- Matthew Schniper
Alfonso’s Mexican Food, 1022 S. 21st St., 575-9289, sites.google.com/site/alfonsosmexican
As I wrote recently, when chef friends vouch for someone, somewhere or something, I listen up like an obedient child. The latest example comes via a couple pals who swear by Alfonso’s beef tacos.
The place has been around as long as I can remember and for some reason I filed it in my brain as drunk food — which I can’t say it isn’t. But my friends make a case for sober, day-time grubbing — clarifying that it’s only their favorite gut-bomb spot, not eat-anywhere-spend-more-money place. We slide into a booth and I notice fruit flies buzzing around. “Yeah, they’re always here,” says my pal, almost with a tone of nostalgia.
Our number’s eventually called and he returns with a tray of goodies on foam plates; my two tacos are accompanied by ample, plump, moist rice and serviceable refried bean mounds with a garnish of shredded, blended cheese, most of the strands only considering if they wish to melt. My other friend explains her fondness for the tacos as being just like what she used to eat in Nogales (Arizona/Mexico), with tender, shredded, and unabashedly oily meat encased in a hard, crunchy corn shell.
Squirting spicy rojo sauce completes the experience, she says, and I liberally employ it.