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2023-04-12 04:28:26

The Full Information to All The Taquerias of Redwood Metropolis, v. 2.0

Someday within the spring of 2008, after devouring each final sushi bar from Millbrae by Cupertino — all 62 of them — Sushi Monster put down his hashi. He seemed again on all he had consumed and declared that it was sufficient.

Two years of $70 nigiri lunches had left Sushi Monster feeling … spent. He fell right into a deep sleep and skilled a imaginative and prescient: a brand new mission to seek out an genuine, vibrantly flavorful and fascinating lunch that could possibly be had for lower than $10. When he awoke as El Taquistador, he knew the place he needed to go: Redwood Metropolis.

With 49 taquerias to 74,000 residents, the town may need the very best per-capita focus of genuine taco stands within the state, if not the nation. To match la Ciudad de la Secoya, San Francisco would wish 492 taco outlets — and San Jose would wish 615.

Redwood Metropolis’s tacos usually are not distinctive. Related fare is on the market nearly anyplace within the West the place Mexican immigrants reside. It is the sheer density of the scene that is outstanding: On the stretch of Middlefield Street between Woodside Street and the Atherton line, there are as many as six taquerias per block. After which there’s the gas station on Fifth Avenue that has two taquerias shoehorned in, aspect by aspect. It is not unusual to see a taco truck on the curb exterior a brick-and-mortar taqueria, only for the walk-up visitors.


To search out all the nice tacos of Redwood Metropolis, you should look past the apparent. Stealth taquerias are all over the place. A few of the finest are discovered behind nook mercados. These are useful if you should decide up a saint magnet in your dashboard, a bottle of NyQuil, a cellphone card and a Energy Rangers pinata whereas ready in your lunch. Apart from the everyday mercado/taqueria combo, there are additionally carnicerias (butcher outlets) and panaderias (bakeries) doing tacos on the aspect. And one taqueria that is a pool corridor. (In a vibrant neighborhood that boasts a mixture muffler shop-and-florist, something is believable within the title of commerce.) Whereas most Redwood Metropolis taquerias are pretty related of their core choices, they span a broad vary of variegated types. There’s Vega’s Market, the place you’ll be able to flick through Spanish-language evangelical tracts whereas ready in your tacos. And one block south there’s La Casita Chilanga, a shack the scale of a backyard shed, blasting Aerosmith at hair-curling quantity.


Whereas no one will ever argue Redwood Metropolis’s signature delicacies is especially delicate or delicate, it’s a mistake to imagine these taquerias provide solely campesino avenue meals. Many function a variety of mariscos plates — seafood dishes from Baja California and Michoacan’s personal Pacific coast. Then there are the oversize tortas, Mexico Metropolis’s reply to the Philly cheesesteak, plus a rising collection of Salvadoran and Nicaraguan dishes from pupusas to plantains.

The enduring Redwood Metropolis taco is trustworthy meals. There’s nowhere to cover mediocre components or poor approach. It begins with two corn tortillas, 4 inches throughout, fried simply seconds previous to being served. Carne asada (skirt steak), lengua (beef tongue), sesos (beef brains), cabrito (child goat), pollo (rooster), carnitas (braised pork) and al pastor (spit-roasted pork) are all widespread fillings. (Sadly, no Redwood Metropolis taqueria serves one in all Michoacan’s most celebrated taco fillings: roasted inexperienced iguana.) The tacos are garnished with diced onion, cilantro and a gentle inexperienced tomatillo sauce and that is it. Reality on a tortilla.

What you’ll not see on the basic Redwood Metropolis taco: beans, cheese, guacamole or (heaven forbid) shredded lettuce. If you would like all that stuff and extra, 80 p.c of those outlets proudly provide a gringo-style prepare wreck referred to as a “tremendous burrito,” typically the scale of a bowling pin.

4 tacos comprise a decent lunch and can set you again $4 to $10. The tacos are at all times finest consumed instantly, earlier than the tortillas cool. These things does not journey properly. Somebody driving into Redwood Metropolis on a taco mission ought to fastidiously weigh the eat-in/take-out choices. A few of the smallest outlets are uncomfortable eating venues. And a pair are strictly take-out solely. If it bothers you to eat tacos off the hood of your automotive, you may wish to discover the neighborhood parks with picnic tables.


Some indicators you might be most likely in an genuine taqueria: La Virgen de Guadalupe watching from above. Assorted narco-corridos and rock en Espanol on the jukebox. Telenovelas, soccer or Mexican wrestling on a big-screen TV. Jarritos fruit sodas, Mexican Coke, Modelo and Pacifico beers within the beverage case. Iced aguas frescas (fruit drinks) and horchatas (a milky, rice-based beverage) in gigantic glass jars or plastic buckets on the counter. A trompo (carved pork shoulder) the scale of a fireplace hydrant, impaled on a mechanized spit and topped by a slice of pineapple.

