Tortilla Flattery

We ordered the tacos a la carte as an appetizer; tamales, tostadas, enchiladas, and burritos can be ordered this way, as well. Standard fillings include barbacoa, ground beef, beef and bean, bean, chicken, and cheese. A request for any combination of stuffing will most likely be honored, though you may be charged accordingly. Dinner platters of the above overflow with rice and refried beans.

Fajitas are the specialty of the house. Marinated and then grilled in butter, onions, and bell pepper slices, the strips of skirt steak or chicken are a juicy, piquant treat. Instead of the out-of-season guacamole, a bean sopa brimming with cheese accompanied the platter, as did the light flour tortillas. Better still, however, was the mole de pollo, a tender chicken leg and thigh smothered in a sleek bittersweet chocolate sauce. This is a fine, smooth mole, with so many nuances you can almost identify a different spice each time you take a bite. Like a good wine, it has character and spunk as well as a traditional, robust flavor.

Emma Hernandez says the restaurant's business, while good, does not compare to its prehurricane status. Naturally, the press of people in the streets and stores was greatly diminished by the closure of the base A from now on it's a good bet the only air shows Homestead will be hosting will be thunderstorms and sunsets. Many residents, disheartened by the amount of repairs to be done, have moved away. Thanks to the hurricane's propensity for destruction of the past as well as the present, historic downtown Homestead has all the atmosphere of an Old West ghost town.

For those of us who live in Miami, Homestead may seem a long, depressing way to go for nachos. But it's the season for the Keys, and El Toro Taco is a wonderful alternative to the conch shacks along the highway further south. And our way isn't nearly as long as that of the Hernandez family, which in the proper American tradition has come so far, and suddenly, still has so far to go.

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