The mini fridge, toiletries and school supplies are all stacked up, taking up space somewhere in your home, waiting for move in date. Perhaps your friends and family had a backyard college farewell or dinner a few weeks ago. Dorm move in dates for many Cal States start this weekend, and UCs and privates soon after. Some universities might have already started, and for those of you who already sent your child off to college, give yourself a big pat in the back! I know that proud feeling, you’ve done your piece and should be proud. Perhaps you can welcome your college student with a LA taco tour on their first visit back.
Last year at this time, I was on that heart racing emotional roller coaster many of you are on now. My first born left for college, as a parent, I felt ecstatic, proud, scared, nervous, and sad all at once. We had worked so hard, talked, and prepped for this for at least for the last seven years and now the day when I would drop off my child was near. The sadness weighed more, and my family knew it. I wanted to shake it off and transmit positive energy, but it was tough, my heart ached.
I spoke to my sister about my feelings, she listened, and helped me see how amazing this experience truly was. After I cried my eyes out, the LA taco tour idea came up! She said, “Let’s give Mariah the best last night in LA with a taco tour.” I was all in! Maybe our idea will inspire you and your family and friends to do something similar for your college students. Food and great company make the best memories.
Here is what we did, my sister sent a group text to our close friends and family, inviting them to join us for a night of tacos in LA. La Comadre Lily Gonzalez, AKA Taco Lover, recommended several taco spots in LA, some were parked taco trucks and pop up vendors. We had planned to drive to five locations but ended up going to three instead due to great conversation and laughs. At one point, we had a party of 15 people gathered in one spot. We followed each other from spot to spot like a caravan.
We started the tour with pictures and props at El Flaco in East Los Angeles, ordered most popular items on the menu which were the mulitas! We only ordered one or two tacos/mulitas per person so that we can leave room for the next spot. As we drove away to the next spot, Mariah got to spend time with loved ones by joining them in their car.
We drove to Tire Shop Taqueria in South Central, and man did we have a feast there! This is where we spent most of our time. The line got long at one point. The tortillas were made fresh and the salsa was delish! Seating is limited, but we managed to score with a table for our party of 15. I still remember Mariah’s smile on that day and how much love and support surrounded us there and through our journey. My sadness started to lessen just a little that day. I was reminded of all the successes and how this time apart is temporary and will pass.
Our last stop was at Leo’s Tacos in Mid-City, and I was totally caught off guard with how amazing these tacos were, they have to have the best al pastor tacos ever. Our party shrunk by this times as it was close to midnight, and those of us that were still there were pretty stuffed. But we still managed to share a few tacos. This is where the emotional part of the night hit. She received a few gifts from loved ones, and the goodbye hugs brought most of us to tears. Although I was sad, the support I felt overfilled me with gratitude. This taco journey shifted my sadness to gratitude. Feeling thankful helps me fight the funk — much like the journey my daughter and I shared when preparing her for college.
It was one of the best ideas my sister has had and trust me when I say she is FULL of ideas! I can say my daughter’s last night out was one for the books!
- Send your guests the meeting time and addresses for each meeting spot. Perhaps some guests can meet up at one or two place.
- Do take cash as some taco trucks only accept cash.
- Have a full tank of gas.
- A good time to start your tour about 6-7pm when traffic dies down; take a sweater.
- Take lots of pictures and videos, so you can look back on this event throughout the school year.
- Enjoy some off the hook tacos with the people that have been by your side!
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