Late Night Scene: Tacos a Go-Go

The first best thing about Tacos A Go-Go is the flood of sweet, sweet air conditioning that hits you as you walk in the door. The red metal tables and folding chairs would make a perfect setting for a pair of old men playing dominos, but right now all but one are empty, either because it's a holiday weekend or because it's not yet last call. The girl at the counter is friendly and ready to offer advice on the best taco plate combination. Conclusion: one pollo guisado, or spicy shredded chicken, and one picadillo, or ground beef, as well as a plate of pork tamales.

But before they show up, we dig into some chips and salsa. The chips are fine, though nothing to write home about, but sonnets could be written about the chunky salsa, which has a hint of smokiness. The tones of habanero pepper are like crack for taste buds: You can feel the heat as it ever so slightly blooms on your lips and down your jaw, but you just...can't...stop. Before the chips and salsa are completely inhaled, our order makes an appearance.

First sign these people know what they're doing: the side of refried beans came topped with a smattering of cheese. Not quite the über-traditional crumbly queso blanco, but very auspicious nonetheless. The pollo guisado taco is heavenly, but by the time the picadillo taco is consumed, the taco juices have made everything a little mushy. The tamales were a little heavy on the corn meal, but that didn't stop them from being dutifully devoured down to the last crumb. When we look up, the restaurant has started to pick up, with a few couples and a foursome of guys trickling in. But the restaurant -- with sound-killing acoustics, since the Continental Club is next door -- still feels, comfortingly, like it's ours.

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