A Mexican restaurant in Baltimore, Maryland. There are actually two branches: a tiny little place in Hampden, and an even smaller place in Mount Vernon. The one in Mount Vernon is generally considered inferior to the Hampden eatery; smaller portions, and not as tasty. But I've been informed that the counter at the lunch place has cooler stuff under lucite than the Paper Moon Diner does.

Holy Frijoles has a lot of things going for it. Number one is massive amounts of cheap and delicious food. Number two is excellent atomosphere, with good music (Johnny Cash, Rolling Stones, Tom Waits, The Pixies), weird art on the walls, and spicy waitresses. I consider it the source of all good things in the universe.

I have a friend from Sante Fe who thinks Holy Frijoles is pretty close to authentic, though without green chile, which is a must in New Mexico style food. But anyway, in general people love the place, and even a real pedant for authentic Mexican food will find something that they won't be able to complain about (and, c'mon, we're on the East Coast here, what do you want?).

The nachos grande is an excellent pick for a meal for two. It comes to about $8, and will easily stuff two hungry people. The burritos and tacos are also top-notch; warm, soft, filled with onions and poblano peppers. I don't like the style of enchiladas they serve (casserole style), but other people seem to really get into them. For the most part, you can't really go wrong with anything. As of winter of 2002, Holy Frijoles has a liquor license, so it is no longer BYOB, which is kind of a shame because it was nice to be able to bring in a six pack of cheap Mexican beer and get a little trashed during dinner.

There is little or no desert available, but, if you're actually hungry after eating a meal there, my congratulations; it's only happened to me once or twice in the 20 or so times I've eaten there. In any case, there is a nice little ice cream place next door, and down the block is a Ro Fo that sells Krispy Kreme donuts.

The building is tiny, so be prepared to wait 15 minutes to half an hour, especially during peak times. They also do take out; just call ahead, let them know what you want, and drive (or walk) over.

They're open every day except Monday. The hours vary from day to day, and I think they change fairly often, but generally they'll be open Tuesday through Sunday from at least 1 until 10.

That was then, this is now

Here are the various updates since I wrote the initial writeup, above.

czeano informs me that Holy Frijoles has expanded, and is now "FREAKIN HOOOOGE". I presume he means the area formerly occupied by Dave's Furniture, which was a pretty nice little spot; they moved into a more spacious location down the block a while back. I actually have not been there since mid-2003 or so; after we discovered Los Amigos, we pretty much dropped going to Holy Frijoles except when we were already in Hampden and wanted a bite to eat.

And now, several years after the fact, an odd anecdote. I used to live in a rowhouse in Charles Village; my roomates and I had the top two floors. The two guys who lived below us were pretty big into the Baltimore punk scene, one of them was the drummer for the Charm City Suicides for a while. Anyway, summer of 2002, they had a party, and the owner of Holy Frijoles showed up. I completely forget his name (sorry, this was 2 and a half years ago), but he was a pretty interesting guy. Some of us were out on the stoop smoking, and he decides to go hit on some college girls walking back from some other party. Now, he must have had at least 10 years on these girls, so we basically just stepped back and said "Uh, yeah, go for it man. Have fun." and watched him run off to drunkenly hit on them. After a few minutes he runs back towards our place, yelling "Back to reality" over and over again. Then he slips and smashes his head against the concrete stairs, and just curls up, holding his head, still moaning "Back to reality". It was really kinda creepy. We never did figure out what the fuck he was talking about, or how those girls had reacted to him. The guys helped him stand up and brought him into their apartment, and that was the last we saw of him. Relevance of this story to the node at hand: near zero.

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