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December 02, 1999
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LA TAQUERIA

1710 E. Charleston Blvd.

471-7447

LYLE LOVETT ONCE SAID THAT THE HARDEST THING ABOUT TOURING WAS HAVING TO EAT WHAT MOST OF AMERICANS THINK OF AS MEXICAN FOOD.

SO WITH THIS IN MIND, AND AFTER YEARS OF INTENSE STUDY I’VE DEVELOPED A THEORY. IT GOES LIKE THIS: IF YOU WANT A GOOD MEXICAN RESTAURANT, TRY EATING IN A PLACE THAT’S FILLED WITH MEXICANS. AM I A GENIUS OR WHAT??? IF THE GQ (THAT’S GRINGO QUOTIENT) EXCEEDS TWENTY PERCENT--YOU’RE HEADED FOR LOVETT-LAND. ONE PLACE THAT LYLE MIGHT APPROVE OF IS LA TAQUERIA ON EAST CHARLESTON. WHEN I TOOK MY FIRST BITE THERE OVER TWO YEARS AGO, I WAS TRANSPORTED BACK TO THOSE WONDERFUL FOOD STALLS AT THE GRAND CENTRAL MARKET IN DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES. BUT BEFORE I GET TOO CARRIED AWAY--I SHOULD FIRST EXPLAIN WHAT A TAQUERIA IS. DESPITE MY COMPLETE LACK OF SPANISH OR KNOWLEDGE OF MEXICAN CULTURE, I HAVE DISCERNED THROUGH STUDIOUS OBSERVATION THAT A TAQUERIA IS A TACO STAND WHERE FOOD IS FRESHLY MADE IN AN OPEN KITCHEN BY FOLKS WHO BARELY SPEAK ENGLISH WHILE A JUKEBOX PLAYS LOTS OF CATCHY SONGS THAT I DON’T UNDERSTAND SUNG BY SINGERS I’VE NEVER HEARD OF. IT ALSO HELPS TO HAVE A GREAT BIG MURAL ON THE WALL THAT’S HARDLY BY DIEGO RIVERA--BUT THAT HELPS TO SET THE FESTIVE MOOD HIGHLIGHTING THE SHARP FLAVORS OF REAL BEEF TACOS, MARINATED PORK BURRITOS, AND CHILI INFUSED SHRIMP AND SEAFOOD TOSDADAS. THESE PERFECTLY SEASONED STAPLES OF MEXICAN STREET FOOD ARE MADE WITH TOP SHELF INGREDIENTS AND TREATED WITH RESPECT AT LA TAQUERIA.

THEY PROVE THAT WHAT MOST OF US THINK OF AS MEXICAN FOOD IS NOTHING MORE THAN A BAD JOKE FOISTED UPON US BY CORPORATE AMERICA. SO, I SAY LIVE A LITTLE, TAKE A RISK AND GO WHERE GRINGOS NEED NOT FEAR TO TREAD. TAKE THYSELF TO LA TAQUERIA PILGRIM--AND SEE WHAT MADE THIS FOOD FAMOUS IN THE FIRST PLACE. BUT BEWARE OF THE GREEN CHILI HOT SAUCE ON ALL THE TABLES, IT WILL HAVE YOUR TONGUE DOING THE MACARENA IF YOU’RE NOT CAREFUL.

THIS IS JOHN CURTAS

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Archives

Nov 24, 2010 | Thanksgiving 2010 - Another Beanie Reveal
John Curtas delves into family history to discover the real story behind Grandma Schroader's Sour Beans.

Nov 19, 2009 | Valentino -- You don't know the truffles I've seen
According to Food Critic John Curtas, no other Italian restaurant in Las Vegas has performed at such a high level for so long.

Oct 1, 2009 | Blow It Up
In at least one part of town, our dining critic John Curtas says the food used to be a lot better.

Sep 25, 2009 | Social Media Meltdown
For our dining critic, John Curtas, social media has started to intrude on dining out.

Sep 2, 2009 | Discovering LOS ANTOJOS
Our dining critic John Curtas finds a new affordable favorite.

Aug 20, 2009 | Chinois R.I.P.
For John Curtas the recent closing of Wolfgang Puck's first Las Vegas restaurant brings back memories.

Aug 3, 2009 | Food, Inc.
John Curtas turns movie reviewer today - but the subject is in his usual area of expertise. Hear his review of "Food, Inc."

Jul 16, 2009 | The Steak That Saved Las Vegas
Dining critic John Curtas finds some steak aged for EIGHT MONTHS and he tells us how it tastes.

Jul 2, 2009 | Bang for Your Buck
Everyone's food budget is tighter these days. But if you still want to dine out now and then, our dining critic John Curtas has a few tips on restaurants now giving you more bang for your buck.

Jun 19, 2009 | Whassup with Wazuzu
Explore Dining Critic John Curtas' love/hate relationship with Wazuzu. If you want to spice up your dinner go for at least a "4 or 5."

Jun 12, 2009 | Two Farmer's Markets
Fresh, locally produced food has become a big trend across the U.S. Our food critic, John Curtas, says there's more of this trend in Las Vegas than you might think.

Jun 4, 2009 | MandM Soul Food
John Curtas tells us about one of his favorite dining spots - a surpsingly affordable one.

May 28, 2009 | Checkpoint Charlie
While fine dining has seen a downturn in Las Vegas in recent months, our dining critic John Curtas says at least one dining legend intends to stay put. Charlie Trotter is standing pat in Las Vegas. John Curtas reviews Resturant Charlie.

May 8, 2009 | Food Festival Frenzy!
It's a time of many food festivals in Las Vegas. John Curtas has an overview.

May 5, 2009 | Peppermill Coffee Shop and Fireside Lounge
A landmark Las Vegas restaurant gets a visit from John Curtas. He takes you to the Peppermill.

Apr 23, 2009 | Thai Me Up Thai Me Down
Thai cuisine is starting to show up in more places in Las Vegas. John Curtas has some recommendations

Apr 9, 2009 | A Gourmet Corner - In Spring Valley?
Food Critic John Curtas takes a trip to the strangest gourmet corner in town.

Apr 2, 2009 | Pip's is a Pip
If you're looking for good dining near Aliante, our dining critic, John Curtas, has found a new place to go.

Mar 26, 2009 | Stripped to Its Bare Essentials
Dining on steak at Planet Hollywood! John Curtas takes you along.

Mar 19, 2009 | Hachi is absolutely amazing!
John Curtas has a find - a Japanese-fusion restaurant on the west edge of the city.

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