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Enchirito Returns as a Gooey, Gooey Blast From the Past

ORANGE COUNTY CALENDAR: ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT, LEISURE
| Guilty Pleasures

January 22, 2000|ANNE VALDESPINO

When you leave home for college, you might not miss your family. You usually miss your friends, but you definitely miss the food. That's what happened to me. The hardest thing for me to give up was the Mexican restaurants in my Texas hometown, which are legendary.

You see, back in the 1980s Mexican food wasn't as popular as it is now. So, I almost cried looking for tortillas in the grocery store and finding none, or searching for tamales only to see them wrapped in paper and trapped in a tin can.

So, imagine my joy in encountering anything resembling Southwest fare in a fast-food restaurant. Yes, believe it or not, I found happiness at Taco Bell.

Back then my favorite dish was the enchirito, especially since it didn't offend me by trying to be completely authentic. This was neither an enchilada nor a burrito but a brand-new fusion creation.

I loved its price, which fit my student budget, its drippy enchilada sauce, its beef and bean filling and, as the little Chihuahua says, its "gooey, gooey" cheese.

It disappeared from Taco Bell's menu for a while, but now it's back and so am I. And it's mostly as I remember it although I wish it were still served in that little aluminum foil tray that made it seem like a complete TV dinner. And I wish it were bigger because these days I'm bigger.

Of course, now that I have a job, I can buy three at a time, so I can't complain too much. But I can sit in Taco Bell and relive my student days thinking, "The enchirito--don't leave home without it."

* Enchirito--320 calories/18 grams of fat. $1.59 at Taco Bell.

Got guilt? Send your ideas about treats you'd like to see featured in this space to occalendar@latimes.com.

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