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The Hunt Resumes: Interview with Bandini, Taco Hunter

2:35 PM PDT on August 11, 2009


After a mysterious two year absence, the taco hunter known as Bandini is back with a brand new taco and street food website called Daily Taco. If you love the taco lifestyle, you'll love Daily Taco and will make it a daily stop on the taco information superhighway. We sat down with the man himself to discuss life, tacos, kogi, and what's on the horizon...

TACO: So good to see you back-- first question, where have you been?

BANDINI: I lost my taco mojo. There were other more personal reasons why I’ve
been out of taco criticism for a couple years but I could have been
back sooner.

TACO: What is the plan with It looks like anyone can sign
up and post articles?

BANDINI: is open to anyone to contribute whether it is reviews,
articles or commentary. The format is similar to some of the political
blogs that use the diary system. Back when I was doing the great taco
hunt I would get people asking to guest blog so when I started the new
blog I wanted to open it up to anyone.

TACO: What do you think of the phenomenon of mobile food that aren't
traditional loncheros? Call it the Kogi Phenomenon.

BANDINI: It’s a good thing. It brings more attention to street food and I think
they are helping to remove some of the unfair stereotypes often
associated with taco trucks (terms like roach coaches etc). I guess
it remains to be seen if this phenomenon will have staying power or if
it’s just a trend. Kogi would not have been as successful if they
started as a brick and mortar. People would not wait in line for hours
. But they’ll wait in line for over an hour at the Kogi trucks because
it’s a scene. I tried kogi and I really enjoyed it but no taco is
worth waiting in line for over an hour. The whole idea of waiting in
line for hours for a taco actually goes against , to borrow your term,
the taco lifestyle. I think the taco lifestyle is about getting that
plate of tacos quick and cheap, eating them on the side of the road
and then if the tacos meet your taste buds approval going back for

TACO: What's your method for scoping out new taco spots?

BANDINI: Well in the beginning I just drove around LA. People recommended their
favorite spots. I had taqueros emailing me to come try their tacos. In
the beginning it was easy to get friends to go along with me but after
awhile it became the equivalent of “hey come see my band play” . Noone
wanted to go. People love their local taco truck but the idea of
driving 40 minutes in traffic to try another cities taco truck just
seems mad. So the vast majority of my taco adventures were a lonely
quest into the unknown, a voyage to parts of the city I had never been
to or knew anything about. In the end I preferred it that way anyway.

TACO: Worst taco ever?

The worst taco ever is hands down the carnitas taco I got from tacos
Kimberly . It was just a blob of pork fat that looked like half eaten
chicken leg. It was the worst taco in the world. [Ed: See picture below]

TACO: How do we know you won't just disappear on us again, leaving us sad
and bewildered? Fool me once... shame on me. Fool me twice... I won't
get fooled again!

BANDINI: Well, The Great Taco Hunt was started on a whim. I came home blind
drunk one night registered a blog and posted a mission statement how I
was going to come into everyone’s part of town and eat their tacos.
It was 2005 and we were still full swing into the Bush nightmare. The
country was fucked and I needed a taco.

I’ve put a little more thought into Daily Taco. It’s more sustainable.
I can continue the narrative of Bandini, the taco reporter while
bringing in some other voices. I’m adding a few guest bloggers and
with the dairies there’s the possibility of different points of view.

TACO: What do you think is behind the more frequent assaults on the taco
lifestyle we read about almost daily in the newspapers and websites of
the world?

I think it’s different depending on the situation. What happened in
Jefferson Parish,NO where they banned loncheros ,that was clearly

The situation here in LA had more to do with the influence the various
restaurant associations had over local politicians. Now that the
loncheros are organized with the formation of the loncheros
association they have some political influence. It's not over though.
I read recently loncheros are still being ticketed by LAPD.

TACO: Thank you, Bandini. Glad to have you back in the taco game...

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