$7 at Chiloso's Taco House

Where: Chiloso's Taco House, 701 E. 20th St., 713-868-2273

What $7 gets you: A quick lunch of tacos, beans and rice and a big-ass bottle of Coca-Cola.

Sometimes the weather is so nice in Houston that the best meal is one enjoyed on an outdoor patio. A personal favorite is Bubba's Texas Burger Shack, but even a place like Brother's Taco or Poppa Burger does the trick.

So when we were driving through the Heights earlier today and spotted Chiloso's Taco House, a couple blocks west of Studewood on 20th Street, it looked like the perfect spot for lunch. When we pulled into the parking lot, however, we wondered, just like our former colleague, where the hell everyone was. If it wasn't for the teenage busboy dragging a bag of trash out the side door, we might have thought the place was abandoned.

But, sometimes the only thing better than an outdoor meal on a beautiful day is an outdoor meal on a quiet patio. And a $5.50 lunch special isn't too bad, either.

The lunch special at Chiloso's gets you a two tacos filled with spicy beef, lettuce, cheese and tomatoes, and, of course, rice and beans. We almost ordered something off the lengthy breakfast menu, like breakfast tacos or Mexican potatoes, and we're always tempted by cheese enchiladas, but, on this day, we stuck with the special.

The tacos were good but tasted rather ordinary, even if the rice and beans had enough of a unique kick to make up for it. The bright-yellow plate was pretty festive, too.

The one problem with Chiloso's is that it's in Houston and it calls itself a taco house. The building is, in fact, a house, but for some reason the word "house," whether it's a taco house or burger house or waffle house, has become synonymous to us for "ridiculously large portions that cost next to nothing."

Three tacos instead of two would've done the trick, and we expected at least another spoonful of rice and beans. After we got our plates, we went back inside to order a side of flour tortillas, just to leave the place with a full stomach. We asked the woman behind the counter for the side, and she pointed at a woman holding a roll of paper towels. When we asked her for some tortillas, she looked puzzled, then nodded and smiled.

Maybe that woman didn't work there, or maybe she didn't understand, but after we walked back to the patio, we never saw her again. 

Recommended? Yes, if you're in need of a quick taco lunch. The order was delivered to our table before we could even decide on the perfect spot with just the right combination of sun and shade.

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