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In a nearly empty strip mall across Fulton from Valley College is a tiny hole in the wall taqueria called Pepper Mexican Grill. Having recently moved into the area, I decided to give it a shot a few weeks ago and was very impressed. Subsequent visits have confirmed that this is a neighborhood gem.
The menu is very limited, but it has recently changed to provide expanded offerings. Tacos, burritos, tostadas, and nachos, plus some breakfast items are it. I have only tried the cochinita pibil and carne asada tacos and tostadas, and the diablo -- a bacon-wrapped, cream-cheese filled jalapeno taco (there's a photo below of the woman wrapping the jalapenos in bacon). The cochinita, especially, is a winner. It is intensely flavorful, though today's was a little on the dry side. The diablo has a nice kick, but the bacon and cream cheese give it nice balance. Tacos are $1.80 and tostadas -- with plenty of meat -- are $3.00
My sole gripe is that they are skimpy with their delicious salsas. They put salsa on the tacos and you can get extra in small cups, but there is not nearly as much as I would like. The smokey roja and tangy verde salsas are both thick, so I would love to tuck into a big bowl of them with a platter of chips.
The staff is great and I hope the restaurant does well. I worry that the location is overlooked. There is a Mongolian BBQ and a Subway in the same lot and the storefronts next to Pepper promise that some type of food court is coming. But it has largely been empty every time I've gone. Hopefully, 'hounds will give it a try.
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