By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
While I was on Harry Hines rug shopping (no, that's not a euphemism), I discovered El Paisa. Its menu is simple: just tacos, burritos, nachos and quesadillas. More important, the food is cheap as hell. We're talking $1.40 per taco. They've got indoor seating, but I hit up the drive-thru instead: Its tiny palm trees, overflowing trash cans and two picnic tables full of hookers were much too enticing to pass up.
At the first drive-thru window, there's a sign that asks you to keep driving to the next window to order. So, what you have to figure out is that the first window—the window you get to before you ever get to a menu—is the pick-up window? Does "el paisa" mean bass-ackwards in Spanish?
I drove another half lap around the little brick restaurant and when I found the order window, I asked for fajita nachos, a corn barbacoa taco, a corn pastor taco and a Coke. One more lap around the building and I was back to the pick-up window, where they almost immediately handed me my food. Sweet.
As soon as that bag of food entered my car, my nose and stomach started yelling at me, "Pull the fuck over, you dipshit! Don't you know there's a crap-ton of Mexican food in this car? What are you, some immune-to-the-power-of-meat-plus-queso-smell hippie?" I pulled over. Thet fajita nachos were no nonsense: just beef fajita meat, queso and refried beans on chips. I poured their salsa verde on top and after one bite of those nachos, an overwhelmingly warm feeling came over me. I took it as love—but it could have been the heat of the salsa making my insides disintegrate like some Roger Rabbit toon coming into contact with Judge Doom's dip. It was like getting a nice, comforting hug from a knife.
The tacos were good (larger corn tortilla than you usually get for a taco that costs a buck, barbacoa was super tasty, pastor was legit). Basically, it just comes down to whether you prefer tacos or nachos as your delivery system for El Paisa's kickass green and red salsas.
You should definitely check this place out. One thing to note: El Paisa is cash only, so be sure to hit the ATM or turn a trick before you show up.
El Paisa 10091 Harry Hines Blvd. 214-366-9789
Hooker count: 6
Tiny palm tree count: 4