Thursday

Taqueria Santa Cruz

Taqueria Santa Cruz
4023 South Maryland Parkway
Las Vegas, NeVada


Eating at the Pink Taco (Hard Rock Cafe) is great.

Chowing at Bamboleo (Rio) is great.

Dining at Diego (MGM Grand) is great.

But sometimes you want a no-frills, locally-owned restaurant with a menu limited to what they do best.

Thus:

!Grubbing at Taqueria Santa Cruz (strip mall off Maryland Parkway) is fantastico!

Quite unpretentious, there were three TVs were blaring un TelenoVela. The old, standard-issue furniture and floors looked clean. Three customers were faced down towards their plates.

And it was my lucky day -- menudo was on the menu! Maybe one of these guys ordered it -- but not me. Not today. I already had my run-in with menudo for the year -- unexpectedly, at that:

"Wow, that doesn't look like chicken. It doesn't feel like chicken. It doesn't taste like chicken."

"The guy said it was pollo. I know pollo. That ain't pollo."

"mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ... menudo."

Careful not to make the same mistake again, I played it safe at the counter -- tres tacos con POLLO y un coca cola.

The cashier/waitress/bus-person took my order then presented me with a glass 1-litre bottle of Coke (!) and a small basket of tortilla chips. Real chips ... not thin mass-produced chips.

I grabbed some tomato-chunky fresh salsa and smooth hot salsa from the condiments bar. They also had jalapenos, limes and some questionable-looking guacamole (not Very green, somewhat runny -- you can imagine how it looked).

Mucho me gusta la salsa calor. It was homemade, with pepper seeds liberally sprinkled throughout, and quite hot -- but not blow-you-away hot.

Then the tacos came.

One of my faVorite sayings is "I LIKE corn." And I do. I like corn chips, corn pops, corn flakes, corn on the cob, creamed corn, and especially ... corn tortillas. They giVe flour tortillas the beat-down eVery time.

So imagine my pleasure when the same cashier/waitress/bus-person brought out my three-taco plate with two fresh 2.5-inch corn tortillas anchoring each taco.

The corn tortillas were soft and not deep fried to a crisp, a huge plus. Piled on top were the aforementioned pollo and frijoles with cooked cebolla (onion), tomate and herbs/spices also mixed in.

Notice what's missing -- gobs of sour cream, fiVe layers of cheese and enough sauce to drown eVerything else.

Not that those things don't haVe their place. But they need to be eliminated to really enjoy a truly great taco.

Final Comment: Stop by for lunch and saVor the taste of high-quality, fresh ingredients and meals that are indiVidually prepared to order by someone who loVes the food and has a Vested interested in the quality of the restaurant.


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