Was able to sneak out of conference at lunch and found a couple chowish places in South Lake Tahoe on a recent trip.
"El Caballo Negro" (love that name) is a taqueria on the main drag Lake Tahoe Blvd at the intersection with Tahoe Keys, few miles south of the casinos but before you get to the "Y" going up the other side of the lake. Along with the usual tacos & burritos, their specialties are the sopes and the tortas. No beer, but aguas de frutas and mexican sodas. No caballo on the menu either. Mexican league soccer blaring on the TV, felt just like my hometown Chicago except Lake Tahoe is outside the window. Tried both specialties and they were outstanding, especially the Torta Especial #1 with roast pork. Nice crispy torta bread was perfect, was shocked how good it was - thought they'd be serving them on Wonder bread in Tahoe. Owner says he's been open 9 months, moved from San Francisco to give his kids better place to grow up (plus there's a panaderia right down the street). Says his business is decent, but not fantastic. At $1.50 a sope and $4 a torta they should be busting his doors down for this quality.
"Pupuseria & Restaurant - Santa Barbara" is also on the main drag, south and within walking distance of the casinos, by Johnson Blvd. Another mom & pop place, but Senora Gladys runs the show here - hence the spanish soap operas blaring on Telemundo. She's chef, cook and bottlewasher - she takes your order, then runs to the kitchen and you hear her slapping up the fresh pupusas. Relatively extensive menu compared to El Caballo, lots of entrees around $7-$10 and they serve beer too so it would be a good place for a cheap dinner. Senora highly recommended the camarones with the mojo de ajo, which was great. Decent shrimp, but the rice and the mojo made the dish. Pupusas were also very good, I liked the queso better than the beans, came with a big helping of the spicy cabbage on the side. She told me I'd have to get the carne asada next time, since she's the one making it I'll take her word that it's pretty damn tasty.