Analysts have projected that Myles Garrett could very well be the first pick of the NFL draft this spring. The defensive end has had a stunning career at Texas A&M, walking away from his three-year stint with a total of 31 sacks. If all goes according to plan, the Cleveland Browns—who have the first pick of the draft this year—will snatch up the Arlington native. But Garrett will want more than a plush contract on the bargaining table—he’ll want tacos. Fuego tacos.
In a farewell letter posted on the Players’ Tribune, Garrett detailed what he would miss about College Station: the school’s legendary spirit and deep-rooted traditions—memories that exist, in some form or another, for Aggies young and old. But Garrett reserved his most poignant passage in the letter for the thing that could, perhaps, eclipse even the devotion to Aggieland itself: tacos.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention something else I’ll miss deeply: Fuego, the finest taco dispensary on the planet. Those tacos were always there for me when I needed them most. Wherever I end up next, I will do whatever I can to make sure that Fuego opens a franchise in that city. This is something that is very important to me.
That’s right, out of the coaches, support staff, players, friends, family, and fans who undoubtedly provided support to Garrett over the years, it was tacos that he cared to highlight for all of their cheese-stuffed reinforcement. Not that I’m disputing the healing power of tacos, but for a specific taco joint to be on the short list of things you’ll miss about a place you spent three years of your life? Those have to be some pretty spectacular tacos.
It's not a question of 'IF,' but a question of 'WHAT' can we we put in a taco that is worthy of being called THE Myles Garrett taco? https://t.co/y6bFGKhq5n
— Fuego Tortilla Grill (@EatFuego) January 26, 2017
As it happens, just days before Garrett’s taco tribute came out, I made my first sojourn to these hallowed grounds. I had stopped to see my best friend, an A&M graduate and fellow Fuego evangelist, at her home in College Station, and she made plans to take me to “the best place in town.” Fuego Tortilla Grill, otherwise known as the “finest taco dispensary on the planet,” began in College Station, but now has franchises in the fellow college hubs of San Marcos and Waco. So I wasn’t just going to a Fuego. I was going to the Fuego. Myles Garrett’s Fuego.
For a Sunday night, the fast casual dining restaurant was packed (Garrett wasn’t there). I perused the menu, full of completely non-descriptive names typical of Americanized taco joints, which shed light on the unhelpful suggestions my friend had rattled off in the car on the way over: “The Dr Pepper Cowboy is really good, and, oooooh, the I-Chee-Wa-Wa is amazing.” Most of the 25 tacos featured cheese, both molten and shredded. A fair amount of creamed corn was involved. There was something called Widow Maker 2.0 sauce, which made me ponder what prompted them to change the first iteration. And all of it was piled high, the most simple taco listing only four ingredients. It was overwhelming, to say the least, but I settled on the El Presidente, which boasted fried avocados, chicken, bacon—which I had never seen on a tortilla outside of a breakfast taco—pico de gallo, jack cheese, and chipotle ranch. My friend advised me to order only one. I bet Garrett ordered two, but I heeded her advice.
Within minutes of snagging one of the last remaining tables, a tower of food arrived. It was less of a taco and more of a smorgasbord of all things delicious and fatty, allegedly with a flour tortilla somewhere beneath it. It was delicious, in the way that it is impossible for something with chicken and bacon and ranch and avocado and cheese to be anything but. I had a hard time figuring out how to attack it, but about halfway through the taco I started to ignore the large chunks falling out of my taco, deciding I would just scoop it up with a fork later. I did. Every last bit.
Fuego isn’t the type of place for taco snobs or people with high blood pressure. It plays on the carnal instinct to combine everything that we shouldn’t eat into one sinful heap, to be devoured quickly and without thinking twice. It is sensory overload in a tortilla, and I see the appeal. Is it something that I would be able to eat more than twice a year? Probably not. My taco intake, if it was limited to Fuego, would need to diminish significantly.
But the image of a solo Myles Garrett, sitting at a table with his taco heaps in his most desperate moments, makes me oddly happy. When you’re in college, sometimes all it takes to fix something is eating your daily allotted calories in one fell swoop. So cheers to College Station, cheers to Fuego, and cheers to the enterprising person in Cleveland who franchises it. I guarantee you that you’ll have at least one loyal customer.