11:30 a.m. Weekdays: Best Flautas 

Alameda Taqueria

Deep-frying does wonders for pretty much any type of food, but beef marinated in chile colorado (red sauce), then rolled up in fresh tortillas and thrown into a vat of sizzling oil, beats plain old zucchini and onions any day. Bury them with cool sour cream, rich guacamole, and cutting-board salsa, and you have yourself a dish that once you've gorged yourself upon, you'll crave perpetually. If your bent runs to chicken, these delectable flautas can still be yours -- and fear not, you'll find no mystery meat here. There are plenty of other menu options for carnivores and vegetarians alike -- uncomplicated meals with quality ingredients, from tacos to chiles rellenos, with rice and beans always an on-the-side option. Think RC Cola, Railroad Root Beer, and Diet Rite are soda has-beens? Think again -- these retro soft drinks are on tap, and refills are free. The most expensive items on the menu are combination plates, which run up to $7.50, and any order over $4 includes made-in-house tortilla chips with two types of salsa. Don't be put off by the bizarre mix of obligatory Corona-logo mirrors, orange cafeteria trays, ziggurat murals, and unappetizing low-budget photographs of meals pasted on the menu that hangs above the counter -- the proof is in the pudding, and the pudding is put-meat-on-your-bones delicious. An early lunch here will get you through the afternoon and beyond.

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