URBN is vast and cool. Patrons cluster at candlelit communal tables around craft beers and pizzas, exuding pockets of warmth in an otherwise open, sparsely decorated warehouse. A passing landscape of cars travels east and west-bound along University Avenue; floor to ceiling garage-style windows open up to the street, and a long, wooden counter with stools overlooks the action. Coal-fired pies are served late and just right with charred bits among chewy, crispy, air-pockety crust; seasonal salads, roasted chicken wings, plus other snacks are all brought to you by attractive, friendly hipster types. A real cast of characters runs North Park’s newest joint, and also expect to see local industry folk strolling in post-shift for reasonably priced food, craft beers, and a saucy cocktail menu. Open at 5pm daily.
Beef taco from Tacos El Paisa on 25th and Imperial. Under 2 bucks.
Beef isn’t supposed to be enjoyed like this all time. Just like you shouldn’t make a habit of drinking at noon, this taco is not meant for routine consumption. That’s right, the beef taco at El Paisa is an indulgence; the devil’s food of Mexican take-out.
As I’ve lamented in previous taco blogs, beef is all too often dry, overly wet, or simply uneventful in flavor. The absolute KEY to a table-smacking-good rendition is cow that’s cooked slowly in its own fat. Even better if it was made the day before, cooled overnight, reheated the next day, and then cooked down some more. The taco bound meat is intensely flavored and tender; beef-fat infused shredded beef. Yes please!
El Paisa right before the corner of 25th and Imperial is home to delightful beef tacos. A hearty serving of crispy-bit-flecked meat sat comfortably in a shell that held its contents from start to finish, and shredded lettuce, salsa fresca, strings of processed orange cheese, and finely grated cotija accented the main event. Hot sauce at El Paisa is not for everyone (as it shouldn’t be); the thin, red salsa I dumped along the taco resulted in several minutes of post-meal struggle. Watery eyes, runny nose, a release of endorphines, and fuel for my addiction. Habanero hot sauce… must have more!
Go check out La Paisa’s beef taco; the elation it brings is worth well beyond its dollar-something price tag. And remember, don’t be tempted to indulge more than a couple times a week, if you care about your arteries or waistline, that is.