Whenever I tell a New Yorker that tacos in this city are mostly trash, they immediately assume I'm the problem. "Well, you haven't tried the spot in Sunset Park," they say. "You need to go to the Bronx," they explain patronizingly. "How about that one place in Bushwick? What about Matamoros? What about Fast & Fresh?"
No. Those places all serve hot garbage in a handmade tortilla. If I'm lucky. With every new bad suggestion from a friend, food blog, or a random Twitter follower who insists I simply haven't met the right taco yet, my craving grows more insatiable. I've tried almost every "good" taco place I can find in New York City, and none of them come close to what I could find in the Windy City.
I spent my last few years in the Midwest, the end of my 20s, hating life there the way a fed-up sitcom spouse hates her dumb, loud, laugh-track-whore of a husband. I felt like I'd outgrown the place. I felt stunted. But since moving to New York City in early 2012, my esteem for the Midwestern metropolis that ushered me into my confused post-collegiate adulthood has softened. Crammed onto a B train that smells like broiled urine; muscles aching as I climb the maze-like stairs to my dark shared apartment on an industrial Brooklyn back road; waiting half an hour for sunny-side-up eggs that cost $14 with people who can't afford any of this; these are the moments when my mind wanders back to the city I consider my home.