top of page

El Taco
page 2

El Taco copycat Rice Recipe

Moms El Taco copycat Rice Recipe

I loved El Taco rice, maybe because it was the rice I grew up eating. It had a light fluffy texture, never hard, al-dente, sticky, or too wet.

This recipe has been adapted for home kitchens, as the original recipe was for making very large restaurant-sized quantities. It still makes quite a lot of rice, but it freezes and thaws well, so you can make a big batch and freeze smaller portions in zip-lock bags for future use. (You could  also cut the ingredients in half to make a smaller portion, but then you will have a half can of tomato sauce left over.)

2/3 cup oil or butter
2 cups dry long-grain rice
2 large chopped onions
4 cups water
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
4 tablespoons dried garlic granules or garlic powder
2 teaspoons salt
15 ounce can of tomato sauce

Heat the oil or butter in a large frying pan.
Add rice, onions, fresh garlic, salt and garlic powder in the pan and stir well.
Continue frying and stirring until the rice becomes somewhat translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add the water and tomato sauce. Stir well, cover and reduce heat to simmer, leave it for 30 minutes.
Serve and Enjoy!



1973, El Taco Rules and Regulations. Easy-to-read text follows the pics.





Girls: Must wear white pants or dark brown pants. Hair must be tied neatly away from face.

Boys: Must wear dark trousers while on duty. Hats must be worn at all times. Hair must be cut regularly and must not hang over collar or ears.

All employees are expected to be presentable in every way to meet the satisfaction of the customer. Good personal hygiene is of utmost importance when handling food and dealing with the public. It is our suggestion that all employees brush their teeth, bathe, and change their clothes regularly. Shoes should be polished or washed regularly.


All employees are entitled to one 10-minute break every three hours worked. Breaks should be timely if there are customers waiting to be served, you must take care of them first. Remember you are here to serve the customer. If you are called during your break to wait on customers, you may resume your break when the customers have been served. Breaks should not be taken when friends are in the patio.


All unscheduled days off must be planned at least one week in advance. You must have a replacement, approved by the manager, to work your regularly scheduled hours. You will be paid overtime after working 8 hours in one day or over 40 hours in one week.


Any person suspected of theft, over-portioning, or giving away free food, etc. will be dismissed immediately. Being honest includes doing the amount of work you are being paid to do and complying with the rules setup by the management.


The telephone is for business use only. There will not be allowed any personal calls either incoming or outgoing. Unless Important.


The radio has been set on a classical station. This has been done for a purpose and the dial must remain on this station.


Friends and family are to be treated as any regular customer. Over-portioning or giving out free food is considered dishonest and will be grounds for termination of employment. Absolutely no one but employees are allowed in the kitchen and office area. Anyone else must remain either in the patio or restrooms.


It is of utmost urgency that all employees understand that the customer is always right regardless of what is said or done. If a customer tells you he ordered something, and you don’t have it prepared or the customer says that an item you have prepared was not ordered you should ask his pardon in a very polite manner and correct the order to the customers satisfaction.

Always remember that the customer creates your job for you, and he is also the one who pays your wage. Pleasing the customer should be your highest goal at work. Cleanliness, friendliness, good food and fast service should be the goal of every employee.

Employees should help one another on orders so as to eliminate excess movement and confusion behind the counter. For example: If an employee is making tacos and your order calls for a taco ask them to make you one and if possible, you help them to stuff and prepare the tacos if you have the rest of your order.


Customers do not care how busy you have been or how long you have worked without a break, they care only that their order be prepared correctly and given to them in a minimum amount of time.


Parking lights, patio lights and the sign should be turned on 1/2 hour before sun down.



I created this table of employees for two reasons.

  1. Mainly, to post their names online so anyone searching for them could find them. It is my hope that any El Taco employees or their children, family or friends might contact me. I would love to hear what they went on to do after their time at El Taco. I would love to receive more photos and stories of El Taco; whether the South Gate location or any others.

  2. I wanted to learn how to create a sort-able table on a webpage, so this was a great way to start!

The following table works as intended on a regular desktop/laptop web browser - it is difficult to use on a mobile phone because of its sheer size, there are 8 horizontal columns and 85 vertical rows. Please do view it on a web browser if you intend to spend more than a few moments on it.


  • Initially sorted by number of DAYS employed - longest to shortest.

  • The length of time is approximate, based on the only records I had available to me, such as dated photos, check stubs and time-clock punch cards.

  • Some people I have very little information on, but I included them in the table because either I remember them, or I have photos of them working. Often the photos had just a first name, no last name or date.

To calculate the length of time employed I used simple formulas in Excel:

  • Date "TO" subtracted from Date "FROM" to calculate the total number of days worked.

  • Number of "DAYS" divided by "7" to get the number of Weeks.

  • "WEEKS" divided by "4" to get the number of Months.

  • "MONTHS" divided by "12" to get the number of Years.

bottom of page