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Savvy Mom: The Sure Thing


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The scenario was not unusual. Recently, I was out with my two sons, six and eight years old. After a movie, in spite of a big container of decent buttered popcorn, they began to whine with hunger. We weren't far from a popular pizza place I wanted to try. I thought we'd be early enough to avoid a wait since it was before six. I was wrong, and politely declined a 45-minute wait that I suspected would be much longer, judging by the crowd ahead of me. The cold wind whipped us as we hustled to our distant parking spot, and the cries of hunger escalated in frequency and intensity from the back seat.

I drove with all possible speed to the place I considered my sure thing. The kids love it every time, I have a usual that I'm perfectly happy with, it's inexpensive, and it's close to home. Alas, on a Sunday, it was also closed.

My mind reeled at my sure thing having turned on me. By now my kids weren't the only ones who were hungry. I searched my head for what else was close by: Thai and Mexican. I knew without asking which my boys would prefer, so I pointed us in the direction of El Taco Riendo on Central Avenue NE

Our third stop was the charm. It was warm and bright. There was only one person ahead of us in line. My boys sat and waited quietly, mesmerized by the television shows in Spanish, while I placed our order. Minutes later we were on our way home with fresh, warm food (that the kids would eat!) from a small, locally owned restaurant. The tacos, burrito, tamales, and quesadilla didn't last long once we were finally able to sit down.

El Taco Riendo wasn't fancy, but it was good, inexpensive, quick, and most importantly, open when I needed it to be. I've found a new sure thing.

2416 Central Ave NE, Mpls.
612-781-3000, eltaco-riendo.com

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Minnesota Monthly's Taste Blog answers your restaurant and dining questions, dishes on latest discoveries, reflects on breaking news, and generally brings the plate to the page with a skilled crew of experts: Learn more about the Taste bloggers.

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