Ever move away from a place, and then come back a few years later and say something like, "man, I hardly recognize a thing?" A lot of people are going to say that about Jefferson Boulevard in the coming years; I'll bet you a crispy taco on it.
Right now, Jim Lake is sculpting the entire north side of the 300 block with his Jefferson Tower project. The new façade, complete with finished-cedar trim will be a beacon to customers with discretionary income and a hunger for ice cream laced with Madagascar vanilla or freshly brewed peppercorn pilsner. It will also serve as a warning for family businesses that have given life to the neighborhood for years: your rent's about to go up, probably a lot.
Beneath those cedar accents, Gonzalez Restaurant peeks out like a relic. Stand out on the street looking in, and you'd hardly recognize the place as a decades-old Tex-Mex spot, but walk through the door and it's obvious that not much has changed for years.
That includes the tacos pictured above, whose shells are so light and ethereal they might rise above the gentrification outside, and speak to the greater good. Tex-Mex, the genre synonymous with sluggishness and afternoon naps, should take a note or two from these precious tacos: things that emerge from the deep fryer need not eat like cement.
Only the meat and garnishes give these tacos any heft. Remove the lettuce, tomatoes and cheese, and the shells would slowly float toward the ceiling, vanishing, just like that loan shop across the street probably will, too.
That they only cost $7.95 only adds to the deliciousness, and they come with rice, beans and all the chips and salsa you can handle. Oh, and two flour tortillas that are so thick you might mistake them for pita bread. Of course prices like these can't be guaranteed forever considering the surrounding economic environs. Get your crunchy tacos while you can.
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