2400 SW 29th St.
the weather barely above freezing these past weeks, the body craves
something warm and nourishing. Instead of boring standards like chicken
soup, maybe now is the time to indulge in a heaping, hearty bowl of
guiso, a Latino variation of classic stew. La Esquina specializes in
guisos, offering popular favorites like chile verde or guiso de res en
salsa de tomate, as well as regional specialties like the sinus-clearing
chile Colorado con papas (each $5.99 with tortillas), and a meaty pork
El Buen Gusto
2336 SW 29th St.
Buen Gusto is a popular destination eatery, with hungry masses coming
to sample its handmade, authentic El Salvadoran pupusas. For the
uninitiated, pupusas are thick, bready corn tortilla pockets stuffed
with cheese and whatever else, from beans to crispy fried pork. Two
unique offerings are the edible flowers ayote and loroco used as
fillings for about $3. Also, Gusto expanded its menu, adding more
Salvadorian dishes, with precise explanations in both Spanish and
Berta’s Mexican Cafe
635 SW 29th St.
Mexican Cafe looks so good, you will want to try what’s in each steam
tray. They’re filled with home-cooked, authentic dishes. While the menu
changes from day to day, offerings include creamy chicken molé, crispy
stuffed peppers, nopales in tomatoes and peppers and some of the best
menudo in the city. Whether fighting a hangover or not, this traditional
mix of broth, tripe and hominy ($9) is a meal unto itself.
Tortas El Chavo
721 SW 29th St.
tortas, or sandwiches, are pure works of culinary art, and the cooks at
Chavo are the true definition of sandwich artists. With more than 25
torta creations on their menu, selections include jamon y queso and
Cubanas and exclusives like the Hawaiana (ham, pineapple and cheese,
$8.50) or the Acapulquena (tilapia, shrimp and cheese, $9.00), all
loaded with lettuce, tomato, avocados, beans and chipotle.
2109 SW 29th St.
this isn’t about the chicken-fried steak sandwiches where, as the
commercials remind us, the meat “hangs over the bun.” (Though, oh man,
those are good.) Let’s talk about Indian tacos ($7.49). This particular
location started selling them on a lark, and they became a huge hit.
Fresh fry bread is topped with spicy ground beef, hot beans, cheese and
other fixings to make it an anytime treat.
Okie’s Chicken & Grill
2631 SW 29th St. 634-6543
down 29th, it’s hard to miss that bright yellow happy face beaming
bright to passersby. This little American indie fast food joint has been
building a little fan base. The regulars will tell you to try the
catfish special ($5.49) with two crispy-yet-tender, deep-fried fillets
with golden fries, fresh bread and a soda. The menu also features
burgers, hot dogs, fried chicken and even a gizzards and livers plate.
Paleteria y Neveria Monarca
2424 SW 29th St.
it’s ice cream in flavors that most people never knew existed
(cucumber, queso or cantaloupe, anybody?) or cool respados covered in
sticky-sweet juices like tiger’s blood or sour apple, Monarca is more
than an ice cream parlor. Healthy options include coctel de frutas ($5)
with strawberries, pineapples, cucumber, watermelon and cantaloupe.
Also, don’t overlook the Diabolito ($3.25), a signature respado that
perks up every taste bud with chili and chamoy on shaved ice.
— by Louis Fowler, photos by Mark Hancock and Shannon Cornman