The taqueria that insists on making use of a one-size-fits-all serving of salsa to your order is responsible of taking excessive liberties along with your palate and needs to be ashamed. Nonetheless, many in any other case respectable eating places adhere to this offensive follow. You wish to search out a taqueria that provides quite a lot of contemporary salsas at a self-serve condiment bar.

A big number of fillings is just not essentially a plus. What you do not wish to see are components which were sitting round a steam desk for an prolonged time period. The extra handwork that is performed after your order is positioned, the higher. In a super scenario, you’d see the asada being grilled to order.

Lastly, there are two prime indicators {that a} taqueria is lifeless severe about its craft: The employees hand-press tortillas from scratch, contemporary by the hour — and even by the order. And so they make a contemporary pink salsa that’s as intoxicating as a primary kiss. Once you uncover a taqueria that does each, you will have discovered the true style of Redwood Metropolis.


Though there are wonderful tacos available throughout Redwood Metropolis, any first-time pilgrim ought to concentrate on “Little Michoacan,” the unofficial appellation for all of the neighborhoods bounded by Freeway 101, El Camino Actual, Woodside Street and Willow Street. (It consists of the North Honest Oaks neighborhood that lies simply exterior Redwood Metropolis correct.) The world is dwelling to hundreds of households with ties to the Mexican state of Michoacan. Thus, the roster of taquerias and different companies alongside Middlefield Street reads like a roadmap of the Mexican state’s municipalities — Morelia, Uruapan, Arteaga, Apatzingan.

Redwood Metropolis has notably sturdy ties to at least one particular municipality — Aguililla — extending again greater than 60 years. In 1995, San Jose Mercury Information journalist Edwin Garcia, writing in regards to the extraordinary relationship between the 2 communities, reported that there have been 10,000 individuals in larger Redwood Metropolis who had household within the distant hill city. Right this moment, it is a truthful guess that not less than one in each three Latino residents of Redwood Metropolis has roots in Aguililla.


You may’t spend greater than a day on the hunt for tacos in Redwood Metropolis with out encountering the nice thriller of “Grullense.” It will take the onomastic equal of Indiana Jones to resolve this. Throughout the state, there are dozens — maybe lots of — of taquerias and taco vehicles working beneath some variation of the title “Grullense.” There are seven in Redwood Metropolis, not counting vehicles. Some are associated. Some usually are not. Some are wonderful. Others usually are not. El Grullo (actually, a crane) is a municipality within the Mexican state of Jalisco. The Gamez household, initially from El Grullo, reportedly introduced the model to the Bay Space greater than three a long time in the past. However right now “Grullense” is to taquerias as “Frosty” is to soft-serve ice cream shacks — a generic, non-trademarked appellation with none regional significance. Two of the Gamez household Grullenses are among the many most interesting all-around taquerias within the area.


Nice taste — the elegant three-part concord of the meat, pink sauce and tortillas — is at all times the highest criterion. Retailers with serve-yourself salsa bars obtained further factors. As did locations that had “weekend” gadgets (birria, barbacoa, tripas) accessible every single day. The general attractiveness of the store was an element. And eventually, the presence of specialties seldom seen at different taquerias was a plus. Value was a non-issue. Count on to pay between $4 and $10 for lunch all over the place, except you are getting some huge dinner plate.

On the preliminary go to to every store, I ordered 4 tacos — most frequently carne asada, lengua, birria (when accessible) and maybe another kind that seemed fascinating, reminiscent of machaca, desebrada or barbacoa. El Taquistador is just not a shopper of pork merchandise, so carnitas, al pastor, chicharron and different porcine delights weren’t a part of my analysis. Lots of the outlets that did properly on the preliminary go to obtained a second go to for a burrito or a dinner plate. A couple of favourite locations have been visited greater than a dozen occasions.

For those who order fastidiously, there are wonderful gadgets to be sought out properly down into the highest half of the checklist. (For instance, Mi Hacienda, ranked general at No. 21, has scrumptious lengua.) Given the sheer profusion of high quality outlets in such shut proximity, El Taquistador does not see a lot cause to return to anyplace ranked within the backside half of the checklist. Keep on with the inexperienced dots on the Google map and you will be higher off.

For these retaining rating at dwelling, to reach on the magic variety of 49, I included the whole lot of Little Michoacan, which extends into unincorporated San Mateo County to the Atherton line. (Sure, a few of these locations have Menlo Park postal addresses, however they’re not in Menlo Park). I didn’t embody: taco vehicles (one other checklist, one other time); sit-down, full-service eating places (e.g. Amelia’s, El Viejo, El Guanaco, La Pachanga, Las Parrillas, La Roca and La Costa); gringo-style margarita mills (e.g. Milagros, Mexquite/La Corneta and Margaritas); and, seafood specialists (e.g. La Huasteca, La Sirena Rosa, El Cora and seven Mares). It ought to go with out saying El Taquistador would by no means be caught lifeless consuming at a Chevy’s, Chipotle or Unamas.

