The Taco Bowl - Natures most perfect food.
Every day (for those of you who don't understand, or don't know me: Every. Single. Day.) I eat a Taco Bowl for lunch. Not only are these fantastically delicious, but from a more frugal standpoint, they deliver the most volume for the money (A must for business-provided dine-in cafeterias). Added to this equation is the 'tasty' factor. The higher cost items are generally more palatable - and this bowl runs $4.95 (not high, mind you, but the cafe holds drawings weekly to give you a free meal if you spent over $7 for lunch). Add to this already overwhelming support - it supplies me with all my basic food groups to survive. It fills me with energy, and cheesy-goodness simultaneously.
The gentleman who hand-crafts my lunch everyday is Hispanic, as he should be to be able to more perfectly adorn his handiwork. Every day I approach, with a smile on my face, and his brightens when he sees me. I no longer have to tell him what I want in my bowl, or that I even want a bowl. He already knows. The Mexican-seasoned ground beef is the first layer, filling the golden crispy shell about a quarter full. Atop this, a scoop and a half of piping hot fresh refried beans, filling in the nooks and crannies of the beef below it, letting gravity do its job. Spanish rice is next. The bowl is half full at this point. Two scoops of perfectly seasoned chili con carne (spicy Mexican chili) bubble its way down the sides of the bowl, encapsulating the beans, binding the rice, and a rather healthy scoop of chili con queso (spicy Mexican cheese sauce) which tops the bowl off at approximately three-quarters filled.
Each day I thank him profusely and wish him well, each day he nods and smiles, knowing he'll see me again tomorrow. From the line, onto the garnish! The cold-food buffet is only a few steps away, but this must be done quickly in order for the shredded cheddar to begin its melt process be placed atop the hot, now mingling chilies (The shredded cheddar is best when slightly melted into the mixture). Now then - I've done this quite a few times, and in quite a few different ways, and here's the recipe which works best for me:
Atop the half-melted cheddar, three or four healthy scoops of chunky pico de gallo (a mix of diced tomatoes, onion & (bell, pablano or serrano) peppers garnished with cilantro). I like to put this directly on top, in the middle, allowing me to carefully circumscribe the entire inner edge of the bowl with the fresh made mild salsa before strategically placing pickled jalapeño slices around the mound of pico de gallo. A single double-sized dollop of sour cream usually flattens everything underneath it, and I place nearly a half-head of shredded lettuce as my finishing ingredient. The finished bowl weighs about 10-pounds.