Cantina Taqueria & Tequila Bar

Change can take a while, whether it's health care, immigration reform, or important stuff like the slow-ass cashier breaking that tube of quarters so you can get your Cruis'n USA on. Performing a wicked-fast about-face from Italian to Mexican, Cantina Taqueria & Tequila Bar.

On NYE, there was Lola Bellini Bar, throwing a party; less than a week later, that fancy house of pizza & pasta has been magically transmogrified into Cantina, serving nicely cheap Mex and copious tequila, with imported-from-Mexico deckings like a gold-robed bust of Jesus, "Day of the Dead"-themed dolls and large red devil masks, hanging porcelain bowls and chilis above the open kitchen, and a statue of a bald, blank-faced fat lady in a red dress -- manage to hear her sing, and the bartender will inform you your night is indeed over. Mexi-gorging commences with starters like lump crab fritters w/ sweet/sour chili sauce, then moves to taco dinners (shrimp, fish, pork, chorizo, brisket, etc), entrees like the tomato pepper-sauced Salmon Veracruz, house specials like the slow-cooked beef/smoky peppers/onion Carne De Res Al Chipotle, and chicken, chorizo, veggie Mexican pizzas, which everyone who's taken Spanish knows are called pizzaos. Boozing's handled by 30 tequilas, including platos (Partida, Corzo...), reposados (Casa Noble, Asombrosa la Rosa...), and anejos like Don Julio 1942, plus they've got great drink deals: Tecate's always $2, Bud Lights're a buck on Wed and the same goes for Dos Equis on Sun; their 14-deep marg menu includes the $5 "Peso Little" (get it?!?), and specialties like the Corzo, made with Thatchers Trace Chiles liqueur, Key Lime & house jalapeno-infused tequila called Tara's Kickin' Rita, named after a bartender who really needs to take it easy on those meter maids.

The only thing over a Jackson's "The Whole 5lb Chihuahua": a gargantuan $25 burrito w/ roasted pork or chipotle chicken. Finish it solo under an hour and it's not only free, but they'll also throw in a t-shirt with an Aztec-style eagle -- also the symbol of America, which you've recently seen the whole of in a shiny new Devastator IV.