OK, so maybe I'm just mailing it in by reviewing El Amigo — it's literally the closest taco shop to my house — but I've been busy as hell lately, almost too busy to even think about food. Which makes it the perfect time for my buddies at El Amigo — they are consistently quick as hell, and the food is tasty as all get out. El Amigo is my go-to place for takeout, and outside of one particularly hungover afternoon I have never been disappointed. (Let's just say that ordering their chicharrones, which are done in a style closer to chitlins than corton, while in that delicate condition was my own damn fault. I should know better. I should have gone with the tripe.) El Amigo hooks it up every single time, without fail. Which ain't too shabby for an unassuming spot in a former gas station.
While I've eaten pretty much everything on the menu — I've been going there at least once a week for the past year — I'd say that El Amigo's greatest strength is it's al pastor. Depending on my mood/need for sustenance, I usually either go with the tacos or the tortas. The burritos are good, but if you're going the big route, nothing beats a torta with its frijoles and avocado slices on soft, warm bread. As a card-carrying sandwich enthusiast — if you can't put it between two slices of bread you probably shouldn't eat it — I feel that the torta is one of humanity's great works and evidence of the divine in the everyday. You don't have to go with the al pastor — last night, i got the chorizo torta — but it does make for a delicious sandwich. OK, you have to get the al pastor.
I should also probably mention that I almost never eat in the dining room. Not that there's anything wrong the dining room, but grabbing a 12-pack of Victoria over at Fiesta E-Mart — best grocery store name EVER! — and heading back to the house with a bag o' tacos is the way to kick off your post-work evening. I will say that the new uniforms on the waitstaff are looking good, and it's nice to see them moving towards a more professional look. I love the bootstrappin' vibe of Nolensville Road eateries, but it makes me really glad to know they're in a financial position to make all their employees wear matching shirts. Yes, it seems weird that I could be proud of embroidered, polyester polo shirts or a new coat of paint or whatever, but I love to see the neighborhood stepping things up.
Oh, and while I'm on the topic of their staff, I need to say that these folks rule. The language barrier is more of a language speedbump — it'll slow things down for a moment, but never get between you and what you want — and they're always smiling and happy to see you. And if you end up there late at night — they're open way after last call on Friday and Saturday nights — they will definitely put the smack down on any got-drunk-but-couldn't-get-laid goons from the nightclub across the street who try to start shit with you. Though the whole drunk-dude-tries-to-pick-a-fight-with-the-blanco only happened once in a year of regular late-night visits, so it's not a thing the you have to worry about. On the flip side, it was totally worth it to see that dude's machismo get verbally mom-slapped in front of all of his friends. Like I said, the waitstaff at El Amigo are awesome.