After taking a much-needed trip to Indianapolis, Indiana to visit a friend that recently moved there, I was able to finally try Gran Tako on my way back with my friends Mayra and Lupe. Mayra and Lupe are students at Bryan Station High School that I had the privilege of meeting through a Christian ministry that I volunteer with, called Young Life. Being a Spanish major, any chance I get to take part in Hispanic culture or to speak Spanish, I jump on it. Mayra and Lupe, both being Mexican, growing up in Aguascalientes and Chiapas, help this gringa to really understand and be a part of the Hispanic community. Any questions I have about food, mannerisms, translations of Spanish words, or culture, these girls always come in clutch. We have a very unique friendship. I fortunately got to meet them while helping drive high school students to a retreat in Louisville. That was two years ago. Now, fast forward to this month, we’re spending a weekend visiting my best friend and their old Young Life leader, Emily. After painting walls until 3 in the morning, then waking up 6 hours later to move furniture into Emily’s new house, we grew up quite the appetite.
We decided that we would make a quick stop at McDonald’s for the 3 hour trek back to Lexington, but all knew we would still be hungry once we got back.
“Casey, let’s get tacos when we get back!!” Mayra exclaimed through the echoes of Justin Bieber in the car.
“HECK YES!!!” I shouted, overly excited that I finally had the opportunity to go with these girls. I had been anticipating going to Gran Tako for a while since hearing about it in class, and these girls affirmed all the rave about it for me. Mayra would send me snapchats everyday of how she was there, in which would cause me to send back a jealous selfie asking when we could all go together.
LOW AND BEHOLD, THAT DAY FINALLY CAME. I finally got the gran experiencia of Gran Tako. Although this Gran Tako isn’t the same one that we talked about in class (the one on Alexandria Drive), it was a sister restaurant to it, being on East New Circle Road. Same idea. Close enough, right?!
Once we pulled in the parking lot, I recognized the plaza it was in. Then, I saw it. The chunk of meat gouged on a metal rod, being cooked and cut by an employee just outside the door. That’s al pastor for ya. Exactly how we had seen it on the video of the other Gran Tako.
Feeling antsy, I began walking up to the counter thinking that I ordered there, until I was embarrassingly pulled on the arm by Mayra directing me to a table and laughing at me. Between the humidity in the air in the restaurant from the steam and the embarrassment of not knowing what to do in this new situation, I couldn’t tell which I was sweating from. Honestly, it was probably both.
Tacos were the obvious order. I just had to have them. I needed them. And a Piña Jarritos, of course.
Looking at the menu, contemplating whether or not I should get something different, I was overcome with hunger and excitement, thinking, “Man, I want more Latino friends.” I love getting to use my Spanish at Mexican restaurants (or anywhere really!), and getting to use it with friend who ALSO speak the language is great. Rather than ordering and your friends snickering at you in the process like you’re embarrassing them because you’re the only person at the table that speaks Spanish, it actually feels good to instead, finish ordering and your friends say “Good job, Casey!!” as they proceed to also order in Spanish. It’s nice having friends that know a lot about what you’re studying too, so you get to pick their brains on how the food you’re eating is made. THE BEST, I tell you!
Tacos de carne asada were my go-to. It came with avacado, onions, cilantro, radishes, and lime. Wrapped in fresh corn tortillas, of course, boy, oh, boy, were these taco incredible!
I had two, but decided to order more because, as I said, we grew up quite the appetite. Haha! Everyone was apparently in the mood for tacos because we all got the same thing. Avacados are one of most-prized greens, so I was may or may not have completely flipped out when my tacos came because they came on top.
Less than 15 minutes later, we were finished. We crushed those tacos. It looked like a crime scene happened. With full bellies, we finally headed to the front counter, basically waddling like pregnant penguins we were so full, where, we paid for our food. Completely and utterly satisfied, we three agreed that we had to come back again together. It was a phenomenal trip to Gran Tako.