Back in 1998, two guys in my Spanish 101 class did their cultural project on Mexican food. Although they were supposed to make the food themselves, I spotted them the night before at Panchero”s buying a massive amount of quesadillas and tacos.
I snickered during their presentation, as they blamed the inadequacies of their visual aids on that they got up at 6 a.m. to start cooking and were “tired.”
So we were fed cold, rubbery food that morning in class. Not that big a deal because you can rarely expect much from take-out Mexican.
Back then, there were only two places close to campus to get Mexican/Southwestern/Tex-Mex food: Panchero”s and the East University Ave. Taco Bell.
You could also get delivery from Tio”s, but the wait during the dinner rush was always long and the walk to their Huron Street location was not worth it.
Then, the campus Taco Bell appropriately fell victim to culinary Darwinism and withered away Panchero”s was the only game close to campus.
While I will always enjoy Panchero”s for a late night snack when I”m on that side of campus, there”s a new place in the State Street area that brings a fresh attitude to Mexican food. Listen up campus (especially the Daily”s Sports staff), Sabor Latino Taqueria, at 211 S. State St. is a lot closer than the Taco Bell by the Ann Arbor Municipal Airport, and ten times better than the drive-thru swine feed you”ll get if you “run for the border.”
Sabor Latino, which opened this semester, takes the place of the vacated Park Avenue Caf and Raw Juice Bar, and is the restaurant”s second location in Ann Arbor (the other being downtown at 211 N. Main St.).
If I”d have to rank Tio”s and Sabor Latino, both restaurants tie for first place. One restaurant does not surpass the other each has their specialty.
Tio”s is best known for its delivery and its hot sauce tasting events. The food is standard fare it”s a good place if you want quesadillas, tacos, etc. without the effort of walking there.
Sabor Latino, which only has take-out and sit-down, has daily specials which are always a good bet.
On top of that, there is something about the food at Sabor Latino that makes the dining experience one of the best undiscovered dining spots on State Street.
Perhaps it”s the family recipes, maybe it”s the quality of the ingredients or the generous portions.
Dinners run about $8-$9. Try the ranchero steak dinner, enchilada dinner or tamale dinner. But you can also order a number of a la carte items to make your own combination.
Quesadillas are $1.95 each and combined with a burrito, taco, tostada or burrito supreme, you can theoretically have a complete meal for around $6.
Besides soda, the restaurant doubles as a raw juice bar and also boasts a selection of Mexican drinks, like horchata, jumex and jarritos.
You won”t see any Taco Bell hard shell tacos here. In fact, you won”t see anything that resembles a drive-thru here. It”s nice to know there”s a new place on campus that serves quality Mexican food, without the drive-thru indigestion.