Interestingly, for the second November in a row, I find myself in Des Moines of all places. This time at least the landing was a little less harrowing, though the weather is equally as chilly. On the recommendation of my co-worker I stayed down near Drake University sans car, so after my workout, I had to find something to eat within walking distance. A quick review of UrbanSpoon showed that most of the top rated and talk of the town places were more downtown which was a bit too much of hike. There were a couple BBQ joints close, but I had already been to Jethro’s, and had promised my dad a BBQ trip when I got to Denver. Finally, I decided to check out Mariana’s Tacos, and set out on the just under one mile walk.
To call Mariana’s non-descript is being generous. If it wasn’t for the one neon sign, I probably would have gone right past it. At the same time, it was a bit of a beacon as the neighborhood had gotten a little more iffy since leaving the University area. It was definitely a quiet night as I was one of two patrons (later to be joined by a family of 4). I took a seat back in the corner. The interior was definitely in stark contrast to the exterior with brightly decorated chairs and booths and tables. Spanish language television was on, and Spanish was being spoken throughout the restaurant.
I figured if I’m at a place called Mariana’s Tacos, I should order tacos. So I started with two of the Al Pastor spicy pork variety. They were definitely tender and had a little bit of a kick which was accentuated by the green chile salsa I spread over it. Everything was cut through nicely by the fresh cilantro and small bit of lime juice that I squeezed on.
But two small tacos (three normal sized bites) wasn’t going to be enough, and I wanted a few veggies. Seemed like a vegetarian burrito would do the trick…apparently we have different ideas of “vegetarian”. I we figuring a tortilla filled with sautéed peppers, maybe some other vegetables and some rice and beans. What I got was a rice and bean burrito was a little bit of lettuce and a couple tomatoes. And, as expected, it was ok, but nothing super special. I loaded it up with the salsa though to get some more spice, ate half, and ordered another taco. All in all, not a bad dinner for under $10.