El Taco Loco
I know what you’ll say: “But Mike, I already have my favorite local authentic Mexican food joint.”
It’s true, the best food in the Yakima Valley is imported from Latin America — in spirit and flavor at least — and you can get it anywhere.
El Taco Loco in downtown Yakima is one of the best examples of the city’s unique cultural and culinary offerings. Lost among the unremarkable office and store fronts on the bottom floor of the Holtzinger building at First and Yakima avenues, the atmosphere comes into its own when you hear the bells on the doorknob jingle.
Once inside the restaurant — which is only open for lunch — you’re greeted by the sizzling aroma of sauted meats and vegetables on the stove and a spicy salsa bar of colors red and green, outdone in beauty only by the colorful patterns on the walls, tables and flags.
I got an adobado (marinated pork) burrito, a pollo azado taco, chips and a drink for $8.66. They also offer juicy, meaty sandwiches known as tortas for $4.95; enchiladas for $2.25 each; and specialty plates with rice, beans and your choice of meat for about $7 each.
The portions are moderate by more Americanized Mexican restaurant standards, but odds are you’ll still find yourself looking for an ottoman as you recline under the weight of your swollen gut.
And while you’re bloated and motionless, staring at the rose-colored ceiling and congratulating yourself for beating the heavy noontime rush, you may also notice that you scarfed it all down in the same amount of time it takes to play the Spanish-language cover of “Telephone Lines” by the Electric Light Orchestra.
Well, it happened to me at least.
– Mike Faulk
El Taco Loco
Location: 19 W. Yakima Ave.
Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. M-F.
Prices and specials: Daily lunch specials are offered, including today’s chicken mole, and nothing on the menu is priced at more than $7.