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Agave offers tasty tacos

Agave restaurant in Ashland is a hot spot for tourists and locals alike, which is no surprise given its tasty and affordable tacos and tamales.

I recently went there with a friend for lunch, and the inside was bustling. Coveted tables and chairs outside had already been snapped up by diners enjoying sunny fall weather at the informal little café, located downtown at 92 N. Main St.

Inside, the walls are decorated with local art. The kitchen is open to the dining area, allowing visitors to see the fresh ingredients and grills.

We started with an appetizer of cabbage and lime salad ($3.95) and guacamole and chips ($5.95).

The colorful, zesty salad featured shredded cabbage, carrots, jalapeños, cilantro and lime juice.

The generous portion of guacamole was freshly made with avocados, onion and salsa and came studded with house-made tortilla chips. Mild in taste, the guacamole included a separate bowl of spicy hot sauce so we could dip our chips in both for an added kick.

There was more than enough guacamole left for us to slather on our tacos when they arrived.

Agave piles each small white corn tortilla high with ingredients.

The carne asada taco ($3.50) is made with flavorful, marinated, char-grilled steak plus shredded cabbage and fresh lime juice.

The pollo asado taco ($2.95) has char-grilled chicken with cabbage and lime.

People with small appetites can lunch on one taco, but many diners order more than one, especially for dinner.

Agave's fish tacos can be ordered with battered and deep-fried fish as the pescado baja taco ($3.75), or sautéed for a lighter, healthier option as the pescado andrejo taco ($3.75).

Other taco choices include slow-roasted pork ($2.95), grilled marinated vegetables ($2.95) and rich, decadent Maine lobster sautéed in butter ($8.25).

Tamales cost $4.25 each and range from chicken with green chile sauce to winter squash, portabella mushrooms and tomatillo sauce for vegans.

My friend and I were too full to order dessert, but we'll be back some afternoon or night to try Agave's tempting treats.

Chocolate kahlua puddle cake ($4.50) and house-made coconut ice cream ($4.50) sound especially enticing.

Agave offers a mix of drink choices starting at $2.

Traditional American sodas are on tap, but for a taste of Mexico, try a Jarrito soda with assorted fruit flavors such as mandarin orange, strawberry, mango, guava, lime and pineapple.

The restaurant also has Mexican beer ranging from light Corona to dark, malty Negra Modelo, white or red wine, margaritas and tequila shots.

Agave is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. For more information, call 541-488-1770 or see www.agavetaco.net.

Agave offers a variety of tacos for traditional, vegetarian and vegan palates.