Hannah Elbaum ’19
On Sunday afternoon, eight pages deep in to writing a research paper, I suddenly looked up at my friend, Emmy, across the table from me. “I want tacos,” I said. She just laughed and went back to her calculus homework. “No, I’m serious.” Some perfect timing ad placement meant that an ad for a new taco appetizer at some restaurant chain popped up on Pandora, and I could no longer think about anything else but getting tacos.
A few minutes and some cajoling later, I had convinced Emmy that tacos were the dinner plan for the night. After packing up our books and papers, we walked downtown to La Veracruzana, a Mexican restraint across the street from Local Burger, another Smith favorite. Though the name is small above the storefront, there is a bright red awning.
Guests are greeted by faint music as they walk through a purple curtain to the yellow restaurant with a tile floor and artwork scattered on the walls. The counter at the back has a large, handwritten chalkboard listing the menu hanging over it. There is a casual vibe where guests seat themselves and a low level soundtrack of a telenovela on a screen.
To place your order, you walk up to the counter and speak with the helpful and kind wait staff. The chefs and kitchen are just behind the register, so you can see all your food being made fresh, right before your eyes. There is also a wide variety of salsas to add to your meal, with varying degrees of spiciness on signs so you don’t accidentally burn your mouth on what you had thought was mild!
I ordered tacos with potatoes and carrots, and Emmy ordered tacos with sirloin and onions. We also had to get guacamole and chips because earlier in the day, the two of us had been discussing the qualities of quality guacamole. This was certainly a quality guacamole seasoned with onions, cilantro and other spices.
Everything was delicious and still perfectly warm, even the corn chips The soft corn taco shells were just big enough to hold a little of all the fillings, but small enough that it wasn’t tedious to eat. I added mild salsa to my tacos for a little kick, although the potatoes and carrots were wonderful on their own as well. Emmy added tomatillo salsa to her sirloin. When I asked how it was, she could only nod in appreciation of the deliciousness.
We devoured our meal quickly and sat back for a minute to breathe. From our table in the corner, we could see others gathering with friends and family to also enjoy an inexpensive but yummy meal before beginning the week.
As a vegetarian with a gluten allergy, it can be hard for me to find filling, delicious food. Because traditional Mexican food often uses corn instead of wheat flour, there were numerous options, and La Veracruzana has both meat and vegetarian options for their tacos, tostadas and enchiladas.