Help me mail a taco please.
June 23, 2011 1:17 PM   Subscribe

Is it possible to mail a taco within the continental United States? Yes, I'm serious.

Obviously one could buy or make a taco and package it themselves and attempt to send it. But I'm asking if there's a legitimate service that does this already. Yes, I realize the taco may not be the freshest, warm etc, etc. I am not looking for a particular taco from a particular restaurant or chain.

The taco would be sent to someone in Baltimore, MD, if that helps.
posted by Brandon Blatcher to Food & Drink (31 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Would it need to be edible by the time it reached the recipient?
posted by rtha at 1:20 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

How about having a restaurant or courier service in Baltimore deliver the taco to its intended victim?
posted by cyndigo at 1:20 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yeah, delivery from a place that makes tacos, in Baltimore?
posted by rtha at 1:22 PM on June 23, 2011

You could also find a MeFite in Baltimore who thinks that a hand-delivered Tacogram is a hilarious idea, and who might be willing to assist you with such a scheme. Someone like, for example, me.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:24 PM on June 23, 2011 [17 favorites]

Response by poster: Would it need to be edible by the time it reached the recipient?


Yeah, delivery from a place that makes tacos, in Baltimore?

Do you know of a specific place that does deliver tacos? Preferably further north on Bmore, in or near Carney/Parkville area?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:25 PM on June 23, 2011

Sure, why not? (Seriously - I can mail cookies. Why can't you mail a taco as long as it is well sealed?)
posted by maryr at 1:26 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have bought tamales from a place in California and had them shipped to the East Coast before, so yes, it's possible. Shipping was expensive though. MeMail me with a general location in/around Baltimore and I might be able to deliver one for you.
posted by mrs. taters at 1:27 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: And while delivery is certainly a possibility (Thanks FoB, mrs. taters) , I'm REALLY, REALLY looking to mail an edible taco.

Why can't you mail a taco as long as it is well sealed?

Professionals can handle it better than moi.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 1:28 PM on June 23, 2011

You might want someone in Baltimore to mail it (if not deliver exactly). While Chicago is a mail clusterfuck, in California it only took a day for mail to get to an intrastate destination. I swear, sometimes Netflix could get there the same day.

So if a MeFite in Baltimore is game, certainly a taco can stand tough for one night (Taco Bell could probably hold together for two weeks) ...
posted by crankyrogalsky at 1:42 PM on June 23, 2011

Best answer: Does it have to be a completely assembled taco?

Could you cook and prep all the ingredients, divide them up into little cups.. add some tortilla shells, and ship that? All recipient need do is assemble and nuke it in the microwave for 30 seconds?
posted by royalsong at 1:44 PM on June 23, 2011

Best answer: In practical terms, I'd do a soft taco with no actual meat (as that strikes me as mostly likely to spoil in a food-poisoning sort of way), wrap the tortilla tightly, then plastic wrap it, stick it in a ziplock bag, and a disposable plastic container with a lid. Then chuck it in a box and send it on its way. If you're feeling generous (or curious,) write the date somewhere on the packaging so you can find out how long it took to arrive. That's probably overkill on the packaging, to be honest.

If you want to send an edible taco that involves meat, I'd send it on dry ice via overnight shipper. I get pizzas from home that way periodically, and they stay frozen just fine.
posted by restless_nomad at 1:46 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

listen: the one thing is that your tortilla -- soft corn, flour, hard corn, whatever -- is gonna disintegrate if you mail it assembled. I can't even get real tacos™ to last half an hour in the car before the tortilla turns into mush.
posted by boo_radley at 1:54 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

First result for "Taco Baltimore Delivery":

Taco Fiesta LLC (food for pickup or delivery in the Baltimore area)
posted by blue_beetle at 1:55 PM on June 23, 2011 [2 favorites]

The tamales came FedEx, not USPS, with dry ice and then needed to be finished cooking. I don't know how lettuce and tomato would freeze and then reheat, I think the water content would mess it up. I would say you could probably vacuum seal those.
posted by mrs. taters at 1:59 PM on June 23, 2011

This would be very easy if it is acceptable for the taco to be cold. Toss it in a sealed box with a disposable, sealed ice pack, ship it overnight. Soft taco would be better than hard, because the hard shell will get soggy. Disassembled better than pre-assembled for the same reason.

