The Taco Maker Revisited

After my previous review of The Taco Maker, I was contacted by the Florida franchise owner to rectify the moldy flan incident. Manuel wanted to meet with me, and give a tour of the facility, as well as their cleanliness and preparation standards. I met with Manuel, and Alberto (the owner of this particular location). I was shown the entire kitchen and food preparation area, which was spotless. In the food prep line, all of the items were time stamped, to let them know when it was made, and how long they could keep it. I was shown the freezer, where all of the food was dated when it was received. They have specific time-lines on how long they can teach each item.

I was informed that they previously had issues with their flan distributor. One of the issues what that there was no expiration date on the individual flan packages. This meant that even though they kept track of how long they have had the flan, there was no way of knowing how long it was made previously, nor when it would expire. They already had a new distributor for the flan, and this was only days after my incident. The new one has expiration dates on the individual packages, so situations like mine should never happen again.

I was treated to a free meal at the end of my visit. I had a couple enchilladas, one chicken, one beef. Both were tasty, and again, very filling. I had the Crustos for dessert. Crustos are a deep fried flour tortilla chip covered with cinnamon and brown sugar. They are nice and light, and hit the spot after a big meal.

After my first visit, I was on the fence about The Taco Maker. Considering I was served moldy flan, but still enjoyed the rest of my meal, being on the fence is not a bad position. After being shown the facility, and really just having the owners take the time to meet with me, my confidence in The Taco Maker is renewed. I would recommend this place.

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The Taco Maker

My first experience with The Taco Maker was a mixed one. My girlfriend and I ordered the Fiesta Feast, and an order of flan, to go. On the way home, my girlfriend happened to look at the flan, and noticed it was moldy. This did not make for a good first impression. I turned around, and went to exchange it/get a refund. Initially, the staff was very apologetic (as they should be when serving moldy food), and glad to give me a new one. I inspected the new one instantly, and found what I thought was another very tiny spec of mold. The staff argued with me about this one, but I was not about to take the chance. They brought me another new one, this time from the cooler in the back, instead of the mini fridge up front. This one looked fine, I took it, and left. Not once was I offered a refund, or a gift card/certificate as compensation for being served moldy food though. To be fair, the flan is not made in house, but it does not speak well for the quality of their food storage.

My girlfriend and I went home, uneasy about the meals we were about to eat due to the moldy flan, but we also did not want to just throw away almost $20 worth of food. The Fiesta Feast, which comes with a burrito, taco, tortilla chips, and re-fried beans, was surprisingly good. We were full for hours afterward, much longer than expected considering the amount of food in the meal. It has been a couple days since we’ve eaten the meals, and we have not fallen ill because of it.

The food at The Taco Maker is good. It is a little expensive for the type of restaurant (giving a fast food feel). Expect to spend close to $10 for a meal and a drink, but it should fill you up for quite a while. Unfortunately, the moldy flan completely ruined my experience. The rest of the food was fine, but I cannot get the flan out of my head. It put a premature end to what could have been a beautiful relationship.

Update: I was contacted by the owners of The Taco Maker, and given a tour of their facilities. Please read the follow up.

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Shane’s Rib Shack

Shane’s Rib Shack is an excellent place for “fast food” barbecue. I only call it fast food because you order at the counter, and you do not have a server, not because of the quality of the food. They have a variety of sandwiches, flavors of chicken wings and fingers, and of course ribs. Their house sauces all have a nice flavor to them, offering a spicy/sweet, hot, and original recipe. Their portions are plentiful, and you can get away with a meal and a drink for about $10. It is a nice place to have lunch, but nothing that will wow you.

El Potro

El Potro is small Mexican Restaurant chain in the Orlando area. It offers a wide variety of authentic Mexican cuisine. The best part about El Potro is its buffet. It is the only Mexican buffet I know of in the area. The lunch buffet with a drink will cost around $10. It will keep you satisfied for hours. I often skip dinner because I eat so much food.

All of the food on the buffet is fresh and delicious. You can make your own hard or soft tacos, and taco salads. You can pick from ready made taquitos, cheese quesadillas, pork with peppers and onions, and a plethora of other items. The buffet even has chicken wings, which are surprisingly good for a Mexican restaurant. For dessert, you can pick from flan, deep fried rolled tortillas filled with flan, and deep fried chips covered with cinnamon and brown sugar.

I have yet to try something at El Potro that I didn’t like. The food will leave you more than satisfied. The service is good, and accommodating. After trying this place, you will visit it often.

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