“I’m hungry…let’s get a Taco….”



6 people in this ratty movie theater.

6 people including me and Tony.

We occupy the center aisle mid-point seats – bulls-eye position to get the full movie experience..no immediate neighbors….and none likely to bother us on a wet Tuesday afternoon in November..but should any unwitting soul dare venture near us then the sight of our half empty bottles of Mad Dog 20/20 and general growly demeanor will ensure they fuck off pronto.

One couple, mid 20s, very ugly and aggressively trying to suck the fillings out of each others teeth.

One ‘Suit’ living his life under a bad mousey toupee, possibly jilted earlier….possibly for good reason….the toupee to blame…. possibly.

One drunk…. stuck in his seat at a lank angle… front row left of center…..bad cider, lager, schnapps to blame…probably. In fact, when I think about it the fucker might actually be dead, he was like that when we walked in…which I’m beginning to suspect a lot of people would say at his coroner’s hearing. I stare hard at the back of his head and look for signs of life, maybe a twitch or the rising of his shoulders under a pained intake of breath…..nothing. I flick a peanut at his balding head which unexpectedly hits it’s mark and ricochets off into the gloom… his head swivels and bloodshot eyes lock on me as his bearded mouth spits out a strain of F-laced profanities that initial shock then immediately impress me.

I stare him out for a few seconds then extend my bag of nuts toward him.

“Nuts”? I inquire

“Yeah…I am fucking completely nuts” he responds

I slide down as low as possible into the crushed velvet movie seat and stick my feet up on the seat in front an ignore the drunk. I realise my boots are blocking the screen so I make them into a V shape….still no good…I go full spread and let each leg slip down between each side on the seat in front…..I feel them lodge tight and think to myself if there’s a fire I’m fucked.

I hear Tony’s zippo open with the familiar metal click then 3 strokes of the flint before ignition then a long draw on his favoured Malboro Red before the deft ‘snap-close and pocket’…..Tony was like a gun-slinger with his zippo…a beautiful piece of craftsmanship with two crossed Smith and Wesson pistols embossed on it that he would fiddle with incessantly. The third of our four bottle booze stash is cracked open and the sickly sweet aroma of lemon Mad Dog 20/20 catches my nose – lemon ain’t my favourite but it’ll do.

There is a very specific reason why we’re sitting in this ramshackle 50 seater movie house smoking and drinking…. Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs had been released then subsequently banned in almost all of the western world but our reprobate friend Doug the Plug who owned the theater knew a few people who knew a few other people that knew how to get bootleg movies and he got his dirty mits on ‘Dogs’. He called Tony and we dumped work after lunch service and ran to Doug’s stopping briefly to grab the booze and more smokes.

The movie theatre was a dump – it smelled of strong cleaning fluid which was ironic given the state of the place. It was, at some point a play house that hosted local amateur dramatic groups that would murder Shakespeare weekly much to the joy of the locals. But over the years the draw of Hamlet performed by a drunk priest obviously weakened and the place closed its doors until Doug got his hands on it and turned it into a movie house. But, by ‘turning it into a movie house’ what I mean is he punched a hole in the back wall and stuffed a hooky projector through it then draped a giant white sheet at the back of the stage to project movies on to. Doug started with porn but that was quickly shut down on account of the local Presbyterian council threatening to fire bomb the place….and the fact that Doug couldn’t actually get his hands on any ‘porn’.

Stacy, Doug’s Daughter bends a blonde head around the entrance to the theatre to check for signs of life and the green light to crank the movie on….we make eye contact and my heart stops and my blood turns to ice…but…that is another story for another time…. #sociopath.

The lights die slowly and ‘Dogs’ begins, I have no idea what to expect, it was only the fact that it was ‘banned’ that has me and Tony interested.

The opening scene sees 8 men – 6 suited – sitting around a coffee house table discussing the meaning of Madona’s ‘Like a Virgin’

“Dick, dick, dick, dick, dick”

“How many dicks is that”?

“A lot”

Me and tony watch the scene play out until the opening credit sequence kicks in with the unfamiliar strains of ‘Little Green bag’ by The George Baker Selection.

This all feels very, very familiar – the conversation, the smoke, the coffee, the men, the purpose – I could be looking at 8 hard-assed line chefs on coffee break, the conversation is exactly the same – nonsensical yet captivating – its scary how accurately reflective of collective Chef conversation this scene is. This is Men at Work – replace the suits with blood-stained whites and you’ve got Reservoir Chefs.

Blood, gun-fights and death fill up the next 99minutes and by the end of it me and Tony look like we’ve been spin dried and beaten with lump-hammers…

“What the fuck was that, man”??

“I have no idea Tony…but I really need to find out what the hell a Taco is”………..



♠ From Scratch Pulled Pork Tacos♣

Prep time: 30 mins ♦  Cook Time: 5 hours ♦ Total time about 5-6 start to finish ♦ Serves 4



For the pork

2 Kg pork shoulder joint

2 tbs Apricot preserve

2 tbs caster sugar

Juice of two limes

3 dried Ancho chillies

1/2 bottle pale ale (Sierra Nevada)

200mls tomato pasata

1 tsp cumim powder

chili powder ( to taste)

For the flour tortillas

400 grams plain flour

pinch of salt

300mls water

For the Avocado salsa

3 fat/just ripe avocado

2/3 fat spring onions

3 fat/just ripe tomatoes

Juice 1 lime

Fresh coriander

For the ‘cool’ sauce

2 tbs sour cream

2 tps Mayo

Twist of salt



Make the Ancho marinade – steep the dried Ancho chilies in boiling water for about 20 minutes until completed soft, then remove the seeds and stem and sling into a blender with the lime juice, sugar and apricot preserve.


Paint the Ancho marinade all over the pork shoulder, season the joint really well then pop into a roasting tray, lug in the pale ale, cover tightly with 2-3 sheets foil and slow roast at 140c for a 4 hours.


After 4 hours remove the pork from the oven, loose the skin (or keep it can be hard grilled for crackling) then shred with a couple of forks right in the juices in the roasting tray. The shredded pork can sit to one side until you are ready to cook.


Next make the Avocado salsa – peel and stone the avocado and roughly chop. Seed and roughly chop the tomatoes and spring onions and combine the lot with the lime juice and ripped coriander – season to taste. Keep very cool in the fridge


Tortillas – combine the flour, water and salt into a simply dough – knead a little but don’t ‘faff’ over this. Divide into about 8 small balls and roll out into think discs – or if you have a tortilla press use this – it makes all the difference!


Cook the tortillas one at a time in a screaming hot-dry frying pan. About 20 seconds per side is all you want, the should be soft and floppy. Keep warm under a tea towel or in a very low oven.


To the shredded pork – add a little oil to a wide pan and add in the pork and gently bring up to heat. Add the pasata, cumin and chili powder – season to taste. You want a moist, fragrant ‘pulled pork’.


Serve the ancho pork on the tortillas with the avocado salsa and finish with squirts of the cool sauce – which is just a mix of the sour cream and mayo




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