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Taco TARDIS: Taqueria Sanchez serves big food, flavor for $1

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The problem is not the price. The problem is eating all the food you get for the price.

“My eyes were bigger than my stomach” is an odd phrase, because no matter how large your eyes are, I can guarantee at least 20 of them would fit in your stomach. You and nine of your friends (or enemies) would be blind, of course, but that’s what science is about: proving the impossible.

As a frequent visitor to restaurants, however, I know how easy it is to overestimate your hunger, especially when the selection is small and the prices so low.

This is how I came to the little blue truck called Taqueria Sanchez, 4011 NW 10th St., ravenous with hunger and shocked at the miniscule cost. But I paid a hefty price that day, my friends. Not, you know, with actual money. Instead, it was the psychic toll of being bested by a burrito.

I am probably the only one who refers to Sanchez as the Taco TARDIS, but as a Doctor Who nerd, it makes perfect sense to me. It’s a tiny blue truck that is bigger on the inside (look at how many people are working in there) and serves out-of-this-world treats that exterminate even the greatest of hungers.

If you’re going for a taco, prepare to get a few tacos.
They’re small, you see, but at $1 apiece, you can afford to try a few kinds. That’s the beauty of the tiny taco, isn’t it? There’s always room for just one more.

The choices are simple. There are four kinds of beef, plus chicken and pork: carne asada (steak), barbacoa and cabesa (different kinds of beef cheek), lengua (beef tongue) and the fowl and the swine.

The asada is the most assertive meat by texture and is little chewier but hits the palate with gusto. The cabesa is softer with more melted connective tissue, lending it a delicate, sumptuous quality. The barbacoa toes the line between the two and is still tasty.

The lengua is wonderful. Taqueria Sanchez cooks this one just right. It’s done all the way through, it’s soft and it’s delicious. Some taquerías dice the lengua into too-small pieces then cook it to death, but this preparation shows confidence and skill.

The chicken is spicy. The pork is tender. Every taco is served the same way: two stacked corn tortillas with meat, a little cilantro, onion and sauce poured down the middle. You will be forgiven for wondering which is which, honestly, because the tastes aren’t so dissimilar. But if you’re paying attention, I think you’ll find yourself a favorite.

“But what if I want something other than tacos, Greg?”
Well, I don’t know, man. Have you ever had tacos? Why would you want something else?

But, fine, you can get all those same meats in a variety of other products. The mulita ($2) sandwiches meat, vegetables and avocado between two small tortillas before going on the grill. The result is a crispy little sandwich with a lot of flavor.

The quesadilla ($4) is a large tortilla filled with meat, cheese and veggies and then folded over, grilled and cut into pieces. It’s quite filling and quite a bit better than the fast-food quesadillas you’re used to.

The torta ($4) is a sandwich with a little lettuce and tomato thrown in with your piping-hot meat. The roll used for the bun is soft and soaks up all the juice from the meat, so it’s soft and somewhat messy, and that’s OK.

Finally, the burrito. My old nemesis. At $4, it’s almost too big. Am I saying that out of spite? Perhaps. I have faced many burritos in my time on this earth, and none before had the gumption to stand up to me. None could withstand my voracious appetite until now.

Inside, there are refried beans and rice, which provide lots of heft, plus your choice of meat and a few grilled vegetables. Be sure to get the salsa, which has a good punch of heat. And don’t be upset if you, too, cannot finish it.

There is a Mount Everest for a reason. We all need something to which we can aspire, a challenge left for us to conquer.

If you’d like extra rice and beans on the side, it’s $2.50, and the beans are so good they must be bad for you.

Taqueria Sanchez opens for lunch and stays open well into the night, so if you find yourself west of Hefner Parkway and you’re peckish for a cheap and filling meal, it’s there and it’s wonderful.

And even if you’re just looking for a snack, you’ve got a dollar. Go crazy.

Print Headline: Taco TARDIS, Taqueria Sanchez serves big food — and bigger flavor — for $1.

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