Walking Tacos, Ludington-Style

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Back a couple months ago, Dawn Shock retired as librarian at the Rasey Memorial Library here in Luna Pier. She’d been here for quite some time, and was an incredibly hard worker. She set up the hours at the Rasey Library in such a way that it mirrored the hours at the library over in Erie. That way, she could operate both libraries at separate times! She was also Luna Pier’s official historian, and had things stashed and catalogued all the way back to the Prohibition era and before. Her retirement has left a huge space in how things work in those areas.

So it was a pleasant surprise last week to run into her again! Of course she and I talk food on occasion, and she had a good one this time.

It seems up in Ludington, Michigan, and places near there, they offer a thing called a “Walking Taco“. (In looking into this thing, I even found it on the lunch menu for the Catholic school in Ludington.) The way she described it, Fritos are crushed into a lunch sack, taco meat is dumped on top, then lettuce, tomatoes, shredded cheese … you then just grab a fork and eat it out of the bag. Dawn said she’s had others and there’s nothing as good as the ones in Ludington.

I looked into this thing, and it’s real easy. I did find a few variations on the theme depending on the target eaters, but really, there’s nothing to it.

Basically, you make a Walking Taco it the way Dawn described. That’s all, plain and simple.

Another method is to crush the Fritos withing their own individual serving bag, leave ‘m in there, and pile everything on top.

Just use a commercial taco seasoning such as Old El Paso or whatever. I make it a bit drier, only adding 1/4 cup water vs. the 1 cup of water the package calls for. But for this batch I used the bulk mild taco seasoning from GFS Marketplace, mixing 1/3 cup water and 1/3 cup taco seasoning for each pound of browned ground beef. I also added mild banana pepper rings and sliced black olives to mine, along with a bit of chopped onion.

This is a good mix-and-match meal that would make a great little taco bar for a picnic buffet, particularly for kids. And one of these days, we’ll get up to Ludington for what retired librarian Dawn Shock calls “the good stuff”.


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  1. This makes me hungry for lunch. I can imagine making it at home with some real “good stuff” for a party.


  2. @Kim, just for that I’m having more of this for lunch. 🙂 Really though, I can’t quite grasp yet all the possibilities for this. Before I knew what was happening, the kids were making “nachos in a bag” with the leftovers. You know, if you had scrambled eggs, crumbled bacon and sausage, and shredded cheese, you could have a Walking Omelet. I’m gonna have to work on that …

  3. This is similar to a very common southern fast food. I grew up in Oklahoma and places there serve a thing called a ‘Frito Pie’ which is a lunch-sized bag of fritos slit open sideways with a ladle of chili poured on. I was back in Oklahoma just last month had such a thing – brought back great memories of sourthern food. Now I cant’ wait to get a mess of okra.

  4. @Bob, the ‘Frito Pie’ sounds darn good! As a matter of fact, some fried okra sounds good as well. But being from Michigan … maybe I grew up in the wrong part of the country? 😉

  5. Now that I think of it – we poured chili on almost everything. It wasn’t until i was in my 20s and living in Illinois that I found out that spaghetti sauce wasn’t chili -since i had only had spaghetti with chili on it – never spaghetti sauce. My mother also served a cornmeal waffle with chili on it – but this digresses from the walking Ludington taco –

  6. Spaghetti with chili is good … Ideal Hot Dog locations in the Toledo area serve it as their version of a Chili Mac. Their 93-year-old founder came up with the recipe for the chili when he started the place decades ago, and it’s a local favorite.

    Bob, it looks as though you’re in Ludington. If so, do you know the names of any of the places up there serving Walking Tacos?

  7. Dave – I don’t think any of the downtown places (although there are a few new ones) sell walking tacos – in asking around some thought that the beach concessions had them last year and they always appear at the big events like the Gus Macker 3 on 3 basketball tourney or 4th of July celebrations. Of course the favorite ‘walking around’ food here is the House of Flavors Ice Cream.

  8. This is really clever! And we love Fritos, but in a taco? Great! Why not? Fritos would be a awesome!
    Love the name too! It’s the most memorable taco dish we’ve ever seen!

  9. I know some girls from work who have Relay for Life teams served ‘walking tacos’ in the past at the event at the fairgrounds.
    Also, at my daughters school, they have had them for lunch.
    I think it’s a great idea and the kids do seem to like them.

  10. The refreshment stand at the Monroe High School Soccer games have been serving walking tacos all season ($2). Very ingenious. They also allow you to use Doritos in place of fritos.

  11. I’ve had walking tacos at various fairs and festivals in northwest Ohio too. They’re a lot easier to eat while walking on a midway than most festival food — which, I’m sure is where the nickname came from!

  12. hola.. que rico!!!!

    never had a walking one though!

    nice new look!!

    how are are things? especially that pretty vintage chafing dish? I thought about you two weeks ago while at home in VA. I went to an estate sale and bought some old miniature s/p shakers in sterling silver. a set of 6, still in their old box. i dont’ have to polish them though, which is nice. i’ll post about it soon.

  13. The Smarty Pants Chefs

    The picture of the recipe looks so delicious!
    I’m going to let the kids make these at their end of year celebration and we will use these as a fundraiser item for camp and at yard sales and………………whatever else I can think of! Hey, I just of something else I can let the kids measure out the ingredients for 1 serving size as a math activity……!


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