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July 26, 2001

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Mexican Delights




It’s no surprise that you have to go north to get seriously south of the border when it comes to eating good Mexican food. You monochrome valley and sumboringlin acolytes may be surprised to hear that that’s where all the Mexicans live…but I’m here to tell you, that whether it’s in northtown or on the moon, these folks know how to eat. Where else can you get ten kinds of meat in a fast food taco? I’ll tell you where: at Rigo’s Taco #8 way up north Las Vegas way—where most gringos fear to tread.

Any chowhound or intrepid eater can easily spot this oasis of meaty delights by looking for the brightly colored building decorated with hand painted murals of old Mexico. Walk into the joint and you’ll immediately notice two things: one, you are the only pale face in the place and two, no translations, except for briefly describing the difference between carnitas, al pastor, sesos and birria and buche, to name a few. Those meat descriptions include: your beef, pork and fried port standards, but not to be outdone, Rigo’s gives the discriminating carnivore a choice of beef brains, goat meat, pork maw, tripe, barbacoa and cow’s tongue…yummmmmmmm.

If that’s not enough to float your boat the fresh made salsa bar has some killer sauces and some marinated carrots that are the ultimate Mexican palette cleaner. I suggest washing it all down with some horchata—a refreshing almond-rice milk—which you’ll need before diving into the firey carne asada tacos. They come topped with an innocuous—looking red sauce—just a dab if it really—that will set your tongue free. As I sit here writing this, with my lips pleasantly inflamed, I’m wondering what gastro-intestinal surprise this lethal hot sauce has in store for me…but no matter—the pleasure was more than worth the pain—which is what spicy food is really all about. Those bored with the tedium of fast food ought to let themselves in for a treat, and a few surprises, by tasting it done right at Rigo’s taco number eight…and if any of you ever find the other seven, would you please let me know? tijc

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