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Taqueria Chihuahua ~ Santa Monica

Taqueria Chihuahua ~ 1909 Lincoln Blvd. ~ Santa Monica

Chihuahua is a local with some ambition, it has branches on both Venice and Lincoln Boulevards after previously losing their lease on Olympic and 20th. The Lincoln location is brand new and TACO paid it a few visits last week. They advertise a lot of different options on their menu and on the walls and windows, but were known primarily for their tacos and burritos at their old location on Olympic where they had legions of fans who liked the quality of the ingredients and the low prices.

Clockwise from bottom: Potato Dorado, Carnitas, Cabeza, Asada

The Lincoln location lives up to the standards of the old Olympic spot. The carne asada is very flavorful, somewhat tender, and perfectly charred. The meat quality is a cut above the usual and equal if not slightly better then its main competition in the area, Tacos Por Favor. The cabeza is great, very well stewed and served shredded with lots of rich gamey flavor. The carnitas are solid, not out of this world but flavorful and authentic. There are tacos dorados with lettuce, cheese and hard shells which aren't bad but are inferior in just about every way to the regular tacos. There is a potato one though for the vegetarians in the crowd which is pretty good.

View from Taqueria Chihuahua
Lookin' out on to Lincoln

Each order comes with chips and two types of salsas, one a fresca for the chips and the other a citrusty chile del arbol with a small bit of heat. The only real problem at Chihuahua is a lack of a salsa bar or at least some hotter and fiery salsas. You do get some jalapeños on the plate, but a super-hot salsa would've really gone well with any of the beef tacos.

The people at the Lincoln location are friendly and nice, and the price is right: $1.25 to $1.50 per taco. The crowds on the days I went included paint-speckled workers, an old grandmother with her grandson, a pair of cops, and some hipsters discussing biofuel. The space is small but clean, and it gets good sunlight during the day. The kitchen has a window so you can check out the cleanliness back there for yourself.

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