Friday, June 19, 2009

An Eye for Details at Tapatio 2

Posted By on Fri, Jun 19, 2009 at 10:08 AM

click to enlarge tapatio_birria_goat.jpg

Like the Tex-Mex Taco wagon on Charlotte, Tapatio 2, waaay out Nolensville Road, past Las Americas and almost to Big Church area, is a wagon that also has a building attached. We rolled up on it by happenstance. We hit the jackpot. There was an expertly made ceviche--more on that in a later post--and a quesadilla that far surpassed the usual slap-it-on-a-tortilla-and-nuke-it.

It was a goat quesadilla, but the goat was grilled or roast goat, more savory and firmer than the usual stewed or pot-roasted goat. It was sliced into strips that included bark, then layered with a rich, full-fat cheese the melts into a wonder of creaminess and whose name I can never recall when facing that bank of Latino cheeses at K&S. The quesadilla was cooked just until the cheese melted, before it reached the point of hardness, and the outside was grilled or griddled just until crisp, with a brushing of oil for a crisper texture.

It was a reminder of the importance of the small details. If you haven't read Better by Atul Gawande, you should treat yourself. Gawande turned his endless curiosity to why some medical programs have better outcomes than others. And the answer is: managing details. Policies and personnel that encourage managing the small details make the difference in good outcomes, even in difficult circumstances like battlefield medicine.

That seems true in retail eateries, as well. The cook with a systematic pursuit of results makes a better quesadilla. In cooking as in surgery, it matters who has the knife in her hand, even, or maybe especially, in a taco wagon.

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