Taco Therapy

7 minutes

I started writing a blog about stress during the pandemic and how I’ve been dealing with it. As I was mulling over what else I might say besides “exercise,” “clean stuff,” and “sleep a lot,” I went to the drive-thru of my beloved Taco Rico, a fast food restaurant near the state capitol, and ordered a taco salad for lunch.

The enormous fried shell comes in a cake box, and is filled with sour cream, guacamole, and all the other standard ingredients. Sure, they gave me ground beef when I asked for chicken, but close enough.

In the midst of eating the salad, I realized I’d seen at least twenty articles from media entities on how to deal with stress and any number of pandemic-related issues. And you probably already know what works for you. So, instead, I decided to talk to you about something else that is emotionally medicinal and dear to my heart: Mexican food.

I can talk about food at great length, and Mexican food is no exception. In this pandemic age of anxiety, it’s good to treat yourself when you can. Safely, of course. If you want to hear my colleagues and me speak about Mexican food at even greater length, check out our recent podcast on the subject. Here are a few places worth a venture:

Taco Rico's massive taco salad. Photo by Megan Rossman.

Taco Rico's massive taco salad. Photo by Megan Rossman.

Taco Rico

The menu is pretty much like Taco Bueno, but it’s not Taco Bueno. Rico offers a menu that includes delightfully named items such as Mr. Grande Burrito, Outrageous Burrito, and Burrito De Beans, along with street tacos, enchiladas, and all of your fast food Mexican favorites. If time is precious, it’s good to know that the drive-thru is usually remarkably fast. When they ask if you need salsa, tell them you want it hot and green. Currently open for drive-thru service only. 3838 North Lincoln Boulevard, (405) 521-1330.

Queso fundido from The Mayan in Oklahoma City. Photo by Megan Rossman.

Queso fundido from The Mayan in Oklahoma City. Photo by Megan Rossman.

The Mayan

Located just blocks from my house, The Mayan is a casual eatery in Oklahoma City that serves a variety of tacos, quesadillas, and my personal favorites: the Enchiladas Verdes and the Chicken Poblano Burrito. Do yourself a favor and get the Queso Fundido appetizer when the restaurant eventually resumes in-house dining. Most restaurant queso has the consistency of a creamy soup or stew, but at The Mayan, the cheese comes melted in a skillet peppered with steak, pork, and mushrooms that you scoop onto chips and tortillas. Another bonus of eating here are the three varieties of creamy, spicy house sauces that I pour all over everything. On Taco Tuesdays, customers can order street tacos—excluding seafood—for just $2.50 each. The Mayan is offering curbside service and delivery through Grubhub. 3020 North Walker Avenue, (405) 225-1331.

A big pile of tacos from Taqueria Rafitas. Photo by Megan Rossman.

A big pile of tacos from Taqueria Rafitas. Photo by Megan Rossman.

Taqueria Rafitas

The Oklahoma Today staff used to have a weekly tradition of breakfast meetings at various locations around Oklahoma City, and when it was my turn to pick, I often felt the pull of this establishment. First of all, it’s cheap, and best of all, it’s incredibly good. Breakfast tacos are $2.55. A huge breakfast burrito filled with meat and potatoes is $7.85. Each taco is stuffed with your choice of potatoes, bacon, sausage, chorizo, ham, or machacado (a dry shredded beef) and scrambled with eggs. The restaurant is open for dining and takeout. 1222 North Pennsylvania Avenue, (405) 408-2858.

Lawton's Los Tres Amigos is a must-stop destination. Photo by Megan Rossman.

Lawton's Los Tres Amigos is a must-stop destination. Photo by Megan Rossman.

Los Tres Amigos

The city of Lawton is full of great food. With two locations in Lawton and one in Wichita Falls, it’s hard to miss Los Tres Amigos when you're headed southwest. I hear the siren song of the smoky salsa served hot whenever I’m in the vicinity. When I wrote about this restaurant for the magazine, I asked a manager what the secret was to that warm salsa. She seemed puzzled by my enthusiasm. “Uh, are you talking about the picante?” she asked. Oh yes, I was. It’s cooked overnight daily, and it alone warrants a trip to Los Tres Amigos. The menu is extensive and quite good, but I’m usually so full of chips, dips, and iced tea that I can barely eat my entree when it arrives. All locations are currently open for dining and takeout.

The El Molcajete at Gonzalez Mexican Restaurant in Tishomingo is an eye-catching treat. Photo by Lori Duckworth.

The El Molcajete at Gonzalez Mexican Restaurant in Tishomingo is an eye-catching treat. Photo by Lori Duckworth.

Gonzalez Mexican Restaurant

Down in the land where Blake Shelton roams wild and free, Gonzalez Mexican Restaurant in Tishomingo is a delicious addition to the town’s main street. I highly recommend the fluffy, fried sopapillas topped with butter and honey for dessert. You can get a variety of comforting Tex-Mex dishes, but the specialties section is where you’ll find real showstoppers, like the El Molcajete. A stone mortar, brought flaming to the table, cradles a bounty of beef, chicken, and shrimp fajita meat, chorizo, diced nopales (cactus), and Monterey cheese that diners top with guac, sour cream, salsa, and roll into tortillas. The restaurant is open for dining and takeout. 110 North Kemp, (580) 371-0102.

These are just a few of the places I know and love. Please let us know your favorites with a comment or by emailing us at editorial@travelok.com. Eat big and stay well!

Written By
Megan Rossman

Megan Rossman is Oklahoma Today's photography editor.

Megan Rossman
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