Huahua's Taqueria: Quirky Late-Night Eats in South Beach
The pretty cashier at Huahua's Taqueria wears a sombrero. It's bulky, with a wide brim and fuschia splotches that match the chalkboard menu hanging above her head. Some nights, she opts for plastic Wayfarers instead. Stamped with the restaurant's name, the specs have clear lenses, thick rims, and cobalt temples.
billwisserphoto.com Interior shot of Huahua's Taqueria.
But are those just for show?
"I've got my contacts on underneath," she says with a toothy grin one late Friday evening. "These are for fun."
For months, South Beach has anticipated Todd Erickson's latest restaurant -- a fast-casual taco joint that doesn't take itself too seriously. The boyish chef also runs the gastropub Haven, a futuristic lounge serving liquid nitrogen cocktails alongside sashimi, crudos, and sliders. Since December, Erickson has teased locals by previewing Huahua's (pronounced like the huahua in Chihuahua) signature tacos at his flagship spot.
In June, the chef stocked a narrow building on Lincoln Road with plenty of Mexican beers and Jarritos. On the sidewalk, he placed water bowls for dogs and unfurled blue umbrellas above silver tables and chairs. Located just a few doors down from his pub, Huahua's features loaded nachos, a slushy machine that chills frozen margaritas, and a Chihuahua named Jalapeña as its mascot.
The taqueria doesn't pretend to follow any pat cultural recipes. The menu lists enchiladas and tacos al pastor next to queso blanco mac 'n' cheese, a dish spiked with roasted green chilies and fried tortillas. Huahua's isn't exactly a Mexican restaurant -- nor is it Tex-Mex or even fusion. It's the kind of place you usually visit after midnight, on evenings when you've perhaps had too much to drink and when nothing but a deep-fried avocado taco will do.