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Monday, June 13, 2005

It can be hard to find a burrito on a Sunday. Sometimes the upscale gringofied places stay open (Cactus Taqueria, for example), or those in places with significant tourist traffic (Tacos de Mexico in Morro Bay). But a lot of the neighborhood places tend to take it as their day of rest.

So it was, when we headed out for our local taqueria yesterday, that we were doomed to disappointment. I should have remembered -- it was Sunday.

Instead, we wound up at Los Cantaros, on Grand near Perkins. It's a hybrid place -- part taqueria, part restaurant, part sports bar. You order at the counter, then take a number back to your table -- the waitstaff will bring your meal to you. Yesterday, one television was set to an Earthquakes game, the other to the NBA finals. But, given it was a perfect, sunny afternoon, I preferred to sit by an open window and watch the view of Lakeside Park across the street.

My Dining Companion said his prawn burrito (with black beans) was just passable; I ordered Sopa Azteca, which was pretty terrific: crispy tortilla strips floating in a rich, spicy broth with shredded chicken, matchstick-cut zucchini and carrot, and grilled corn. A thick wedge of creamy avocado and two smaller wedges of lime garnish the dish. It was about $5 for what looked like a quart of soup; it hurt me a little bit, but I finished it all.

Besides the usual taqueria menu, Los Cantaros offers vegetarian or meat tamales, chiles rellenos, nachos and a variety of breakfast plates. There is a full-service bar, or you can get a beer when you order.