SN&R “on” best burritos

kitty burrito
kitty burrito

Just in time for this week’s News & Review, I’d like to react to last week’s cover piece on burritos written by Ben Russell. Russell really seems to know how to turn a phrase, and the piece is actually incredibly informative. For example it confirmed my preference for Guerrero’s tortillas as the best tortillas at your local supermarket (or your massive soulless food chain, whatever your preference), and it taught me that the word for people from the state of Jalisco in Mexico is Jaliscenes.

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Two date night dinners

Our 7th (!) wedding anniversary was yesterday, and we made a weekend of it by celebrating with dinner out on Friday. Now since we have three little kids we don’t exactly eat out often, so when we do we run into that age-old diner’s dilemma: stick with a restaurant you know and love, or take a chance on something new. With the usual, you are very likely to be pleased, and with something new, you can only rely on word of mouth (or word of Yelp) recommendations. And there’s no accounting for taste, especially with the more adventurous kinds of food. We usually err on the side of the classic you know and love. It’s not that we’re not adventurous eaters–not Anthody Bourdain rancid shark, pig anus adventurous, but we can step out of our comfort zone when it seems like a winner.

This year we opted for a favorite we hadn’t visited in a while: Three Sisters.

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El Patron Cinco de Mayo Festival

This weekend, you could put on a sombrero and drink a Corona Light like a guero. Or, you could go to the best Mexican restaurant in town and enjoy the widest selection of premium tequila in the area. It is up to you, hombre.

El Patron at 66th and Folsom is one of our few establishments serving gourmet Mexican cuisine, and they will be celebrating Cinco de Mayo all weekend. With more than 40 brands and 100 different 100% agave tequilas, you owe it to yourself to enjoy a taste of real cultura Mexicana. Check out the schedule of events.

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Lucy’s Taqueria

Before I get into the disappointment that is Lucy’s Taqueria, I’d like to discuss a matter of some import: namely, what is a “taqueria” exactly?  Many terms are tossed around when naming Mexican restaurants and Mexican businesses of all sorts, so I wanted to give you a quick reference guide that might help you navigate the Spanish language businesses in your area.  Oh, come on, no need to thank me, I’m just happy to be here.

Here’s a quick list of some of the more common nomenclature used in Spanish language businesses for your reference (NOTE:  if any native Spanish speakers wish to correct me or add some nuance to these definitions, please, please, please let me know.  Your help is appreciated.):

Mercado-  store, but esp. grocery store

Carniceria– meat market, typically selling raw meats and prepared foods

Taqueriaoriginally referred to street vendors who specialized in Mexican food like tacos or burritos, but now indicates a small, informal, short-order style restaurant serving a variety of Mexican fare

Cocinalit. kitchen, fig. used in the name of many restaurants to give that “homey” feel

Cantina– termed used liberally by white people who open Mexican restaurants chains who focus more on the margaritas than they do on the food Continue reading “Lucy’s Taqueria”

Tastes from across Mexico

I had the good fortune to catch the last night of Presenting Mexico, a three-day tasting from Chef Ramiro Alarcon at El Patron Bar and Grill.

For $20, we had a brief culinary discussion and a hearty sampling of dishes from 8 different Mexican states. My favorite was the Michoacan Pescado Blanco de Pasquero, a white fish baked in egg, served with a smoky red pepper sauce with Sopa de Melon, cold melon soup. Everything that I tried, from the Guerrero inspired Chiles Campanos, marinated green chiles stuffed with queso fresco, to the Sinaloa Sopa Verde, a traditional green soup with fish and clam, was a reminder that Sacramento is sorely lacking for high quality, adventurous Mexican dining that offers atypical dishes and new flavors.

Tequila tastings were also provided by Trago tequila. Unfortunately, they ran out of the Reposado, but their Plata has a fruity aftertaste with little raw alcohol burn. Their Anejo is aged a year in bourbon barrels, imparting a deep, sweet carmel flavor on top of the fruit. Both were excellent and presented in tall rectangular bottles with great angles, sure to stand out at a bar and scream “Taste me and look classy, I’m expensive but worth it!.” The bar featured at least 30 other 100% agave tequilas, including great brands such as Chinaco, Don Julio (including the 1942 reserve!) and Centenario.

El Patron Bar and Grill
6601 Folsom Blvd
(916) 455-8945

Mid-town Taqueria: 1 out of 2 ain’t bad

I’m not the only one who doesn’t think Mid-town Taqueria, the aforementioned taco joint recently risen out of the ashes of Sidewalk Pizza on 38th and Jay, is actually located in midtown, right? By most people’s reckoning midtown is bordered on the East by either biz 80 or Alhambra, and maybe even by 28th, putting Mid-town Taqueria and Sidewalk before it in East Sacramento. Anyway, it is definitely a taqueria so at least they got it half right.

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