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[whitespace] El Mexicano Taqueria


Pastor Its Prime:
El Mexicano Taqueria, 1102 Bird Ave., San Jose

By Kelly Luker

OK, so one lousy report of food poisoning (3/18/99) and suddenly El Mexicano is the bad hombre of taquerias. Admittedly, there was also that complaint of dirty silverware and water pitchers (validated by county inspection 3/31/99). And the complaint about flies (10/20/99). And two different complaints about reusing the salsa from the previous customer (4/12/99 and 7/12/99). And let's not forget the dozens of "numerous severe violations" that Environmental Health found all by itself, enough to generate not one but two threatening letters.

But who cares? It's lunch time and the faded menu promises this hungry chica her choice of cabeza (head), lengua (tongue) or cheeks, fare difficult to find at the local Denny's. I decide on an al pastor (marinated pork) burrito, which arrived a few minutes later. Apparently, few of the caballeros and construction workers crowded around the counter and filling up the tables had read the EH reports. Or maybe they came to the same conclusion I did--a few flies and a round of the turistas are a small price to pay for a decent burrito. And this place turns out a massive roll of tender and moist pork basted in sauce with a tongue-tingling bite. A major bargain at three bucks and some change.

Furthermore, it seems the second missive from Environmental Health managed to prompt a pretty good checkup by November of 1999.

Although it was scheduled for its followup visit in February, records show it didn't happen. One might wonder how a joint with such a notorious history has been overlooked going on six months now, but given EH's track record of all bark and no bite, maybe it just doesn't matter.

RATING: 3.5 forks

Introduction: Bottom Feeders.

Making The List: The methodology and ratings.

Not on the Menu: Gruesome complaints and bizarre things allegedly found in food.

Wok on the Wild Side: Asian restaurants still get disproportionately high rate of poor inspection reports.

Chew Fly, Don't Bother Me: Tory's Restaurant in Cupertino.

A Fowl Feeling: Mai Garden Restaurant in San Jose.

Fast Food Frightmare: Mr. Chau's Chinese Fast Food in Palo Alto.

Overly Greasy Spoon: Bob's Surf 'N Turf in San Jose.

Not Cool Enough: Gordon Biersch in Palo Alto.

How Fresh? Fresh N Healthy Vegetarian in San Jose.

Chill Is Gone: Nola in Palo Alto.

How Now Stale Bao? Thanh Mai in San Jose.

Coffee To Go, Please: My My Coffee and Sandwiches in San Jose.

Vermin in the Vermicelli: Florentine Restaurant in Mountain View.

Off-Screen Horror Show: Century Capitol 16 Theaters in San Jose.

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From the June 8-14, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.

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