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Taqueria San Vicente, South Arlington - Closed.

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"Enough with this figure-watching business," I said to myself this morning. "Bottom is crying out for calories contained in actual foodstuffs, not compressed in vile SlimFast cans cunningly designed to taste as repulsively as possible. Ich heisse superfantastische."

So around lunchtime I went roaming around the roads of suburban Va. whose only redemptive value in my book is high percentage of ethnic eateries. (And outlet malls, but that's a bit too far.) Actually, lately I've been cheating on Rocks and taking food advice from the folks at DCist, what with my newfound home and all. And it's ever so convenient that their newest find, Taqueria San Vicente, is not even a ten-minute drive away from my office.

It's a quaint little shack plopped right in the middle of a CVS parking lot. Decoration is minimal. Salvadorean music videos playing on a staticky TV. Neon signs advertise tacos and other goodies like pupusas and hamburgers (note to self: would love to see a pendejo who would go there for hamburgers.)

I admit, I came jonesing for the chorizo tacos as advertised. To my chagrin, chorizo tacos were no mas. "Maybe this afternoon," offered a shy waitress.

Fat lot of good will that do for me!

"Si no chorizo, que?" I said, pouting.

"Carne," she smiled at me.

So tacos con carne it was. And I have to say, for under $10, it was a damn good lunch. Three neatly double-layered tortillas with only a hint of scorching. Lean shredded beef grilled before my very own baby blues. Finely chopped tomatoes, radishes, onions and cilantro, not brunoised, of course, but chopped finer than I can chop, and generously ladled onto the mounds of beef. Wee containers of jalapeno sauce (ay mamita linda hot hot!) and chile sauce (gringo regular hot.) All prepared and assembled from scratch while I waited, not fished out of glass counter where it may have lingered for hours.

Got a side of San Vicente's version of cole slaw, which was delightfully free of creamy, nasty white sauce in which typical gringo cole slaw is usually awash. In fact, their slaw was curiously close to what my own mamochka used to preserve back home - just salty cabbage with a hint of carrots and an even daintier hint of fennel. If you order to go, as I did, the same shy waitress packs a few tongfuls into a ziplock baggie. For $1.25, what do you expect, bloody Wedgewood?

Upon return to the office, tacos were consumed with much gusto and found neat and flavorful if a touch too dry - which perhaps comes from my gringo reluctance to dump the whole container of hot sauce on said tacos. The upside of that is you can comfortably hold the said taco aloft while you bite into it, unfraid that gobs of unknown origin grease will drip on your darling cashmere.

All in all, a nice diversion and $10 spent on actual prepared foods, not Boston Market or Cosi or similar nonsense. If you live or work nearby, consider the trip, it's a very nice alternative to the usual, tired and tasteless suspects.

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