Lastly, the reader is urged to remember that the statements under are not allegations of truth however expressions of opinion from one one that eats an terrible lot of tacos.


1) Taqueria El Grullense, 1280 El Camino Actual
2) El Grullense Grill, 768 Woodside Rd.
3) La Casita Chilanga No. 2, 761 El Camino Actual
4) Jimenez Taqueria, 1798 Broadway
5) Taqueria MexCal, 3215 Middlefield Rd.
6) Chavez Grocery store, 46 Fifth Ave.
7) El Grullense No. 2, 2940 Middlefield Rd.
8) Tacos Delicias, 3252 Middlefield Rd.
9) Rincon Tarasco, 3200 Middlefield Rd.
10) Tacos El Grullo, 2798 Spring St.
11) Taqueria Mar y Tierra, 1475 Broadway
12) Tacos El Grullense No. 1, 1243 Middlefield Rd.
13) Taqueria Apatzingan, 3305 Middlefield Rd.
14) La Casita Chilanga, 2928 Middlefield Rd.
15) La Casita Chilanga No. 3, 995 Fifth Ave.
16) Aguililla Market Taqueria, 3250 Middlefield Rd.
17) Panaderia Michoacan, 2561 El Camino Actual
18) La Azteca Mexicatessen, 1531 Foremost St.
19) El Paisano Carniceria y Mercado, 2856 Middlefield Rd.
20) El Grullense No. 3, 795 Fifth Ave.
21) Mi Hacienda, 895 2nd Ave.
22) Taqueria Mi Rancho, 593 Woodside Rd.
23) Tacos El Camino, 2627 El Camino Actual
24) Chavez Grocery store, 775 Arguello St.
25) Apatzingan 2, 739 Chestnut St.
26) Nikko’s Mexican Grill, 408 El Camino Actual
27) Mis Amigos, 828 Fifth Ave.
28) Taqueria Gonzalez, 3194 Middlefield Rd.
29) Mi Pueblito, 3225 Middlefield Rd.
30) Tacos El Grullense E&E, 2401 Middlefield Rd.
31) Chela’s Carniceria, 1714 El Camino Actual
32) Tacos El Grullense E&E, 999 El Camino Actual
33) Rosita’s Taco Cease, 1515 Woodside Rd.
34) La Estrellita, 2205 Middlefield Rd.
35) Sancho’s, 3207 Oak Knoll Dr.
36) Bravo Taqueria, 980 Woodside Rd.
37) Vega’s Market and Grill, 2585 Middlefield Rd.
38) Black Bean Delicacies, 847 Foremost St.
39) Taqueria El Tulense, 2391 Spring St.
40) Mi Rancho Market, 137 Roosevelt Ave.
41) Arteaga’s Starlite Grocery store, 812 Fifth Ave.
42) Mi Rancho, 2505 Middlefield Rd.
43) Los Gallos, 3726 Florence St.
44) Karlita’s Taco Place, 512 Woodside Rd.
45) Frida Cocina Mejicana, 820 Veterans Blvd.
46) Naranjo’s Taqueria, 2647 Broadway
47) El Jarachito, 3264 Middlefield Rd.
48) Elizabeth Restaurant, 2855 Middlefield Rd.
49) La Fiesta, 314 Arguello St.

See the entire list on a Google map, with hyperlink index.

No. 1
Taqueria El Grullense

1280 El Camino Actual
The taqueria our household fondly refers to as “Outdated Grullense” is much and away Redwood Metropolis’s finest all-around store (though there is a lesser operation on Middlefield Street that payments itself as “Grullense No. 1”). It is all in regards to the sauce. No taqueria can aspire to greatness with out a nice salsa roja. And solely this one and its sister operation, El Grullense Grill, meet that mark day after day. I do know I am not the one one that’s sneaked in their very own small Tupperware container simply to get a bigger to-go hit of this extraordinary sauce. The store, hermit-crabbing in an previous A&W only a block south of Jefferson Ave., is a crossroads of the neighborhood, with a remarkably various following. The $1.25 tacos are persistently wonderful. The moist burritos are two-plus meals even for a hearty eater. And the dinner plates, notably the camarones platters, are additionally strong.

No. 2
El Grullense Grill

768 Woodside Rd.
The most recent and slickest of the town’s seven Grullenses is a sibling of “Outdated Grullense,” and likewise run by Juan Gamez. Like “Outdated Grullense,” it is a research in constant high quality. In contrast to “Outdated Grullense,” you will discover a comfy, inviting eating room and a full bar within the again. It is a massive menu by any measure — with 16 taco fillings every single day and a full complement of dinner plates. The birria (known as “cabrito” right here) and lengua tacos are each excellent, as are the burritos (when you specify they go simple on the rice). For one thing a bit extra decadent, attempt one of many camarones platters (reminiscent of camarones imperiales — bacon-wrapped shrimp, smothered in cheese and sauteed with Kahlua). Once more, the pink sauce on the full salsa bar is the killer draw — and so they’re joyful to promote it by the pint or quart.

