I'm really digging what's happening at the Alley Mall on Broadway right now. It's long been home to stalwart cheap, decent Japanese food at HaNa and satisfying brunches from El Greco (now called Table 219), and in the last few years it's added Korean food from Kimchi Bistro, as well as Pilot Books, a lovely independent bookstore specializing in small-press titles. Today marks another cause for celebration—the opening of Guanaco's Tacos Pupuseria.

I popped in today for a two-pupusa lunch (one chicharron con queso and one queso con loroco, each $2.35), plus one glass of agua de jamaica. The pupusas are solid: fresh, hand-formed masa cakes filled with a generous but not overwhelming amount of cheese and filling. (My one tiny complaint: the pupusas would be better if they left them on the griddle for just a minute longer so the outside gets nice and crispy.) There's also homemade red (thin, mild) and green (a little zingier) salsa, and some mighty fine cortida (a spicy, oregano-laced pickled cabbage slaw).

But here's the best news of all: Lunch cost me just $6.52.

I'm still not over Broadway's loss of Bailey/Coy Books, but the little renaissance in The Alley (not to mention the nearby construction of the light rail station) has got me feeling hopeful about what's to come.
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