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Parroting the competition

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The college kids are about to do their annual migration to their own burgs. It'll be interesting to see how Los Loros -- which means "the parrots" -- changes. Located at the corner of Clairmont and North Decatur roads, the restaurant is a popular drinking and eating space for all those Emorrhoids looking for a good time. Margaritas are downed by the pitcher, and beans and rice are available to soak up the alcohol. The dinner crowd is mostly college-age while the lunch crowd is more business casual. But everyone is looking for quick-and-easy Mexican on a budget.

What we ate: At first glance, the menu is the same old thing: lunch combos with a rearrangement of enchiladas, tacos, rellenos, etc. While the restaurant does a good job serving up the standards, there are a few derivations that add a little punch.

The chicken soup ($4) is a large bowl that fills you up quick. The chunks of tomatoes, onions and chicken form the base -- but then, in every spoonful, I found something new: green beans, corn, peas, carrots, avocado, rice and cilantro. My dining companion said it seemed like a can of "Veg-all" was opened up and dumped in. But it felt hearty and healthy. The lunch quesadilla fajita ($5) is heaped with grilled, marinated chicken or beef and includes lettuce, pico de gallo and sour cream. You might think you need a side of something, but don't let your eyes get bigger than your stomach.

Looking for a midday drink? The lunch margarita special is $2 bucks a glass. Ours was so strong we didn't need a second.

Service: The Speedy Gonzalez is not just a lunch combo choice. The wait staff was at the table as soon as we sat down for both lunch and dinner. That doesn't always mean that you get out of the place lickety split, but it's always great to have friendly, fast service.

Cheapest item: Some of the side orders are plenty of grub in their own right. The beef or chicken taco is $1.75 and one tamale is just two bucks. The thick shell is stuffed with chicken or beef, topped with red beans and ground pork, and is plenty to fill up on.

Most expensive item: Fajitas Across the Border ($8.95) are a deal -- beef, chicken and shrimp grilled with tomatoes, onions and peppers, along with the regular sides, but it doesn't have the same impact as the fajitas flameadas ($8.95): They set the dish on fire at the table and let you blow it out.

jerry.portwood@creativeloafing.com

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