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Taqueria Vallarta: Home of the $1.50 Taco and DIY Toppings

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Cheap lengua tacos for all!

I’m obsessed with tacos and burritos.  I mean, it’s kind of hard not to be if you like Mexican food and live in San Francisco, where the Mission grants access to so many different options and a taqueria on every corner.  Part of the fun of all these options is trying out new spots, but I’m the first to admit that I can be lazy sometimes and unwilling to venture any farther than, say, Taqueria Cancún (a Mission favorite Rebecca gave you the scoop on earlier this month that’s open til 2am on weekends).

However, there is a magical place on 24th Street that I was forced to go to recently and now may not be able to resist in the future:  Taqueria Vallarta.  There’s no denying the authenticity of the food here (unlike some more commercial taquerias that shall remain nameless).  The main attraction here is the tacos, which are only $1.50 each and have serious girth — definitely one of the largest street tacos I’ve seen.  The taco man stands right near the door so you can order directly from him if you’re getting the tacos and bypass the main line.

On my visit, I ate carne asada and carnitas tacos, which were delicious, even though my friend insisted I turn adventurous and try the “specialty meats” (lengua, cabeza, and whatever “stomach” is).  I wasn’t ready to go there.  Apparently the lengua (tongue) is quite famous, though, as a lot of people ahead of me were ordering it.

The best part about this place is that for the tacos, it’s DIY toppings.  I hate, hate, hate onions and can’t tell you how many of my noshing experiences have been ruined when I try out a new taqueria and don’t realize the spicy salsa or the guacamole has onions in it until my first bite, which becomes the first of thousands because I spend the next two hours picking out the tiny little onion pieces. At Vallarta, there’s a do-it-yourself toppings bar with lime, cilantro, onions and salsa, so you can control what goes on your tacos and how much of it.  And, of course, you’ll be stuffed for under 5 bucks.

Taqueria Vallarta 3033 24th St. (btwn Balmy & Treat) [Mission]

Photo courtesy of Yelper Ed U.

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Christy Jovanelly - Cheapskate Commentator

Christy Jovanelly - Cheapskate Commentator

When Christy announced she was leaving her family's Southern California home and moving to San Francisco, her mom said, "Have fun in that den of sin." This is the only (however sarcastic) advice Christy has ever taken from her mom, who also told her to join and cover her eyes during sex scenes in movies. Christy puts her creative writing degree to good use by locating the typos on Chinese food menus and spends most of her time challenging friends to all-you-can-eat contests and trying to get that one bartender at Zeitgeist to smile.