No. 3
La Casita Chilanga No. 2

761 El Camino Actual
Of the three Casita Chilangas in Redwood Metropolis, that is the go-to alternative: Sit-down eating in a heat, comfy house. Plus a full menu of tacos and intriguing huge plates along with the home specialty, tortas. The situation is tops as properly, with simple parking on the west aspect of El Camino subsequent to Sequoia Excessive College.

On the taco menu, the house run is the suaperro — beef rib meat. It is a uncommon discover — a scrumptious different to ho-hum asada. One other uncommon deal with: Mexico Metropolis-style lamb tacos and consomme on the weekends. Three of the massive $2 tacos make a considerable lunch. Of the 14 celebrated tortas (priced from $5.75 to $13.95), La Encajosa is a wonderful chorizo intestine bomb you would most likely reside off for a pair days. The $12 camarones alambres platter seemed completely scrumptious, with carmelized onions, bell pepper, bacon, chorizo and cheese. Once more, it is a actual unhealthy place for individuals with ldl cholesterol points. Little home, huge taste.

No. 4
Jimenez Taqueria

1798 Broadway
This small store a block from the Kaiser campus has a restricted menu. However what they do they do very properly. Lengua and asada are each reliably good. Birria (weekends solely) is excellent. The birria tacos come on tortillas which can be handmade by the order on a big picket press. (You may have the ability to specify handmade tortillas on different gadgets as properly.) 4 $1.50 tacos is a considerable lunch. For those who do not particularly request the salsa roja, the usual tomatillo sauce will likely be all you get.

No. 5
Taqueria MexCal

3215 Middlefield Rd.
The 3200 block of Middlefield being maybe probably the most aggressive taco venue within the state, any new arrival higher be good. These guys, who changed Tacos Del Oro within the spring of 2008, are actual good. The lengua may be the most effective within the metropolis. On the weekends, the birria tacos are served on tortillas handmade by the order. Past the same old lineup of $1.25 tacos, $4.95 burritos and $4 tortas, we famous with curiosity the machaca plate and pollo guisado (stewed rooster), a seldom-seen taco filling. No salsa bar, sadly. (Keep in mind to request the very respectable salsa roja on the aspect for to-go orders.) With zero decor apart from a booming tv and an imposing new steam desk, this isn’t a beautiful place to dine in. MexCal does provide off-street parking on a block the place curb house is tight.

No. 6
Chavez Grocery store

46 Fifth Ave.
Not your funky nook mercado by a protracted shot. This flagship of the ever-expanding Chavez empire (six shops, with three in Redwood Metropolis) is a full-service fashionable grocery store with a high-volume taqueria alongside one wall. The client base right here is bifurcated: Though it is on the southwest fringe of Little Michoacan it is also the closest full grocery outlet for a good swath of Atherton. Do not be intimidated by the substantial line at lunchtime. It is a huge, well-oiled machine and the taqueros actually hustle. Three $2.29 tacos can be a lot. The asada could also be the most effective anyplace. Birria and barbacoa (accessible every single day) are additionally good. Keep away from the lengua. And keep away from the bitter pink salsa as properly. Though I did not partake, a number of on-line sources say the al pastor is excellent. With a snug eat-in space, high quality tortillas and memorable asada, it is a step above Chavez’ Arguello Road operation. (The third Redwood Metropolis outlet, on Middlefield, doesn’t sport a taqueria.)

No. 7
El Grullense No. 2

2940 Middlefield Rd.
This tiny store, in the identical eye-sizzling iguana-green constructing as La Panaderia Michoacan No. 2, is a minimalist expression of Grullense type. With three stools and 4 chairs, the austere nook operation does not lend itself to a snug sit-down meal. The essential taqueria menu is anchored by $1.15 tacos and $4.25 burritos. No salsa bar, however the pink sauce that comes on the tacos is respectable — tangy and gentle. Lengua and asada are each good calls.

No. 8
Tacos Delicias

3252 Middlefield Rd.
Maybe the last word stealth taqueria — with no signage in any respect to inform you what wonders lie in the back of the Los Primos liquor retailer/carniceria. The one-woman taco operation is a single six-foot folding desk and a tiny steam desk in the back of the butcher case. Asada, lengua and pastor are all she had once I stopped in. Select from a severe pink salsa, a tomatillo and an avocado-based sauce. No menu, no seating, no English. Simply generously constructed $1 tacos performed proper. Sadly, that is the type of seat-of-the-pants operation which will or is probably not there on any given week.

No. 9
Rincon Tarasco

3200 Middlefield Rd.
The intersection of Fifth Avenue and Middlefield Street is the cultural and financial coronary heart of Little Michoacan. And Rincon Tarasco has been an establishment on the southwest nook for so long as El Taquistador can bear in mind. On a Saturday afternoon, with a mariachi band typically stationed simply exterior the entrance door, it actually does really feel like the middle of a world that’s extra Mexican than American.

