Cross the Kent border for some authentic Mexican

Darren D’Altorio

Stand offers homemade tacos, burritos

The Mexican food at Taqueria La Loma on State Route 91 in east Akron is not pretty. But that’s the best part. The food is what it is because of what it’s not.

It’s not fancifully wrapped in logo-bearing wax paper or cardboard. There is no assembly line of veggies behind a streak-free glass barrier.

Drive-through window? Nope.

Billboards along the freeway? Ha.

Cute slogans? Not a chance.

There are no gimmicks. No 99-cent menus. No drive-through diets. No wrap yourself in tinfoil and get a free burrito day.

What La Loma does have is authentic, made-to-order Mexican food, cooked by the heat of a propane grill and served through the window of a graffiti-tagged trailer.

There is no double-decker anything. No fake, yellow cheese sauce. No soft or crunchy.

There are just the classic Mexican items: tacos, burritos, tortas (a Mexican sandwich), quesadillas, tamales, chimichangas, flautas and alambre (a Mexican stir-fry).

After picking one or more items, choose the meat. The choices are steak, beef, spicy marinated beef, chorizo sausage, chicken, pork and cow tongue.

That’s all there is to it. Pick item. Choose meat. Then wait five minutes in the car or pace the parking lot where La Loma is located for the food to be ready.

When the plain to-go container is placed in your hand, excitement hits, along with subtle spicy aromas.

Open it, and let the warmth and gooey goodness greet the senses. Touch the freshly made corn or flour tortillas. Watch the queso fresco melt into a white cream, smothering the browned meat, fresh lettuce, tomatoes, onions and cilantro. Reach into the bag of goodies that comes with every meal, which contains limes, radishes and cucumbers. Grab a few lime wedges and spray the cool juice all over the steamy mess. Top your food with one, or both, of the included sauces — either the salsa verde or the spicy red picante.

Using hands, and only hands, grab the food and eat. And try hard to remember La Loma is not in Mexico, even though it tastes like it is.

Contact features reporter Darren D’Altorio at [email protected].