La Victoria San Jose – Ninja Janitor

2006/08/16

The story of the Ninja Janitor is one that I think I will be telling my great grandkids. Actually, anyone that’s willing to listen.

It was a hot and muggy night in San Jose, CA. The wife and I are having a good time at a bar watching idiots be idiots. As I’m accustomed to eating every two hours, I was ready to feast. About five or six blocks away from where we were was La Victoria. I’m a huge fan of the bottled salsa and I highly recommend picking some up where ever you can find it. Unrelated to the salsa line which I drink a pint of fort nightly, La Victoria Taqueria is one of the best Mexican restaurants I have ever visited.

This place has always delivered great quality, fast service, amazing price.

On this night I had a small group of the wife, another couple, and a fifth wheeled bachelor hanging out with me and the other couple was starving. It was already 10:30pm on a Wednesday evening. Where in SJ would you go? Most people I hang out with would not walk the streets in this section of SJ at this time of night.

But when my belly is growling, no ghetto can stop me from my burrito. So onward to La Victoria. It was uneventful on our route to our tacos. But when we arrived we met …. the Ninja Janitor. The wife later described him as handsome as Mr. Kelly Ripa, Mark Consuelos. I have no idea what he looks like (seriously, I don’t, why don’t you believe me?) but this guy was a damn good looking man. Unbeknownst to me at the moment of our impasse that I was face to face with the Ninja Janitor. He kindly greeted my party and I and then quickly handed us menus.

Menus? At La Victoria, you place your order and pay at the register, get a number, find a spot, gorge, leave. This was the first time anyone has ever handed me a menu and honestly, spoke perfect English while doing so. Normally I am that dork that tries to speak extra gooder English when in a Mexican restaurant…cause I’m an idiot that’s why. Back to the menus, I mean, while we walked up a gentleman that worked there (or at least I hoped he worked there) literally walked out the front door and dropped two bags of garbage over the side porch into the neighboring parking lot. Not quite the candle lit, menu having type of a joint.

Anywhoo, I was taken by surprise by the attention and politeness of Ninja Janitor and asked him what he recommended.

“I have this delicious Al Pastor that I recommend” Ninja Janitor replied.

“Are you the owner”? Fifth wheel asked.

“I am only the Janitor” NJ joked.

“Really” Fifth wheel replied annoyingly.

Ok, why would this small dining area even need a janitor? I’ve worked in food service and I don’t remember having “only a janitor” on anyone’s name tag. Everyone’s a janitor in food service.

NJ never responded to fifth wheel but out came a small cup of Al Pastor (marinated pork) and another cup of three tortilla chips. Ok, when you eat something that’s so damn good you cuss something fierce, yeah insert your best phrase here … “that is so $^#*@ damn good!!!”.

Instantly Fifth Wheel and I were ordering our tacos Al Pastor. The other couple followed suit with burritos and tacos and the wife…being the lady she is…got some fruity beverage and said she wasn’t hungry. Sigh.

Anyway, while we waited for our orders I had to step outside since it was hot as balls inside. At least it was hot for me living here in Bend where when the sun goes down, the temp drops. There, not so much. So the wife and I waited out on the front porch.

Inside there was a table of four highschool gangster wannabees. I say wanna bees cause I’m at my house right now, but I wouldn’t have messed with these kids, and I can fight. Seriously, I’ll mess you up.

While the wife and I were hanging out on the porch, the hoodlettes were making their exit. Now La Victoria normally has a couple cop cars out front, an ambulance, inside would be some cops, EMTs, gang bangers, some frat boys, and of course the wife an I standing there thinking that La Victoria is like a ghetto UN. But if you ever see cops and EMTs eating somewhere, it’s probably good food and fast.

As the Lil’ Hoods made their way to the street, the Ninja Janitor walked smoothly out from behind the counter. Now NJ was dressed pretty sharp even if he was really the owner of this little Taqueria. He looked like the Hispanic James Bond…seriously.

He chased down the Hoods just in front of the shop and calmly got the attention of the mini ring leader who was at least two feet taller than NJ. NJ walked passed the other three chumps and extended a friendly hand to his target. As their hands clasp, NJ pulled the tall hood in close and spoke softly.

The wife and I watched as NJ said his peace and then slowly walked back up the stairs. Li’l Hood tries to save face with a little “That’s effed up”!!

NJ wasn’t going to let this go any further. “It WASN’T the first TIME! I will NOT be taken advantage of!” NJ firmly stats without shouting. The hoods walk away quietly.

Ninja Janitor walks past us and flashes a sly smile in our direction. We sat at the big round table for five where the mini gang sat previously and enjoyed our eats. I got my Al Pastor taco supreme and although it was spicy as hell, I had to add the Orange Sauce. La Victoria is home of the Orange Sauce. If they bottled this stuff in something suitable for traveling with, I would buy all they have. ALL!

After we finished up with our tacos and burritos that come in plastic baskets with the little sheet of wax paper or whatever, I brought them up to the front. NJ wasn’t having it. He quickly comes out to take the rest of our empty baskets and makes sure we had a good experience. As we sat there drinking our fruity beverages, a sharply dressed couple shows up and greets NJ. He says his goodbye to the crew and follows the couple out, making sure to thank us for stopping by all with an award winning smile on his face.

Keep doing whatever it is that you do Ninja Janitor. Why would a small taqueria need a janitor, I have no idea. But whatever it is you do, you do it well. The Al Pastor was amazing good and I highly recommend that anyone visiting the SJ area, visit NJ and give it a go.

La Victoria Taqueria
140 E. San Carlos Street
San Jose, CA 95112
408-298-5335

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