My God, remind me never to mix cheap champagne and Strongbow again. I think my insides have been removed and replaced with old cigarette butts and gutter water. Making matters worse, I hadn't had any alcohol since last Saturday and I think I shocked my system a little bit. I feel like total crap today, but I suppose I earned it.
I've you've driven up Central lately, you've noticed that Chiapas restaurant is no mas. In its place is El Taco Riendo, "the laughing taco." (But it's also punny because it sounds like él 'ta corriendo, "he is running." The logo is a smiling, running taco, ha-ha.)
I had lunch there earlier this week and can report that whatever remnants there were of the original horrendous interior decorating are finally gone. El Taco Riendo is more or less counter service; you tell the cook behind the sneeze shield what you want off the menu board, he makes it, and the cashier/manager/owner guy brings it over to your table on trays.
If you're in the neighborhood and need a quick Mexican lunch, go here, because it's the fastest I've ever gotten food at a Mexican restaurant. Average wait time at Adelita's or San Pablito across the street is anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes, but El Taco Riendo served up our order in about 5 minutes.
About that food. Sadly, I have nothing remarkable to say about it. The Mexican ordered a torta cubana, which was huge, but he didn't love it and left nearly half of it on his plate. I had tacos de papa, the rolled, fried tortillas stuffed with mashed potato, and they were fine. El Taco Riendo adds Mexican oregano to the potato, a nice attempt at making this dish different, but it doesn't really work. It came with the requisite shredded lettuce, diced tomato and tiny, domed glop of guacamole, as well as beans and rice that were just too bland to enjoy. I asked for a side of salsa, which helped jazz up the tacos a little bit, but it was also lacking in flavor (though it had heat) and could do nothing to resurrect the beans and rice.
It's my understanding that the owners of the building won't allow tenants to serve alcohol, so still no beer. Which will be the end of yet another Mexican restaurant at 2416 Central. Unless the food can manage to set itself apart by being better, or at least different, than the two places across the street, the speedy service might not be enough to keep people coming back.