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I Meximelt With You: Smiles are free at Taco Bravo

There's nothing ordinary about Taco Bravo

By Todd S. Inoue

GO AHEAD AND LAUGH, but let me explain. We here at Bargain Bites toyed with the idea of reviewing McDonald's "adult" burger, the Arch Deluxe, but why give the world's biggest fast-food chain more play? Instead, let's praise the humble restaurateur, purveyor of everyfood that is cherished, nay, exalted, valleywide. Enter Taco Bravo--a Campbell institution and late-night haven of hungry South Bay nightcrawlers.

An entire Taco Bravo subculture exists with its own fashion (floral Taco Bravo hats), mores (one line only, even if four windows are open) and lingo ("red"=basic bean burrito; "green"=spicy bean burrito; "with"=yes on onions; "without"=no onions; "boat"=bean and cheese cup; "super"=super taco.) Then there's "boneyard"--two large tortillas brimming with double helpings of everything, which is, as one employee put it, "for lonely guys" (price varies from person to person). Boneyard only works at night, if the window man is in the mood, and patrons must tip, but that buck or two extra buys a startling amount of food that borders on comical.

The entire mini-society is presided over by the smart alecks behind the sliding windows who zing snappy answers to stupid questions. The food? Americanized Mexican at best. Personally, I swear by the "reds" (96 cents)--thick with refrieds, oozing with red sauce, fresh onions and more shredded cheddar cheese than three Taco Bell burritos combined.

An urban legend about Taco Bravo is that everything tastes better after 10pm, but Bravo attracts business in the afternoon, too. So much so, the city of Campbell installed a turn lane directly into the Taco Bravo parking lot. Bravo to them.

Taco Bravo is located at S. Bascom and Campbell avenues, Campbell. Open 10:30am­3am most days.

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From the July 11-17, 1996 issue of Metro

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