Mariachi music blares from a large speaker in the rear corner. A bunch of dudes who look as if they just got off shift somewhere belly laugh and trade jabs (all in Spanish) at the bar counter, nursing Negra Modelo bottles. Of course there’s a soccer match on TV, above where large tables of families eat. It’s bustling considering a change in ownership just a month ago; our waitress says the new proprietors hold Durango, Mexico, heritage. Because a barbacoa plate’s the only dish to note “grandma’s recipe” we select it, soon glad we did. She says it’s made with red chile (which varietal she’s not sure), vinegar and, importantly, slow-cooked with oranges — their acidity breaks down the beef cheek’s muscle fiber and adds a faint citrus tinge. We pull out bay leaf bits and detect a touch of other seasoning, but the highlight’s dipping a forkful of the shredded goodness in a kick-ass chile verde sauce. Even the rice and beans are on point, respectively veggie-
flecked and three-cheese garnished.