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Saturday, January 26, 2008


D'Leon's has been a Lincoln establishment for several years now, going from their West O late-night drive-thru location to stores on N. 27th, S. 14th near SW high school and N. 48th in the old Taco John's building.

I've picked up drive thru food at the N. 27th location a few times over the years and always found myself thinking that the drive thru might be good for people at 3 am on West O but for people used to driving thru a McDonald's or Wendy's and getting their food in 5 minutes or less, especially during a lunch hour, this wasn't the way to go.

I went at least two years without going to D'Leon's at all. I had become a Mexican food snob and D'Leon's couldn't serve me little tacos with various kinds of pork, chicken and beef served with lime wedges and radish slices like Super Taco, La Mexicana and El Chaparro could. I'd written off D'Leon's as a Mexican restaurant trying to be a more authentic Amigo's.

Working in the SW quadrant of the city eventually led me to the D'Leon's store off 14th and Pine Lake behind the Popeye's. I don't eat out for lunch very often but when I do I try to avoid the places my co-workers visit on a disturbingly frequent basis (Chipotle, Noodles & Co., Popeye's, Red Robin and Famous Dave's). I'm definitely not saying the food at D'Leon's is any healthier than the food at the chains because it is most definitely not but as a once every couple of weeks treat, it feels better.

When I hit D'Leon's for lunch I always time it to be either before or after the LSW lunch rush but even then at 11 am or 1 pm there are plenty of people there. I don't mind waiting 10 minutes for my food when I go in like I would if I were in the drive-thru. A lot of that care-free time is no matter attitude is because of the salsa bar.

The salsa bar has three different salsas; a fiercely hot orange smoky sauce, a mellow green jalapeno based sauce and a hybrid of the two. What's best about the salsa bar is the whole roasted jalapenos, the onion-radish relish soaked in vinegar with peppers, the lime wedges, the radish slices and the hot carrots. There's practically enough garnish and sauce there to make a meal in itself.

I usually accompany my salsa-bar selections with the five rolled fish tacos special for $3.99. You get 5 taquito-like rolls filled with white fish and then covered in lettuce, queso blanco and the most wonderful white sauce you've ever had. It's not mayo and it's not tartar sauce. I'm not sure what it is exactly but it makes everything taste better.

I also recently had the nachos which were priced equally with the classic Taco Inn nachos but were so much better it seemed ridiculous I'd worshiped the Taco Inn nachos for so long. First, they were topped with real chunks of steak that had a flavor I'd never seen from nacho meat before. The chips were made of corn rather than flour and they were crispy as if they'd just come out of the fryer. The whole thing was laced with subtly spice guacamole, sour cream and more cheese, onions and refried beans.

I've definitely come around on D'Leon's from a few years ago although I wonder how the salsa bar looks at the other locations because that is a key.


Anonymous Mr. T said...

I like the N. 27th D'Leon's and go there often. I've never been to the SW location although I drive by there at least 3 times a week. I never knew they had a salsa and garnishings bar, or rolled fish tacos at this location! At some point I am going to have to stop by. Welcome back!

8:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Comparing D'Leons to Amigos!?!! Bite your tongue!! You don't know good D'Leons until you've had one of the burritos ... surely made with enough lard and love to clog your arteries for days. But oh, sooooo good. I crave those tortillas every few weeks or so and an extra hour or two on the treadmill makes it all worth it. IMHO, the food at the West O site is still the best.

10:37 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

You don't worship Taco Inn flour chips anymore? You've changed...

10:16 PM  
Blogger Swoof said...

I also now prefer shakes to malts and guppies to betas. Weird, huh?

12:32 PM  

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