An emerg­ing dec­o­rat­ing hub, not for the trade only

Connecticut Post (Sunday) - - Sunday Arts & Style - Jane Stern, a Ridgefield res­i­dent, coau­thored the pop­u­lar “Road­food” guide­book se­ries with Michael Stern.

Hon­estly I can’t think of a more un­likely pair­ing then surfer food in Darien. I am sure there are some surfers on the placid shores of Long Is­land Sound, but hav­ing trav­eled ex­ten­sively in South­ern California and af­ter liv­ing a while on the Mex­i­can bor­der, I can see there is a dis­tinct lack of hard­core “surf cul­ture” here.

Blue Wave Taco tries to fill this gap. I was de­lighted to mo­men­tar­ily leave the “pink and green” coun­try club vibe of Darien and im­merse my­self in me­mories of surf cul­ture. It has been decades since I used the term “ho­dad” ( a non surfer who hangs out at the beach), “sponger” ( a deroga­tory term for body boarder), “hang 10” ( rid­ing with all your toes over the front of the board) and “Men in Gray Suits” ( sharks). Surf cul­ture was once a small cul­tural blip put on the map by late writer Tom Wolfe in his es­say, “The Pump House Gang.” It has now be­come an in­ter­na­tional big busi­ness, yet the surfer life­style re­tains its mys­tique and al­lure. Who doesn’t want to be Laird Hamil­ton, or at least hang out with him?

Blue Wave Taco is in a small, white build­ing with a posted menu and a drive- through win­dow. It is a clean, ap­pe­tiz­ing place dec­o­rated in shades of white and blue with some surf­boards and Poly­ne­sian stat­ues out­side. The ba­sic menu items are tacos, bur­ri­tos and que­sadil­las. Un­like the true Mex­i­can food I have tried in SoCal, there are no cow tongues, no tripe or fried grasshop­pers, no baby goat and no pep­pers so hot you fall to your knees in ec­stasy or horror.

There are five kinds of tacos to choose from. I or­dered one of each. I also asked for them loaded with the ar­ray of add- ons: ched­dar, gua­camole, onion, pico de gallo and sour cream. These are not huge over­stuffed tacos. so with­out the flourishes they seemed rather sparse.

The food items on the menu have cute names. You can try the Bromigo, the Rooster, the Pig­dog, the Baja or the Reefer. There is a Big Kahuna Bur­rito, a Right­eous Que­sadilla and a “Smok­ing Bowl,” which is not part of a pipe but your choice of meat over rice. The meat choices are beef, pork, chicken and shrimp. You can get corn or flour tor­tillas.

I ate here with one of my fa­vorite din­ing com­pan­ions, a 6- foot- 4 guy who cuts my lawn and also makes some of the best BBQ on the planet. He has never trav­eled to far flung places nor eaten Mex­i­can food in its indige­nous set­ting, but in­tu­itively he knew the black beans in his bur­rito were un­der­cooked and un­der- sea­soned. His take was that this was a very “An­glo” ver­sion of south- of- the- bor­der cuisine. I agreed with his pro­nounce­ment.

In his out­sized work­ing­man’s hands, the tacos looked dinky. Wor­ried he would starve to death, I was happy when he un­wrapped the Big Kahuna Bur­rito. This was a bet­ter fit. He had or­dered pork rolled with rice, pinto beans, ched­dar and ro­maine. As he laid waste to ev­ery­thing set be­fore him I nib­bled dain­tily on my “Veg­gin’ Out Bur­rito,” a flour tor­tilla wrapped around plan­tains, black beans and pico de gallo. Nos­tal­gi­cally, I re­mem­bered the good old days when I could lay waste to a three- course meal and then go out for pizza.

I en­joyed the food at Blue Wave Taco, but I would not rec­om­mend it to any­one who likes their Mex­i­can food down and dirty. Blue Wave is more like Taco Bell than the funky carts found in the rougher neigh­bor­hoods of SoCal. But not ev­ery­one is a purist. There would not be a zil­lion Taco Bell fran­chises if this style of low- key Mex­i­can food were not wildly pop­u­lar.

I went through the take­out win­dow at Blue Wave Taco twice on two dif­fer­ent days. Both times I must say that the voice on the other end of the loud speaker was more cour­te­ous the many wait­ers I have en­coun­tered in high- end restau­rants. The voice was well spo­ken, po­lite and help­ful. It was a lovely ex­pe­ri­ence ex­cept for the fact that ev­ery­thing in the bag that was handed to me when I paid was not what I or­dered.

The sec­ond time through the drive I got what I asked for. Again the or­der taker could not have been more well spo­ken or pleas­ant. Yes, on my first visit I found it an­noy­ing to open the bag and find it filled with the wrong food, but po­lite­ness goes a long way in sooth­ing any sit­u­a­tion. If a taco place in Darien is not po­lite, then the world is in­deed com­ing to an end and with that said there are many days Iwould rather have gra­cious so­cial in­ter­ac­tions then smokin’ hot salsa.

Blue Wave Taco205 Bos­ton Post Road, Darien Blue Wave Taco in Darien has a light touch with Mex­i­can street food.

Con­trib­uted photo

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