Eric Bartl 11:30 a.m., June 17
What makes me jump off the #2 bus I don’t know.
Well, maybe I do. Usually I’ve zinged past this corner house Mex. eatery, jes' 'cause I'm imagining all the cool places around the corner in South Park. Tonight something tells me to pull that cord.
Kinda light in da pockets right now.
So suddenly I’m left at the corner of 30th and A, right where you finish climbing out of Golden Hill.
And across the road sits that comfy little house with the big sign on a pole: “Benny’s Mexican Food” (1244 30th Street, 619-238-1740). Sure to have some bargain food.
It's brown and cream, outside and in.
“We’ve been here 32 years,” says Erika, when I get inside.
She’s been working here 5 of those 32 years, and it looks like I’m the only person here who isn’t in here every day. Guys who work in the C&L Auto Repair next door, moms with their kids in strollers, students, families watching the soccer in Spanish...
So glad I did. This is like jumping back in history, before $12 burgers and $5 fries. ’Course they have the whole panoply of the Mexican lexicon of food: the most expensive are things like chorizo burritos ($4.25) and carne asada nachos ($6.50), or combo plates like camarones a la diabla ($8.50).
But my eyes are on the Specials board, right here at the kitchen counter. Deals like 4 rolled tacos with ground beef for $2.55, a “mini” burrito with beans and cheese for $1.65. Or a mini tostada with beans for $1.65.
I mean come on: who can resist this? I go for the mini burrito and the mini tostada, and add a horchata (the really refreshing rice drink) for $1.70.
And guess what? These things aren’t mini at all. I start off with the tostada (everything’s nice and fresh, and Berto the cook has it up in two seconds flat).
And there’s a lot. Two different cheeses, and good strong green salsa (or less hot red stuff) to glug on top. Actually, what with the horchata, the tostada is a nice little crunchy meal in itself.
I end up taking the burrito home, and that’s a nifty little late-night meal Carla and I share.
Total spent: $5.27, including tax. Now tell me that fifteen-buck Gaslamp boiger is three times as good.
Note to self: Get off that #2 more often.