Part of what I love about ethnic eateries (you know, I’m beginning to hate the term “ethnic” in conjunction with restaurants, but I can’t come up with an umbrella term that works in its place) is the sense of being dropped into another world. To me, it’s part of the pleasure of eating at small, mom-and-pop Latino or Asian or Indian restaurants — that feeling like you have escaped your usual routine, your regular environment, for something different. It’s like overseas travel, without the add-on baggage fees.

My recent visit to Taqueria La Placita is the perfect example. The place feels untouched by American culture, which is part of the reason I adore it. Check out more photos after the jump, including one for some very tasty Mexican “chips.”

La Placita’s massive wall mural in which the Virgin Mary bridges the cultural divide between two worlds.

The view from the middle of the dining room, looking at the front door.

La Placita has a sizable kitchen brigade to prepare all those succulent tacos.

A few of the offerings available at La Placita, including the cecina (or salty beef) tacos on the right.

These were described to me as Mexican chips, although they are puffier and airier than traditional tortilla chips. They’re also salty and, when doused in hot sauce, spicy. I loved ’em. Cheap, too. About $2 a bag.