Tortilleria Sinaloa's vegan taco leaves something to be desired

Tortilleria Sinaloa's vegan option reminds us of a school cafeteria

1716 Eastern Ave., (410) 276-3741,

Although I haven't been vegan in a while now, I'm always on the lookout for any place that offers that option, so holy mole was I excited when I noticed Tortilleria Sinaloa's vegan options (which they have apparently had for years, though I had never tried before). I texted a meat-eating friend of mine and had him join me for lunch there.

This place is not new to City Paper. We've given it more Best of Baltimore awards than we have fingers on one hand. So I wasn't surprised by the delicious aromas coming from this small Fells Point staple. However, I was surprised by what constituted a vegan taco ($3.45). Do you remember those cans of Veg-All that they served in elementary school? That's what it looked and tasted like. Just that on a tortilla. It was redeemed slightly by the salsa rojas, but it was hard not to think of a school cafeteria while eating it. Still hungry, we ordered a tilapia taco ($5.05) and a chicken taco ($2.99). These were delicious, of course. The chicken and tilapia were moderately seasoned and grilled and the pico was fresh and spicy. Tortilleria Sinaloa really is dependable when it comes to meaty tacos. However, if you are looking for a vegetarian taco that doesn't recall lunch ladies with plastic shower caps on their heads, please move along.

I returned a week later and was greeted by a sign that said "beans and rice $3.00." I decided to order that instead. "For here or to go?" the staff asked. "Here," I said. Despite that, I got a bag with two pudding-cup-size plastic foam containers one with rice and one with beans (they are each $1.50). They were kind of cute, and came with adorable, teeny-tiny spoons. The rice was good. It had the same Veg-All-like vegetables, but here, it worked. I can't explain it. They were really flavorful, well-cooked pinto beans, though they most likely had beef broth or something in them. The tiny tub of salsa roja brought the whole ensemble together. Delicious and a great deal at only $3.

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