of the leaderboard.

In round three, Steve made a mustard shake, took three sips, and immediately yakked in the trash can.

He won.

For the longest time, I hoped beyond hope that the fat guy in the Honda would come back and order a shake. He never did.

d

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7 comments:

J.J. in L.A. said...

Did the "Shakin' Bacon" contain a piece of @$$??? : P

Eva Gallant said...

I worked at an A & W rootbeer joint. We used to make Swmpwater: half rootbeer, half orange. It wasn't that bad.

Boom Boom Larew said...

The guy probably had a coronary before he could return for the shake... too bad. I like the way you guys think, though. We used to do similar stuff when I worked at a Pizza Hut one summer. Mostly we just used the pizza dough to the throw at flies on the wall. Pretty effective!

Heff said...

Well Done. I'd actually like to try "El Shako Con Taco".

vickilikesfrogs said...

Way back in the distant past, I worked at Burger King. Do you remember Rodney and Rhonda Reindeer? Little beanie-type toys that BK sold at Christmas time? Yeah, well, one night my manager and I were bored. So we opened up all the Rodneys and Rhondas and arranged them artfully (and by artfully, I mean in sexual positions) all over the drive-thru area. This lady drove up, looked thru the window, looked again, and the expression on her face made the whole world smile!

Opening all the reindeer - free
Arranging them - free
Watching customers shit themselves - PRICELESS!

Laurnie said...

Oh my god, the Naugles sign alone brought back some memories of being a kid! Granted I think I was around 10, but man they had the BEST bean and cheese burrito.

Mariann Simms said...

I never worked in the fast food industry. Apparently I missed my calling. Sounds like fun...well, you know, fun for minimum wage and having to clean toilets.

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