Except, of course, by the lengua — tongue simmered for hours until supremely tender and intensely beefy. As tough as that part of the animal is to eat for some people, I overheard one reluctant customer praising El Guanaco's version stuffed into a taco. "I thought it would be chewy, but this is so tender and delicious," he said, his mouth full of two kinds of tongue.

Though the restaurant has never been very busy on any of my visits, Ardon is just getting things rolling, having only recently bought into half of the business. She's extremely personable, with a natural affinity for making customers feel welcome — it's why some have even followed her from California Pizza kitchen, where she still works two shifts a week as a bartender and waitress. When I asked if I could order breakfast one afternoon, she smiled and said, "Of course! In my country, people eat breakfast at all times of the day." I was rewarded with a plate of huevos rancheros ($6), complemented with plantains, refried beans, squeaky queso fresco, and powerfully tangy crema. Once I'd used all of my piping-hot tortillas to scoop up bits of tomato and pepper sauce-flecked eggs, Ardon immediately offered to make me some more.

As intensely full as I was, I politely declined. I knew I'd be back again, using those awesome tortillas to sop up sopa de frijoles ($7.50) or sandwich bites of bistec de res with black beans and rice ($9.50). And I've yet to try the freshly fried nachos, big burritos, or sopes topped with chipotle-enhanced chicken breast and crumbled cheese.

Joe Rocco

Location Info

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El Guanaco Taqueria y Antojitos

331 NE 44th St.
Oakland Park, FL 33334

Category: Restaurant > Mexican

Region: Oakland Park

Details

El Guanaco Taqueria y Antojitos, 331 NE Prospect Road, Fort Lauderdale. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner Monday through Thursday 6 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Call 954-351-0792.

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Besides, I had to save a little room for dessert. After my rich, afternoon breakfast, a charamusca to go sounded pretty darned good.

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