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On Fifth Avenue, tramping uphill, north.

Get to Nutmeg Street, St. Paul’s cathedral.

It’s five o’clock. Unbelievable pink sunset. And I’m looking at it from this maroon stucco corner place almost the same color as the clouds.

Huh. I remember a piano place here once, and a picture framer? Whatever, now, in the sunset, its rosy, terracotta red stucco outside glows.

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Bougainvillea's clutching the side of this building like hot coals.

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Oh man, tempting, tempting. See it's called Barrio Star.

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Name has an almost Texan feel to it

So I walk through big double doors into this pretty romantic eatery bar. New Christmas decorations...

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...mixed with skull masks, candles, and purple, orange and white walls, and at one end, this huge, swoopy white plastic sofa.

The welcome table is loaded with a couple dozen lit candles all around full-sized skulls and a sign saying “Please wait to be seated.”

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But what thu heck. I make for the counter.

Soon as I set down, though, I’m shakin’ in my boots: everything’s going for, like $15 bucks or more, foodwise, and drinks are up there too. Fact is I’m down to my last six buckeroos. Saw the word “Mexican Soul” and took a chance.

But luck is with me! It’s Tuesday night, and hey, this guy Billy – turns out he’s the manager - says it’s Taco Tuesday. Points to a chalkboard above a passage to a purple side room.

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Oh yeah.

So chicken, carnitas, soy chorizo or tofu, $2.99. I mean, no way cheap compared to, say, even the Gaslamp on Taco Tuesdays. And fish or carne asada tacos are $3.50.

They also have $5 margaritas all night from five o’clock.

John the barman brings me an iced water.

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“Get you something tonight?” He hands me a couple of menus. I ain’t even gonna look.

“Was thinking about that taco. Would it be alright just to have that and this water?”

“Oh sure. Not a problem. Which one?”

So hey, A-Plus for attitude.

I go for the carnitas, pork. Must say, you feel kinda cool, sitting up on designer white stools at this multicolored ceramic-looking bar. Glows, like the sunset outside.

John warns me that this is street taco-sized. He makes a circle with his fingers and thumbs. Can see how for three bucks (and normally you’d be paying around $15 for a plate of three of them) people might have a size issue.

Yeah, it’s that small.

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But it’s a thick corn tortilla, and have to say, the pork-guac-cotija cheese combo (plus chopped onions) is fabulous and filling. Really flavorful. The cotija tastes like goat cheese. It’s squelchy, drooly, rico suave all the way.

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Takes me ten minutes to get through, what with talking and all. Turns out this is one of six or so eateries that the chef Isabel Cruz has going. And they say she was involved in The Mission in Mission Beach, North Park and East Village as well. Good news is this doesn’t feel like a chain.

So Tuesday’s the deal. Though they do have daily happy hour, five to seven.

But mostly I’d say it’s organic, dressed up Mexican nosh for the sleek classes who don’t get down to The Street a lot.

Me, I’ll come back any time, soon as I’ve moved up the food chain a little.

But Tuesdays, I’ll certainly be back. Hey, this water's delicious.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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