Friday, January 7, 2011

Tostadas a la Taco Bell

I love fast food, and I believe I come by that affection naturally. I grew up in Castro Valley, California, which in the 1960's had a McDonald's, Taco Bell, Jack 'n the Box, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and a Red Barn.

The Red Bran flourished in the 1960's and 1970's and featured the "Big Barney" and the "Barn Buster" burgers, which predated the Big Mac.

By the late 1980's, Red Barns were history, but you can still see a few of the barn shaped structures standing and housing other restaurants, usually of inferior quality.

I came from a family of five children, and eating fast food was definitely a treat, as mom was always trying to stretch a buck. Even though drive-thrus are seen as the epitome of cheap and easy now, back in the day, they were special events. Or maybe, I just had a deprived childhood -- either way, I cherished the times I was able to indulge in the wonders of these magical places.

The Taco Bell of Castro Valley Blvd. was a walk up with a few tables out front in the open air. Apparently, it was one of the last Taco Bells to modernize as I found this video of the recent tear-down.

As I got older and moved away, I still found Taco Bell's a source of comfort and grew to enjoy their Tostadas and Bean Burritos. Bean burritos used to come red or green, and I miss the green variety, which are no longer available. The tostadas have also gone missing from the menu, but when I get the craving, I now make them with stuff from the Dollar Store.

All you need are corn tortillas, refried beans, red sauce (or picante sauce or salsa), green sauce (if you prefer), shedded lettuce, and shredded cheese. Five basic ingredients for five bucks will yield at least 10 tostadas, and you will save some of the fat and sodium associated with fast food.

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