If it needs to be hot then I'm not sure how you could go about it.

If UPS can ship live lobsters, they should be able to kick out a taco.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 2:01 PM on June 23, 2011

I humbly disagree with boo_radley. A preservative-laden soft flour tortilla, a la Taco Bell, will last for at least a couple of days. I know this from personal observation. A Taco Bell bean soft taco, packaged per restless_nomad's excellent suggestion, should survive a trip through the mail just fine. Even more so if an ice pack is included, as Mister Fabulous suggests.
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:04 PM on June 23, 2011

The Annals of Improbable Research did a set of postal experiments some years ago, though granted folks weren't so paranoid about terrorism back then. Still, their results were discouraging; I would imagine that your taco would fall into the "Pointless Items" or "Disgusting Items" category, for which the combined success rate was only 4/9 (including at least one stern warning about "abuse of the mails".)

Of course, edibility on the recipient's end is another question entirely.
posted by Johnny Assay at 2:06 PM on June 23, 2011

If you're hell bent on delivering your taco by mail, perhaps you could try ordering some Mighty Taco? They will ship orders all over the country! Keep in mind that Mighty is standard drunk food in Buffalo, and ordering delivery from a local Baltimore taco joint would probably be of much better quality!
posted by genekelly'srollerskates at 2:10 PM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

You could always send it via the Alameda-Weehawken Burrito Tunnel.
posted by maxim0512 at 2:34 PM on June 23, 2011 [8 favorites]

It appears that the Annals of Improbably Research was attempting to mail their items without any (or at least sufficient) packaging. I can't imagine that would go well with a taco. But a taco that's sealed into a package should be quite doable.

My mom once mailed a pancake with no packaging. Slapped some stamps on and dropped it in a mailbox. It reached its destination, but it was in pieces in a ziplock when it arrived.
posted by duien at 2:35 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh. I live in NYC and I do "Mystery Surprise Lunch" for my friends all the time, once for a friend who lives in DC. I fire up Seamless Web, ask the friend for their office address (not telling why), and order them a lunch of Pad Thai, a side of disco fries, and a quart of Ben & Jerry's.
posted by functionequalsform at 2:54 PM on June 23, 2011 [3 favorites]

Sorry, this can't be done in any satisfying manner. A taco in any assembled form has a shelf life of hours.

A taco is an evanescent, temporaray beauty. Do not meddle with such balance.
posted by dirtdirt at 2:58 PM on June 23, 2011 [4 favorites]

Two suggestions:
1. Freeze the taco and pack with ice. I overnighted 2 quarts of salsa frozen in tupperware and packed in a small ice chest. Not a problem.
2. What about a taco kit? Recipient would brown their own ground beef, but everything else is included. (Hey - just finished really reading the ingredients. Doesn't contain any cheese, lettuce or tomato, and no sour cream either) Never mind.
posted by CathyG at 3:39 PM on June 23, 2011

Response by poster: Soft shell taco with ingredients shipped with dry ice is the way to go. Thanks ya'll.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:53 PM on June 23, 2011

I once mailed a piece of pizza with garlic and anchovies to friend in another state. Since I wasn't expecting him to eat it, it went regular mail, in an envelope between 2 paper plates. He got it.
posted by doctor_negative at 5:26 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]

You might also look in to vacuum packing.
posted by maryr at 7:43 PM on June 23, 2011

Please update when you have results!
posted by 6550 at 8:50 PM on June 23, 2011

If you're willing to share, I'm sure I'm not the only one curious about the back story here.
posted by jimmysmits at 9:16 PM on June 23, 2011 [8 favorites]

If you have not yet already shipped it, place a piece of folded wax paper clearly labeled "Remove me" around the tortilla, separating it from its contents as well as the general moisture of the package. This is used in Japanese 7-11s to keep the nori wrap of the onigiri crisp next to the rice.

If your friend is a carnivore, you can still provide a meat taco; just make it a jerky taco. Keep the jerky sealed in a pouch, to be added to the additional ingredients when eaten.
posted by Deathalicious at 9:09 AM on June 24, 2011

Would this have anything to do with The State's Taco Mail?
posted by unceman at 11:03 AM on June 24, 2011

Having once brought 30 Taco Bell tacos from the lower 48 to Juneau, I can attest that they are surprisingly durable.
posted by Foam Pants at 3:06 PM on June 24, 2011

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