Though Rincon Tarasco does sufficient enterprise with $1.50 tacos, $4 tortas and $5 burritos to qualify as a bona fide taqueria, the actual draw right here is the massive plates, reminiscent of lengua, camarones and guillotas (quail). The machaca con huevos — the Norteno equal of the very conventional Michoacan specialty aporreadillo — is a hearty, deeply satisfying plate of shredded, dried beef over scrambled eggs, swimming in a candy, tangy pink sauce. There isn’t any salsa bar, however the pink sauce you get on the desk with chips is nice stuff. Day by day specials on the white board can vary from barbacoa enchiladas to cesos tacos. Rincon Tarasco scores huge on two main assessments: Handmade tortillas to order and severe pink sauce.

No. 10
Tacos El Grullo

2798 Spring St.
This sleepy neighborhood store two clicks off the primary drag is price a glance if for no different cause than the wild murals and over-the-top Virgen de Guadalupe shrine. The $1 tacos are strong, due to excellent tortillas and an uncommonly advanced pink sauce.

No. 11
Taqueria Mar y Tierra

1475 Broadway
Skip the forgettable tacos and go straight for the massive plates, notably the seven camarones platters priced at $11. The camarones a la diabla is a superb alternative, with a dozen medium shrimp drowned in a candy, tart sauce that put a noticeable tingle on my lips. Dine-in is the way in which to go right here on weekdays when issues decelerate just a little. On weekend afternoons, Mar y Tierra might be jammed, with massive household teams spilling out onto the sidewalk between Radio Shack and Workplace Depot. There isn’t any salsa bar, and the pink sauce I obtained with my take-out order was to not my style. However on a subsequent go to the pink sauce on the desk was fairly good. The breakfast menu consists of six huevos plates, together with nopalitos (cactus). They’re gringo-friendly and take plastic.

No. 12
Tacos El Grullense No. 1

1243 Middlefield Rd.
From the road, this seems to be an absolute clone of our No. 1, decide, “Outdated Grullense,” additionally doing enterprise in an previous A&W. However upon nearer examination, it is a comparatively minimalist menu constructed on $1.25 tacos, $5 tortas and $5 burritos. Total, the setup resembles Grullense No. 2 and three far more than it does “Outdated Grullense” or Grullense Grill. The one unforgivable sin for any Grullense: no salsa bar. The pink that comes on the tacos is respectable sufficient. Lengua and pollo asada are OK. Carne asada is the strongest merchandise within the lineup. Once you simply need the fundamentals, this may do.

No. 13
Taqueria Apatzingan

3305 Middlefield Rd.
A full-scale taqueria that shares a wall with the mercado of the identical title subsequent door. There are a really respectable 14 fillings for tacos, tortas and burritos on the garage-door-sized menu board. Tacos are available in three sizes — common ($1.50), mano ($1.75) and tremendous ($2). 4 of the regulars is a big lunch. Birria is the actual draw right here, just a little little bit of a drier prep than at another outlets. The salsa bar choices are restricted. Skip the chile-oil-based pink sauce and go for the tomatillo. You would eat-in right here, but it surely’s not almost as enticing a eating room because the one at Apatzingan 2.

No. 14
La Casita Chilanga

2928 Middlefield Rd.
Sure, it truly is a casita — a shack in regards to the measurement of a one-car storage. That is the mom ship of the La Casita Chilanga empire. Though the signal on the roof says tacos in foot-high letters, as soon as inside it is DF-style (Mexico Metropolis) tortas solely. As with all of the Casitas, this one has a pronounced counterculture, rock ‘n’ roll vibe. There’s the Virgen of Guadalupe on the wall. And there is additionally a bedsheet-sized tapestry of the late Jim Morrison. As an alternative of corny corridas, you get Aerosmith blasting at full quantity. La Eva, billed as “costilla asada,” was only a run-of-the-mill skirt steak asada sandwich on a pressed baguette. It is a good change of tempo from tacos, however for $7.30, I might anticipated one thing just a little extra substantial.

No. 15
La Casita Chilanga No. 3

995 Fifth Ave.
As unlikely as it might sound, this closet-sized torta outlet is shoehorned right into a gasoline station alongside Grullense No. 3. And so they each appear to do increase take-away enterprise in any respect hours of the day and night time. (There’s a modest counter alongside the aspect of the constructing, however apart from that, you are consuming off the hood of your automotive.)

The 14 tortas on the menu are nearly similar to the lineup at La Casitas Nos. 1 and a couple of. For $5.95, my La Del Chavo Del 8 was a wonderful deal — ham with chipotle mayo, sliced jalapenos, onions, tomato and avocado slices. Not too dry, not too sloppy. Excellent. It would be my prime decide at any of the Casitas. Ok to interrupt my aversion to pork merchandise. Some fascinating departures from the default La Casita menu: La Juguetona (turkey sausage) and a model of La Del Gordo y Eduardo (the “every part” torta) that goes for a staggering $18.95. (The identical torta is $7 much less at No. 2). All of the La Casitas are good — however No. 2 is clearly the highest decide for the explanations outlined above.

