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Super Tacos’ super gordita

Super Tacos & Bakery sounds either like a joke — with its affected comic-book adjective — or an ESL owner’s attempt to appeal to gringos. Whatever the case, the name doesn’t give you any perspective on this tiny take-out on Columbia Road NW, which clings to the Hispanic traditions that once defined the Adams Morgan neighborhood.

The tacos are prepared Mexican-style, the fillings folded inside a double-layer of corn tortillas and sprinkled with cilantro and diced onions, those two towering aromatics of Latin American cuisine. Despite the authentic prep, all ST&B tacos are not alike; the carne asada leans toward the tough and chewy, while the fine-grind chorizo smacks of too much cumin. The best tacos, I’ve found, are the meaty lengua and the piquant, seasoned al pastor.

Unless you posses the appetite of Michael Phelps during training, you can probably satisfy your cravings with a pair (or three) of tacos. Almost everything else at Super Tacos is reserved for the Super Size Me crowd, including mammoth, bread-heavy tortas that a cheap officer manager might try to pass off as party subs.

Don’t misunderstand. I mostly bemoan ST&B’s generous portions because, long after my stomach has cried no mas, my Styrofoam container still swells with my remaining lunch. I usually call in office reinforcements to polish off these leftovers, which makes for happy co-workers. But not everyone may be so lucky to labor next to underpaid, ravenous reporters.

The best deal at Super Tacos is one of its combo plates, which are all priced around $8. I’d pay special attention to any combo that offers a gordita, which this take-out does better than anyone (and I include those joints in Houston I used to frequent). The round of homemade masa is almost as thick as focaccia bread, with a crispy exterior and a fluffy corn-flavored inferior stuffed with fried pork; this baby comes topped with a small salad of slightly pickled cactus strips,  crumbles of feta, dices of tomato and onion, and a light red sauce. The gordita is, hands down, the star of the Ay Jalisco combo; it’s so dense and flavorful and sour and spicy and so damn satisfying that you may not even touch the accompanying flauta and enchilada.