A cold and windy day was laid out before us. As the snow fell, the critic crew loaded up and headed out, looking for something to warm our bones. As we circled town, we had the usual conversation. “Where do you want to go?” would fly from the backseat. A brave individual would reply with “Pizza” to which everybody would groan. After several attempts and awkward silences, somebody threw out “Mexican?” We all exchanged glances and without a rebuttal, we charted a course for our next meal. 

Our travels ended at Tacos Mexico, nested squarely in the small strip mall at Beverly and 12th streets. After some malignant odor that only could be produced in a vehicle full of blue collar dudes, we piled out of our conveyance as if our life depended on it.

Entering into the building, we were met by a visually warm environment. A plethora of colors and artwork looked very inviting. However, the warmth was purely visual. It was physically cold inside, noticeably enough that every other patron was eating as if preparing for arctic exploration. It wasn’t just an annoyance that was easily overcome by light clothing. It was out and out uncomfortable. I am unsure if this environment is commonplace at this eatery, but I certainly hope not.

With teeth chattering and noses running, we looked over the menu. As soon as I opened it, I was confronted with a huge smear of bean residue and other bits of food. While unappealing, I was happy to note the cleanliness of the other menus at my table. I can chalk this up to a mishap, but I really like to see less free samples in my menu.

There were a plethora of Mexican themed dishes as expected, but also a burger section for the less adventurous folks. Fortunately there were enough eaters to test many options. Selections were made and tickets written. After which the wait staff brought us the customary basket of chips, beans and salsa. Almost a cliché at this point in time, I was blah about this action. To my surprise, it was good. No, it was better than good. Warm chips with cool salsa, makes a filling snack. All of the reviewers agreed however, that the salsa was too watery and runny. Keeping it on ones chip was harder than nailing Jell-O to the ceiling. It was found that a mixture of beans and salsa in the correct proportions would adhere to the chip long enough to get the concoction to your mouth.

With chewing and minimal conversation, it gave the perfect opportunity to look around. Under tables, in the corners, on top of machinery, all areas looked spotless. Despite the initial question of cleanliness when I was faced with bean paste in my menu, I was pleased with what I witnessed. A subsequent visit to the restroom also showed the same regard for sanitation. We were slightly taken aback as we watched our waitress preparing other tables appetizers in the kitchen. She was reaching her bare hand into the communal vat of chips and dolling them out, after being out on the floor taking menus and meeting customers. I would have been more comfortable to see this task being performed by the food preparation staff.

Several minutes and another basket of chips later, our main course arrived. I had ordered several varieties of tacos and assorted accoutrement. A visual cornucopia of calories resided on my plate. Small corn tortillas with meat and veggies, flanked by salsa and guacamole, all amalgamated into a balanced dish. I tried the variations and found I liked them all. Not a single combination was without it’s charms.

I also had the opportunity to try a portion of what my compatriot ordered. It was a chili cheeseburger with a mountain of fries that hoisted the burger up as if it were a Zeus himself. My eyes nearly imploded from amazement after tasting what I believe to be some of the finest green chili available in Casper. It was not watery like most, and had just the right amount of heat to it. It clung to the burger and soaked into the bun. An added bonus was that the chili seeped into the fries and made them delectable. Suffice it to say, my friend was left with a meager meal after I was done “reviewing” his dish. Tacos Mexico was proving to be a jack of two trades.

Stuffing as much food into my mouth as possible, I was approaching a dangerous summit. I could continue eating and regret it very soon, or I could stop and leave food on my plate. As an eater, I feel that leaving fine food is strictly taboo. I simply could not strain my upper GI tract any more than I already had. I had to admit defeat and be heaved out the door.

On the way out, I paid the bill for the group. While not the cheapest, it was far from the most expensive. I would certainly give this a pass due to the the quality of food/ price ratio. As I left the building physically chilled, I realized that I had actually been able to put the temperature aside while eating my meal. When food can make you forget discomfort, it is either an unhealthy habit, or very good food. I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Because of a very tasty menu and overall cleanness, I rate Tacos Mexico a 6.5/10 tacos. I also give it the unique distinction of perhaps the best green chili burger in town. I’m not ready to make that official yet, but its close. There are a few more left to try.

I deducted based upon the absolutely freezing environment. I believe this was just a temporary issue due to the sudden cold snap. I also took a percentage away for the bean smear and other yuckies in my menu. While the others at the table were clean, it shows a lack of attention to detail that this one made the cut. Finally, the grabbing of the chips by the waitress’s bare hands after interacting with the public.
I will be back though. Just with a hat and mittens.

The Casper Food Critic is an independent author and is not employed by K2 Radio or Townsquare Media, LLC. The views expressed by the Casper Food Critic do not reflect those of K2 Radio or Townsquare Media, LLC.

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