No. 16
Aguililla Market Taqueria

3250 Middlefield Rd.
Do not take the “market” a part of the title at face worth. It is a vestigial appendage from the previous mercado that opened almost 30 years in the past. Right this moment, you will discover a huge, well-appointed taqueria with probably the most inviting eating rooms in Little Michoacan. What survives from the mercado days are a couple of cabinets of Mexican canned items and a rack of CDs. These gigantic tacos ($2.75 to $2.95) are hardly consultant of Redwood Metropolis type, however they’re high quality merchandise and two is a decent lunch. The gringo-friendly institution does a giant lunch enterprise with out-of-neighborhood cubicle dwellers. (They take plastic and workplace teams can fax in orders.) On the restricted menu of taco fillings (no lengua, birria, cabeza, and so on.), the carne asada — grilled to order — is nice. Total although, no home-run tastes. Like Rincon Tarasco on the nook, it is a very enticing place to tug up a stool by the window and watch the world go by.

No. 17
Panaderia Michoacan

2561 El Camino Actual
Regardless of the bars on the home windows and doorways, it is a good store in a very good location — and a snug place to eat in. The combo mercado-and-bakery has an fascinating set of taco fillings, together with barbacoa, chicharron (pork rinds) and (when you actually hit them on the appropriate day) desebrada (shredded beef). Tacos are $1.35 for regulars, $2 for larges. The lengua was memorable for the slight background notice of cumin or curry. On the respectable salsa bar, go for the gentle pink somewhat than the new.

No. 18
La Azteca Mexicatessen

1531 Foremost St.
With its massive, enticing eating room and handy location proper off Woodside Street, this gringo-friendly combo mercado will get a number of out-of-neighborhood enterprise. It’s notably famend for breakfast. The $1.75 “mini tacos” are the Redwood Metropolis four-inch normal, and they’re certainly mini on the fillings. On the weekend you might even see a employee grilling pastor exterior the entrance of the mercado entrance, a not-so-subtle advertising and marketing ploy to entice the grocery clients to swing subsequent door for a taco or three. La Azteca’s tackle machaca is a world away from the dried beef at different locations — like a high quality brisket, with a candy mint notice to it. Chipotle steak packed a smoky, spicy wallop and proved to be a wonderful mess as a taco filling. On the deli finish, they promote rice, beans, meat, guacamole and salsa by the half-pint, pint or quart measure. And chicharron and carnitas by the pound. Keep away from the pink sauce on the salsa bar.

No. 19
El Paisano Carniceria y Mercado

2856 Middlefield Rd.
That is among the many funkier nook mercados alongside Middlefield. The $1.50 tacos are primary fare performed proper, notably the asada. The machaca is an fascinating seldom-seen different as a taco filling. Superior tortillas, typically pressed whilst you wait. No salsa bar, however the pink and inexperienced that go on the tacos are simply high quality. Birria and menudo weekends solely.

No. 20
El Grullense No. 3

795 Fifth Ave.
Jammed in alongside La Casita Chilanga No. 3 in a Triton gasoline station, this place is at all times hopping with walk-up enterprise. Regardless of the skin counter alongside the aspect of the constructing, it is actually a to-go-only proposition. The lineup is proscribed to the usual ($1.15) taco and ($4.85) burrito selections, with lengua and asada being the most effective calls. Though there is no salsa bar, the stuff that goes on the tacos lives as much as the Grullense title.

No. 21
Mi Hacienda

895 2nd Ave.
The lunch crowd mid-week tends to be predominantly tech drones from the close by Midpoint workplace park, somewhat than neighborhood denizens. Among the many $2 tacos, lengua is an excellent alternative. Along with the usual menu, ensure and test the every day whiteboard for specials reminiscent of pulpo (calamari) performed 3 ways. Go on the pink salsa. Menudo and birria weekends solely.

No. 22
Taqueria Mi Rancho

593 Woodside Rd.
With 5 taquerias in a mile, Woodside Street west of El Camino is shaping as much as be a reasonably aggressive strip. This brilliant, immaculate new store gives the same old taco choices (which include cheese and guacamole normal), burritos and all of the requisite huge plates. Three of the usual tacos is a hearty lunch. The carne asada is the one standout right here, with respectable birria on the weekend solely. Of the 12 seafood choices, I favor the camarones a la diabla, with its candy, tangy pink sauce. Though high quality has been uneven over a number of visits, Mi Rancho (which isn’t affiliated with the Mi Rancho market on Roosevelt Ave. or the Mi Rancho taqueria on Middlefield Street) is an effective dine-in alternative.

