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Salsa Latina provides charming, hearty simplicity 

click to enlarge Salsa Latina's Mexican gumbo. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Salsa Latina's Mexican gumbo.

Like its much older family predecessor, El Taco Rey, Salsa Latina regularly sends lines out its door. It’s a faithful standby for many, opened in 2006 by Danny and Carolina Aguilar. Danny’s manning the counter (cash only) when I ask advice on beef vs. chicken on the Mexican gumbo ($6.89). He prefers the ground beef, and therein lies the first clue that this dish has nothing to do with Cajun or Creole food or seafood. Rather, it plays on the concept of a stew, presented as a big muddy puddle of wet rice covered in refried bean mash mixed with mild green chile, sharp white onion bits and partially melted cheese strands. Dip a warm flour tortilla in to pinch bites and revel in the charming, hearty simplicity. The eye tells the belly pretty much all it needs to know about this dish, so the real surprise comes with my first sip of the refreshing house limeade ($2.49), a boldly tart (my girlfriend puckers her face), non-cloying version laboriously squeezed in-house that morning.

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