Smoke Rings

The ingredients for the beef mesquite fajitas ($10.95) at Los Tios (4840 Beechnut, 713-660-6244) are so compelling that you may need a tortilla the diameter of a beach ball to make room for everything you want to include. Alas, these are just mortal (handmade flour) tortillas, and you must employ a degree of selectivity in assembling. The guacamole has a deep, delicious flavor, but don't pile it on too thick. The pico de gallo is fresh and dark with jalapeño bits, but go easy. Sour cream? Just a small slather. The mesquite-smoked fingers of beef are what you're saving room for. Each slice shows smoke rings like a day-long-smoked brisket even though it's spent only minutes on the grill. Ah, hell, throw caution to the wind and turn your fajita into a big, fat gordita.

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Carol Rust