No. 23
Tacos El Camino

2627 El Camino Actual
Think about this store to be hiding in plain view, on the west fringe of Little Michoacan, between the Hanky Panky gents’s membership and the Secrets and techniques grownup video retailer. It is most likely handed by 10,000 motorists a day, but it surely’s simple to miss when zooming by at 50 mph. The ghetto bars girding the home windows and doorways do not add to the attract. When you’re inside, there is a good shock: a pleasing eating room, nice murals and — wow! — a pool corridor taking on half the sq. footage, accessed by a door subsequent to the drink cooler. (Essentially the most spectacular mural is within the pool corridor.)

Three of the $1.75 tacos make a considerable lunch. Lengua and birria have been each of fine high quality, however lacked any actual savory taste. There was no salsa bar to assist issues. There are 16 dinner plates, most $9. Total, a satisfactory eat-in choice in a very good, neglected location.

No. 24
Chavez Grocery store

775 Arguello St.
That is the place the Chavez empire began, a modest comfort retailer and carniceria that now has a taco counter and some tables again by the beer coolers. As with the sister location on Fifth, it will get jammed at lunch, however the line actually strikes. Keep away from the pink salsa, which is of the orange chili-oil selection. On the $2.29 tacos, asada is the most effective name. Birria is an on a regular basis merchandise. Keep away from the lengua. Given its offbeat location, the one actual competitors is La Casita Chilanga two blocks away. Parking might be robust.

No. 25
Apatzingan 2

739 Chestnut St.
Palms-down the town’s most engaging combo mercado. Apatzingan 2, a sibling to the Apatzingan that anchors the south finish of the Middlefield Street strip, opened in December of 2007, in a completely rehabbed historic tavern constructing. The intense new eating room and again patio are each inviting locations to kill a while. Like its older sibling, there are 14 fillings on provide, together with cesos, tripo, cabeza, barbacoa and costillas (pork rib). Commonplace tacos are $1.50, mano are $1.75 and supers $2. Sadly, high quality was inconsistent over two visits. On the primary journey, the birria was excellent. On the second journey, it was studded with many gristly arduous bits. Keep away from the overstewed lengua.

No. 26
Nikko’s Mexican Grill

408 El Camino Actual
This hole-in-the-wall most likely would not final six months in a aggressive slot down on Middlefield Street. However the idiosyncratic store appears to have staked out a defensible territory, hiding in plain view on El Camino, on the excessive north finish of Redwood Metropolis. The usual tacos are strong, albeit with a restricted lineup of fillings. The non-standard gadgets are fairly fascinating, together with a lime-steak burrito, a peanut-butter-and-chicken burrito, nopal tacos (steak and cactus) and a downright disturbing “teriyaki taco” (stir-fried rice, bell peppers and rooster garnished with bitter cream, cheese and pineapple). Make certain and see the quartet of every day specials on the butcher-paper roll to the appropriate of the counter.
No. 27
Mis Amigos

828 Fifth Ave.
It is a very strong, if unremarkable newcomer to a really aggressive stretch of Fifth Avenue. Mis Amigos, which opened in June of 2008 within the mini-mall house previously occupied by Los Gallos No. 2, is your normal neighborhood taqueria, with a primary tacos/tortas/burritos/quesedillas lineup. Asada, birria and lengua tacos have been all performed proper. No salsa bar, sadly. Between the eyeball-sizzling paint job and the eardrum-shredding jukebox, you are assured a wide-awake dine-in expertise. No culinary dwelling runs up to now, however far superior to Arteaga’s subsequent door — and a very good different to Grullense No. 3 and La Casita Chilanga No. 3 when you do not want to eat standing up.

No. 28
Taqueria Gonzalez

3194 Middlefield Rd.
I had excessive expectations for Taqueria Gonzalez, primarily based on Internet intelligence that reported nice birria, asada and actually severe scorching sauce. It is a birria specialist — and the one memorable factor about my go to was the little Styrofoam cup of broth that accompanied the $2 birria tacos. Good touches: The tortillas are made on the spot. And a to-go order comes with onions, limes and cilantro in a Ziploc baggie. Plus three salsas — tomatillo, pink and chile oil. Sadly, the birria was shredded and pureed to a consistency approaching paste. Given the variety of excellent locations inside a block, it would be arduous to advocate Gonzalez.

See Also

No. 29
Mi Pueblito

3225 Middlefield Rd.
Mi Pueblito is a taqueria related internally to the La Esperanza Market, though it has its personal separate entrance. It sports activities an enticing eating room and the default normal tacos/burritos/tortas/huge plates menu, plus 10 types of pupusas. Keep away from the asada. This was not a memorable meal.

No. 30
Tacos El Grullense E&E

2401 Middlefield Rd.
It is a bare-bones primary taqueria menu, with a eating space that has all of the allure of a Third World bus station. Pollo, pastor, asada and lengua have been the one fillings I famous for the $1.15 tacos. Uncommonly greasy tortillas and no salsa bar are two causes to rank “Enrique and Esther’s” operations because the poor relations within the prolonged Grullense household.

