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Forgive me, Tex-Mex fans



Forgive me, Tex-Mex fans, for I have sinned. It has been ... um, entirely too long ... since my last column devoted to breaking news in salsa, guacamole and quesadillas. In penance, I shall douse myself in margaritas and make regular pilgrimages to Taqueria La Vaquita. I shall also tell you the following:

Dos Taquitos Centro (106 S. Wilmington St., Raleigh, 835-3593, is celebrating its one-year anniversary. Owner Angela Salamanca said this first year in Dos Taquitos' second location has been rewarding. "We believe in essence we are like the other Dos Taquitos; we want to give people good food with great people at a great atmosphere," she writes in an e-mail. "It is also true that we are distinctly different," she added, because the menus are mostly different, and so is the size and architecture of each location. "So we are not the same, not a franchise, but a family's attempt to capitalize on the good and give people a great Mexican restaurant with an urban feel to it."

Dos Taquitos Centro plans to celebrate with a fiesta. The party begins at 5 p.m. Oct. 9 and features a mariachi band playing outside (enough said right there), another band playing inside, a raffle, special botanas (tapas) and a special margarita for the evening.

  • Photo courtesy of Mez

Somehow, I missed the opening of Mez (5410 Page Road, Durham, 941-1630, Mez serves "contemporary Mexican," which means chile rellenos with roasted vegetables, raisins, rice, almonds and Chihuahua cheese served with almond cream sauce; tres leches cake; and a taco bar. Mez is the newest venture from Chapel Hill Restaurant Group, which also owns Spanky's, Squid's and 411 West in Chapel Hill and 518 West in Raleigh. It's also the first restaurant in North Carolina certified by LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).

One of the great things about Tex-Mex in college towns is that when one restaurant closes, there's another that (magically?) appears, often right in the same spot. Is this real estate reality, or some law of queso equilibrium? Anyhow, there's a second Los Potrillos location in Chapel Hill. The "Los Pos" at 220 W. Rosemary St. (932-4301) is now joined by another at 1404 E. Franklin St., in the spot that was Los Boleros, and before that, El Rodeo.

On another note, as you saw last week in my colleague Jane Hobson Snyder's feature on fall picnicking, it's a great time to eat outside. Foster's Market (2694 Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd., Durham, 489-3944, is continuing its Thursday evening "On the Porch" cookouts "until the weather says no." A typical event features bluegrass music, beer specials and grilled goodies. Oct. 9 features rosemary- and fig-glazed ribs, pumpkin- and butter-grilled chicken quarters, roasted garlic and Guinness potato gratin, and mushroom risotto-stuffed poblano peppers.

And finally, did you see Lantern chef-owner Andrea Reusing in a huge spread in the October issue of Gourmet? Did you see that Durham-Chapel Hill (wherever that is, exactly) was named "America's Foodiest Small Town" in the October issue of Bon Appetit? Are we cool around here, or what?

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