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    San Antonio has more taco joints than yeller dawgs have ticks, but Taco Garage, an auto shop converted to a colorfully painted tacos-y-mas joint, does basic better than most. Wash down your Baribay Breakfast Plate - lush barbacoa with eggs, refried beans, and potatoes - with a cirsp apple Topo Chico.
    When Jerry Torres and his wife Edina opened a small mom-and-pop Mexican joint called the Taco Hut on South Presa Street in 1969, they didn't know there was another restaurant by the same name on nearby Goliad Street. When Jerry discovered the duplication, they searched for a new title. "We wanted something that meant people could feel relaxed, somewhere you would feel at home," recalls the 70-year-old patriarch of the immense Torres clan. Eventually, they decided on Taco Haven. ;Ask 77-year-old Pauline Patnode, who has been eating as many as three meals a day at Taco Haven for 30 years, and she'll call it both a heaven for the food and a haven for the company. Patnode, who runs ABC Tailor Shop just a few doors north of the restaurant, like many who live and work downtown and on the near South Side, probably lost a few pounds the weeks Taco Haven closed this spring for remodeling. "It was horrible," she exclaims. "Sometimes they would bring me some tacos from one of the other stores, but it was just horrible that I couldn't go there." From the packs of artists recovering from First Friday weekend debauchery with Sunday migas to Brackenridge kids skipping class to CPS guys making the rounds, Southtown was a neighborhood in withdrawal. It was also worried. There is a strange and fierce loyalty among San Antonians for a chosen spot for carne asada, and Taco Haven is a place where loyalty runs deep. How dare they change? Will they get fancy? Will the prices go up? Rest assured that these days Patnode is back in her favorite booth before 8 a.m. and, by most accounts, all is well in TACO COUNTRY (as the giant mural still proclaims on the side of the building). - Jenny Browne
    Sam Suwanasung was one of the city's first apostles of Thai cuisine, and he has hung out for so long in a undistinguished strip center off San Pedro that we tend to forget about him. Now, in the equivalent of a culinary midlife crisis, Sam has reinvented himself by pulling up stakes and moving downtown to new digs in the Riverwalk Plaza Hotel across from the Bexar County Courthouse. The move was something of a stealth operation, with the old occupant out and the new one in, all very hush-hush, in the matter of a few days. Such was the stealth, in fact, that few know he is there yet. That is bound to change. The pretty good buffet for $7.99 will draw some for lunch to be sure; the courthouse crowd lost no time in figuring that out. And the special plates are generous to a fault - another plus. But lunch specials are rarely any Asian restaurant's best food forward, and Thai Kitchen doesn't radically alter that equation. - Ron Bechtol
    This is one of those "don't-y'all-go-at-once" reviews. It's just too small. Slipped into a 12-foot wide sliver of a strip-center storefront, The Triangle Cafe is tiny. It's also run entirely by one married couple, making it the quintessential mom-and-pop operation (she's up front, he's in the open kitchen) - except "Mom" and "Pop" aren't your typical café-culture couple at all. Both are Mexico City natives, and "Pop," at least, is from a very prominent family. He trained at the Cordon Bleu in Paris and at hospitality school in Switzerland. This couple presumably could live anywhere, but they have selected San Antonio because they, like many Mexican national expats, feel comfortable here. They feel especially comfortable in the "village" atmosphere of Leon Valley, the restaurant's location. I never would have found this place if not for a reader tip, so a certain local, and a loyal customer base is clearly working for them after only about six months. Turns out there's a reason for that loyalty.;- Ron Bechtol
    The two Twin Sisters restaurants are owned by twin sisters. The one in Alamo Heights has a slightly more rocker edge. Known for its vegetarian menu; but does have a few meat dishes.



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