The Valley has never hurt for cheap Mexican food but good cheap Mexican food requires a bit of looking.
Taqueria Mi Casita (2050 North Alma School Road, Chandler) in Chandler joins a long and proud Phoenix tradition: Excellent food hiding in a strip mall. Their combination plate, featuring any of their half-dozen meats, can easily feed two people, especially if you are willing to get cozy with your dining partner and share a drink. If you are feeling extra hungry you can throw in one of their excellent lengua tacos and still make it out of there comfortably under $10.
As you can probably guess from the name, this place specializes in tacos. But for a few dollars more you can ask them to make you a burrito the size of your arm.
What to get after the jump.
Like any good taqueria, Taqueria Mi Casita skimps on neither flavor nor portion size. Our $10 netted us: 1. Combo Plate: $5.89 2. Lengua Taco: $1.25 3. Large Horchata: $1.84 4. Money for the Man (Tax): $0.84 Total: $9.83
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The combo plate was filled with chicken and BBQ pork. Carne asada and other staples are offered as well but the BBQ pork was exceptionally good - well seasoned, appropriately smokey, and tender. I forgot to ask for chopped cilantro and onions on top but they did give me a generous bag of lime wedges and several fried jalapenos. The rice and beans were unexceptional but they performed properly as the interface between meat and tortilla. The plate "only" comes with four tortillas but the chips they provide do an excellent job moping up anything that escapes the tortillas.
This was my first lengua taco and I was pleasantly surprised. It was both tasty and lacking in any scary textures. If you can scarf up the tripe in pho, cow tongue is an easy day, apparently.