LPM Staff

Mexican grill catches fire with local fans

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OK, perhaps one of your guilty pleasures is stopping by that late-night pop-up tent taco stand that your significant other wouldn’t be caught dead at, ordering tripas or whatever your appetite is craving at the momentito.

Instead, drop in to El Taco Tote on your way home from work and – ¡sorpresa! – bring home dinner for four from one of the fastest-growing franchises in the southwest. In 1988 Jose Pacifico Heras founded the first El Taco Tote in Juarez, Mexico. Tejanos in El Paso have had the pleasure of dining at three El Taco Totes, while franchise plans call for the eatery to spread to Tucson, Dallas, Chicago and San Antonio.

The great thing is that the menu offers freshly grilled beef, pork or chicken along with accompanying handmade tortillas (flour or corn), beans and rice for about $20. When’s the last time you took out la familia for that price?

And these meats are not shipped in, ready to microwave. Each restaurant has a butcher who slices and marinates the entrees daily before they go on the grill. Tortillas also are made on the premises.

Should you decide to dine in, there’s plenty of seating, plus a great salsa bar with all the fixin’s: chopped cilantro, onions, tomatoes, shredded lechuga and jalapeños. For those who can’t get enough carbs, papotes (baked potatoes) are available. Lunch guests will spend an average of $8 – not bad for a grill.

Speaking of availability, last time we ate there (a weekday afternoon), a few of Phoenix’s finest firefighters were also eating lunch. While travel lore says truckers know a good roadside diner, we believe bomberos can’t be wrong about Mexican food restaurants. ’Nuff said.

$ El Taco Tote Real Mexican Grill, 3464 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix; dine in or take out. Phone: (602) 995-9610


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