Los Beto's 

5220 W. Fairview Ave., 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

What's a Mexican restaurant without a basket of chips at your table? What about one that doesn't offer Corona (or some other Mexican beer)? Or what about one where you can't order an oversized margarita?

One answer would be Los Betos, a Mexican restaurant on Fairview in West Boise. They don't provide baskets of chips, Mexican beers or margaritas. Instead, they offer 24-hour service with a drive-through option to pick up your food.

I rounded up the family one night to check out Los Betos, driving past one of our usual Mexican haunts on the way there. I knew even as we passed it that the other restaurant would be the standard we would use to measure our experience at Los Betos.

Outside, Los Betos is not very impressive but unimpressive exteriors sometimes hide very good restaurants. At the entrance, I noticed a number of $4.99 specials—burrito, beans, rice and a small soft drink—painted on the window.

We studied the menu while others ahead of us ordered. In the end, we stuck largely to the $4.99 specials we'd seen first. The burrito specials we chose included chicken, grilled chicken, chile relleno and a Texano burrito ($3.65 a la carte).

After ordering, we loaded up at the condiment bar with lime wedges, three types of salsa and pickled chiles. We found an open table and waited for our order to come up. The tables featured a fake-wood laminate and formed-bench seating and while not overly stylish, at least they were clean. My wife even commented on the faint scent of bleach she caught as we sat down.

Soon they called our number and started to dig into our dinners.

The chicken burrito was hefty; a homemade tortilla wrapped around a sizable portion of chicken and seasonings. It earned high praise from my youngest daughter, who proclaimed it the "best I've ever had." The grilled chicken burrito didn't earn the same rave review. Along with the chicken, it contained lots of grilled peppers and onions. It was very good, but it couldn't live down the claim of too many vegetables.

The chile relleno is a staple of Mexican restaurants. When you can't decide between a chile relleno and a burrito, a chile relleno burrito is an appropriate compromise. Unlike others I'd tried elsewhere, this one included guacamole with the chile and Monterey Jack cheese. The result was an enjoyable combination of flavors.

The star of the supper was the Texano Burrito. For someone who has enjoyed Mexican food for as long as I have, I was amazed that it took Los Betos to provide me with an introduction to a Texano Burrito. The burrito was filled with a wonderfully unexpected combination of chicken, potatoes, sour cream, and cheddar cheese. The result was delicious: Think of your grandmother's favorite chicken casserole wrapped in a flour tortilla.

And what a tortilla it is. You know how people rave about the crusts on some pizzas? With everything that goes into the toppings, I used to think that was the wrong way to look at pizzas. Having since had some of those rave-worthy pizza crusts, I think differently now.

A similar thing could be said about burritos. The outstanding ones have tortillas you can rave about. That's the case at Los Betos. Their burritos are stuffed with a variety of combinations, but the crowning glory are the warm, thick, chewy tortillas that those goodies are wrapped in. That's one thing the entire family could all agree on.

Besides the Fairview location, there are two more Los Betos restaurants, one on State Street and one in Nampa. I can't vouch for the other locations, but the Fairview restaurant earned a spot in my family's collective heart.

Plan to stop by Los Betos soon. Since they never close, you can stop in anytime.

—Curt Nichols says, "Hold the cerveza. Bring me a burrito."

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