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Baja Eats: Tania’s “33”

The 3 “V”s of this Barrio Hollywood classic: Variety, Value, and Very Delicious.

October 14, 2016

Baja Eats

Tania’s “33,” located on Grande just off of St. Mary’s, is a comfortable counter-service Mexican restaurant. With its iconic interior neon sign and homemade flour tortillas, this west side establishment has been satisfying patrons since 1987. While offerings are extensive and classic—tacos, burritos, floutas, caldos, enchiladas, quesadillas—what sets Tania’s apart is its selection of vegan and vegetarian options.

Most Tucson-area Mexican restaurants in a similar price range offer a veggie burrito, maybe a cheese or flat enchilada, but Tania’s has a wide range of uncommon proteins and veggies that can be added to dishes in lieu of meat. A personal favorite is the coliflor, battered and deep fried cauliflower that adds heft and crunch to any vegetarian dish.

Other meat alternatives include lentejas and calabacitas. For those that want to go veggie but still want some of the texture and flavor of meat, Tania’s has soy chorizo and soya verde.

The plethora of veggie and vegan options does not detract from the quality of Tania’s meat offerings. Machaca, house-made chorizo, albondigas, and green chili beef are among the highlights.

The coliflor burrito with beans, guacamole, and pico, alongside a cup of albondigas.

The coliflor burrito with beans, guacamole, and pico, alongside a cup of albondigas.

Flexibility is another notable feature of Tania’s menu. Chalkboards line the space above the counter, and on them you will find not only lists of food but a vast array of available sizes and combinations. Burritos come in three sizes, and after choosing a main ingredient diners can select up to three additional ingredients to design their dream burrito. Classics like the California burrito can be recreated—potatoes and tater tots are options—but you can also be as selective as you want without feeling like a nuisance. Omissions and substitutions need not be requested, as each burrito is built from the ground up.

Most everything is available a la carte or as a combo platter, and soups can be ordered in sizes ranging from a small cup to a gallon.

On a recent visit, I opted for a coliflor burrito with beans, guacamole, and pico. It was crunchy and satisfying, with enough vegetables to trick me into thinking I was being healthy. I ordered this alongside a cup of the albondigas—a beautifully seasoned meatball and rice soup in a light tomato broth. It was definitely more food than I could consume in one sitting. The burrito held up fine for later, though the coliflor is definitely better fresh as the batter loses its crunch over time.

The soy chorizo breakfast platter at Tanias.

The soy chorizo breakfast platter at Tanias.

My partner went for a breakfast platter—soy chorizo and scrambled eggs with beans, rice, and fresh flour tortillas. The soy chorizo is heavily spiced, and, while not a dead ringer for the meat version, it made for a satisfying alternative.

An array of soft drinks fill a cold case, but we both opted for coffee—the kind that sits on a hot plate all day and can be downed glass after glass alongside comfort food. In addition to beverages, the cold case contains prepared to-go food. Fresh tortillas and chips can also be purchased, and Tania’s offers party packs and catering.

Tanias “33”
614 N Grande Ave
Tucson, AZ 85745
520-622-0685

Tanias33.com


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