Bottomfeeder: No Quit in Tukwila

Seattle is not a difficult place to find a cheap taco. Tukwila is—or at least East Marginal Way was on the evening of August 4.Not long ago, the Annex (10325 E. Marginal Way S.), a friendly, ramshackle lounge with surfboards on its exterior located near Boeing Field, had a Taco Tuesday that literally could not be topped, price-wise anyway. The tacos were free. Not the "unemployed art-school slackers stealing food from the mouths of poor families at a food bank" sort of free advocated in a recent recession-survival guide put out by a certain weekly newspaper on Capitol Hill, but "here's to you, regulars—but don't think you're getting out of here with a clear conscience unless you down at least three 7 & 7s" free. Still, free's free—or at least liberating.But when we got to the Annex, we were met with some awful news: Free Taco Tuesday had ceased to exist. So we headed 20 blocks south to Cheves & Beer (12449 E. Marginal Way S.), possibly King County's most randomly located food and beverage establishment (although Benz Sports Bar in Boulevard Park gives it a run for its money). It sits on a strip of nothingness underneath the elevated portion of the new light-rail line and across the street from Metro's south base ("where the buses live," as a close friend of mine likes to say). With a taco truck parked out front, loud ranchera music on the stereo, and Mexican music videos on the TV above the large, luxurious bar, you'd think Cheves & Beer would have a decent assortment of Mexican fare. It does—on weekends, when it has live music as well. But on Tuesdays, the taco truck's closed; and strangely, the only food available inside is fries, wings, mozzarella sticks, and (stranger than strangely) chicken cordon bleu.Down but not out, we choked up on our bats and headed for Juan Colorado in South Park, a neighborhood mainstay unrivaled in its ability to meld the big-burrito mentality of Jalisco with the torta-bus authenticity of Muy Macho (both these establishments are located down the street, incidentally). Juan's has a dark, spacious bar with ripped vinyl seats that's a little divey, and a well-lit dining room that's decidedly more family-friendly. The restaurant's refried beans only look average; their texture and kick tells you they've benefited from legitimate care. And the handmade tortillas that encompass the beef-tongue tacos taste as good as that dish sounds scary.

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