Budget Beat

Carolina's: Lunch $10 and Under

Lunch has been put on hold for too long and crankiness is setting in. Eating has got to be a priority and pronto. Thank god for Carolina's. With multiple locations, no frills, and satisfying food at cheap prices, it's just the thing.

Carolina's original location downtown at 12th Street and Mohave looks like a location from a Coen Brothers movie, but that's never stopped us from wanting to grab some tacos.

At Carolina's you order and pay at the counter, they hand you cups to fill your drinks and you wait for them to call out your number. Inside, the dining area is a buzz, so think strategically -"You get the drinks, I'll look for a table."

But boom bam you're sitting down with food in front of you. Like a number one combination: enchilada, taco, rice and beans for $5.05. Or a number nine: two tacos, rice and beans for $5.40.

Tacos are well-seasoned shredded beef (or chicken), with a satisfying crunch to the taco shell, lettuce, cheese, and green onion layered on top. Tasty, and exactly what makes this place a local institution.

For a treat, try the Oaxaca Special -- chorizo, potato, beans and cheese wrapped in a homeade tortilla for $3.40.

Carolina's tag line is: the best tortillas in town! You won't find any argument here. The tortillas are fresh and grilled, and the fact you can buy them by the dozen for $3.75 makes us love them all the more.

The slightly rundown downtown location is a bit film noir. One half expects to see Anton Chigurh re-filling a salsa cup. By contrast, the Cactus Road location is more modern and polished.

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Sativa Peterson
Contact: Sativa Peterson