On an island where inexpensive food usually involves a fast food window or paper plate, finding a reasonably priced meal that’s both filling and satisfying is not an easy task. My solution to this problem comes in just two simple, elegant words: TACO TUESDAY.
Every Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Compadres in the Lahaina Cannery Mall offers tacos for a buck, $3 Coronas and margaritas as well as free chips and salsa. In fact, Compadres knows their tacos are too good to wait for so on Tuesday nights they set up a special window just to the left of the bar where hungry customers can exchange their dollars for a delicious taco dinner.
On any given Tuesday you can choose between beef, chicken or bean tacos. And these are good, too—a bit small, perhaps, but they’re still filling. After you’ve paid for your taco, the people behind the counter fill a corn taco shell with your requested meat or beans, lettuce, tomato and salsa fresca. Once you’ve been handed your tacos be sure to make a stop at the salsa bar directly behind the taco counter to add some additional zest to your meal.
While the tasty food and drinks specials are reason enough to stop in to Compadres Tuesday nights, Taco Tuesday is also a social hotspot. Even if you haven’t made plans to meet friends, you’re likely to run into at least a handful of people you know. The majority of the crowd is composed of local 20 and 30-somethings filling up on tacos, enjoying pau hana or just coordinating their next stop. Occasionally there’s a live reggae band to entertain the crowd but generally there’s just friends gathered at the bar and on the lanai.
While the crowd is mainly local, there’s a certain conglomerate of tourists who clearly stand out from the young kama’aina crowd and are easily spotted. Look for the women wearing carefully ironed sundresses sipping vodka sodas or the men in khaki shorts and polo shirts downing Budweisers.
While the dollar tacos are my favorite food item at Compadres, they also offer a full breakfast, lunch and dinner menu with all the classic dishes. The menu is divided into aperitivos such as the six-layer dip ($10.95), macho nachos ($12.95), or my favorite, the Texas Quesadillas ($13.95), fajita marinated grilled chicken or signature carnitas wrapped in a large flour tortilla with chopped green onions, Monterey jack cheese, cotija cheese and salsa fresca.
If the aperitivo section doesn’t appeal to you there’s a full variety of sopas and ensaladas, enchiladas, tacos, burritos, rellenos, chimichangas and signature items. One of the classics in the signature sections is the fajitas ($16.95-23.95) which offers a choice of meat grilled to order, sliced thin and served with whole pinto beans, grilled onions, peppers, guacamole, sour cream and salsa fresca.
Another favorite are the Texas Quesadillas ($13.95), fajita marinated grilled chicken or signature carnitas wrapped in a large flour tortilla with chopped green onions, Monterey jack cheese, cotija cheese and salsa fresca. The fish tacos—battered and fried and served with huge helpings of rice and beans—are quite popular.
But those on a budget, there’s still no substitute for waiting until Tuesday before visiting Compadres. MTW