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Dining on a Dime: $3 Tacos at La Puerta Negra


Tuesdays are for salsa, and by that I mean both the Latin dance and the tomato and tomatillo-based sauces Americans think of when they hear the term. 

Each week around 5:30 p.m., I climb a narrow set of stairs from Montpelier's Main Street to the entrance of La Puerta Negra, order some food at the bar, and head up another flight of stairs to sit in the lounge and lace up my dance shoes while I wait for my food to arrive. 

Happily, the salsa lessons — taught by Sarah Snow and Jon Bacon of Dsantos VT — happen to coincide with $3 taco day. This means, depending on my hunger level, I could get one, two, three or even four tacos for just $12 — our "Dining on a Dime" limit. 

Sometimes I mix and match: one haddock taco with slaw and smoked lemon aioli, and one stuffed with steak and topped with chimichurri. More typically, I get a pair of pork al pastor tacos, garnished with a scattering of pineapple and cilantro, and a dollop of guacamole, plus a side of refried beans (an additional $4). Even with tax, that's a mere $10.90 for a pretty substantial meal. 

Don't do beans? A pair of tacos and a cup of chicken tortilla soup, or a side salad with pomegranate dressing, or some yucca fries, or an order of  street corn, would all come in under the limit. If I'm feeling flush, I'll get a margarita, too, or sip one of LPN's nice tequilas.

Just as I finish up my meal, the teachers arrive, and the funky syncopated beat of salsa music begins to play over the speakers. I join the other dancers on the floor and we bounce to the beat, and then learn to move our feet to the rhythm. Soon, we're spinning.  

It just so happens that a beginner salsa class is also $12. So, I guess I'm dancing on a dime, too.