So yesterday a friend and I find ourselves close enough to Pilsen that we think we'll just toodle down 18th street and pick out some place that we've never been. So we toodle, and toodle, and look at places, and before we know it... we're heading to Moon Palace for Chinese. We just couldn't tell a promising Mexican place from a scary one.
This is a skill I think I generally have when it comes to diners, pizza parlors, bars that serve food, Chinese places, etc.-- the ability to spot a place that at least has some promise of being good, or more importantly, the ability to rule out the pizza place with the casein cheese and Hunt's pizza sauce, the Chinese place that serves extra MSG Cantonese circa 1950, the bar that really doesn't give a s**t about food, etc.
But boy, Mexican stumps me, and since probably half or more of the places I try I would not go back to (a much worse ratio than for any other cuisine that comes to mind), I really need a way to improve my odds to find those really good places like RST was talking about the other day. Anybody have any tips for improving your chances in the Burrito and Taqueria lottery?