Our latest hometown favorite for recessionary dining is kind of a mystery. It’s called Doña Rosa, and it’s a sibling of the Pasadena El Cholo. The mystery is why the order-at-the-counter offshoot is so much better than the fancier original, which is an undeniably fun place to have chips and margaritas, but whose food is dull. (Another sibling is Barn Burner, and the less said about that, the better.) But whatever the reason, we’re grateful for Doña Rosa, especially on Taco Tuesdays. Every Tuesday, day and night, all of the very generous tacos (made on fresh tortillas) are $1.25 each, and the small, tart, superb margaritas are an incredible deal for just $1.50. Meats are tender and well seasoned (try the al pastor or carnitas), and everything involving masa or corn or wheat flour — sopes, gorditas, burritos, tortas, tamales, pan dulce — is tasty, generously served and reasonably priced. There are plenty of choices for vegetarians, and you could do far worse than to start your day with one of the breakfast burritos.
577 S. Arroyo Pkwy., Pasadena, 626.449.2999, dona-rosa.com. B, L & D daily to midnight (11 p.m. on Sun.). Beer, wine & margaritas. AE, MC, V. $ – $$