There are soft tacos, and then there are these tacos: Soaked in shiny red salsa and thrown in a steamer before they come to your table, they're slippery and wild little things. And they are unbelievably delicious.
They're called tacos al vapor, which means steamed in Spanish, and they're kind of a riff on the steamy canasta tacos that street vendors sell from little baskets. You don't see al vapor much around here, unless of course you get over to Taqueria Porfis.
The destination spot started out as a push cart in Nogales, Sonora, and has been in this nondescript strip mall on South 12th Avenue for 15 years. On my recent visit, it was 3 p.m. and 105 degrees outside, and every table was full.
The place sells all manner of tacos, mini chimis and tortas, but the showpiece is the al vapor: Shredded beef and potatoes are wrapped in a corn tortilla that's made special for the steamer, so it comes out hearty and suave with just a touch of firmness. After that, it's stuffed with lettuce, tomato cubes and a brush of bright white creamy mayo.
Three bites. That's all it took and the thing was gone. But wow, what a memory ...
Insider's tip: The tacos are $1 on Tuesdays.
Location: 3553 S. 12th Ave., Suite 117. But they also have a taco truck at First Avenue and Fort Lowell.
Hours: 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays
Payment: accepts debit, credit and EBT