We're intrepid eaters. We've supped in lonesome gas stations, ramshackle taquerias, dingy dim sum parlors. However, we'd never sucked down enchiladas in a potholed parking lot adjacent to a rundown flea market that looks like a condemned David Lynch movie set ... until this weekend. And, boy, are we glad we did.
The place is Taqueria Taconazo on the outskirts of Providence, about 45 minutes south of Boston, just a couple quick turns off Route 95. It is wedged between a cavernous flea market festooned with disintegrating office furniture and a weed-ringed Islamic gift center. (Picture yourself dancing around the set of Macklemore's Thrift Shop, and you'll get the idea.) The street beyond is windswept and gray. There are not many people around, and those who are might not look particularly happy to see you.
Don't be alarmed: Within this dusty little shack are some of the finest tacos and enchiladas we've ever tried. Shocking supple lengua (tongue) in a soft double tortilla with a crumble of onions, tangy tacos al pastor exploding with scorched-porked tang and acidic pineapple, a mixtec version with chicharones, a quartet of tightly rolled enchiladas dipped in the freshest crema and the fieriest red sauce we've ever tried, sopes made to order, and a tub of the brightest salsa fresca we've ever had, all rolled out by a kindly Dominican grandma. Nothing is over $6. (As you might guess, it's cash only.)
There are no seats, just a couple of rickety stools. Counters are populated with vats of red and green sauce, stray napkins, and when we visited, a carton of milk. A cooler of Jarritos takes up most of the waiting area. Your food will be slid to you across a swinging saloon-style door, wrapped in tinfoil. Just walk it gingerly back to your car and dig in.
El Taconazo, 500 Valley St., Providence, RI, 401-437-8808