No. 31
Chela’s Carniceria

1714 El Camino Actual
Chela’s is primarily a butcher store, and seemingly a birria specialist. (You may get a Styrofoam cup of broth to accompany the birria tacos.) There isn’t a menu per se. And no salsa bar. The eating space, with its folding tables and chairs could possibly be a church basement, have been it not for the gorgeous, bucolic mural that fills one wall. Keep away from the chile-oil primarily based pink salsa.

No. 32
Tacos El Grullense E&E

999 El Camino Actual
Like the opposite “Enrique & Esther” Grullense, that is the fundamental stuff, served up primarily for the children at Sequoia Excessive throughout the road. You would do take-out right here, however your higher choices are to both go a protracted block south on El Camino to “Outdated Grullense” or a block north to La Casita Chilanga No. 2.

No. 33
Rosita’s Taco Cease

1515 Woodside Rd.
The one outstanding factor about this in any other case undistinguished store: A shocking salsa bar with not less than eight types of contemporary salsa and lots of different extras. They do a good lengua taco. Skip the desiccated asada. There are severe development and proportion issues with the burritos.

No. 34
La Estrellita

2205 Middlefield Rd.
The eating room is just a little cheerier lately, however there’s nonetheless nothing particular about this combo mercado anchoring the north finish of the Middlefield strip. The $1 tacos are nonetheless ho-hum, with a restricted collection of asada, “spicy beef”, pollo, chile verde and chile colorado. The asada was respectable. The “spicy beef” was a fatty stew reduce. On the plus aspect, they make the tortillas contemporary to order. No salsa bar.

No. 35

3207 Oak Knoll Dr.
Sancho’s is persistently mediocre at finest. So why has it loved such glowing opinions? Some individuals need their fish tacos and veggie burritos with out having to cross El Camino. I believe 90 p.c of the parents who rave about Sancho’s have by no means ventured into an actual Little Michoacan taqueria. Sancho’s thrives as a result of it is many miles from any competitors.

No. 36
Bravo Taqueria

980 Woodside Rd.
So-called “wholesome Mexican” is just not essentially yummy Mexican. If a no-lard coverage and choices reminiscent of entire wheat or spinach tortillas flip your crank, that is your house. There are a restricted collection of $1.25 tacos — steak, shredded beef, fried pork, roast pork and rooster. The desebrado — shredded beef — is the one one I might order once more. The new salsa is simply straight habanero warmth. With Grullense a pair blocks down the highway, there is no cause to return.

No. 37
Vega’s Market and Grill

2585 Middlefield Rd.
Now this is an old style combo mercado. Full-on rustic funkiness. You’d want a coal-miner’s lamp to light up the far again corners of this little gem. Vega’s has most likely been the nook hold for 40 years or extra. The taco menu is the usual lineup, with surprisingly good birria on the weekends. Given the extraordinary competitors on Middlefield Street, this isn’t a vacation spot taqueria. It seems to remain alive promoting beer, cigarettes and different comfort gadgets to individuals on the block. You may as well discover a respectable collection of fascinating baseball caps and evangelical literature.

No. 38
Black Bean Delicacies

847 Foremost St.
Regardless of the deceptively gringo-fied title, this sleepy (learn: normally abandoned) downtown store occupies its personal idiosyncratic area of interest as the town’s Oaxacan delicacies specialist. Fried grasshoppers as a substitute of chips? No. However there are a half-dozen supposedly “regional” plates. (Carne asada enchiladas and chiles rellenos are regional?) Past that, you will discover a fairly normal taco/burrito/torta/quesadilla lineup, with notable veggie choices in every class. On the taco entrance, it is fairly dismal. This can be the one place on the town that serves entire beans as a default choice on their common tacos. Even with the orange pasilla salsa that comes on the aspect, the top result’s bland and starchy.

No. 39
Taqueria El Tulense

2391 Spring St.
A sleepy neighborhood store a couple of clicks off the primary drag. Along with the $1.25 tacos and $4.50 burritos, be aware of the weekly specials on the sandwich board exterior the entrance door and the numerous specials on the whiteboard inside. I did not notice any memorable tastes right here. No salsa bar. Regardless of my emphatic request for pink sauce, the tacos got here bare.

No. 40
Mi Rancho Market

137 Roosevelt Ave.
Mi Rancho is a giant, enticing full-service grocery store stuffed with all method of fascinating impulse buys — goat on the meat counter, an important collection of spices and condiments, and so on. It is a nice location from which to serve individuals who reside west of El Camino. Essentially the most compelling cause to take a look at Mi Rancho: 5 regional specialty plates overlaying the DF, Jalisco, Yucatan, Sinaloa and Michoacan. The Michoacan plate ($6) is morisqueta, a rice dish with onion, chorizo and tomatoes. There are 12 of the usual plates on the menu plus three caldos. Three of their $1.75 tacos would make a hefty lunch. So what’s to not like? Mi Rancho completely failed the fundamental “yum” take a look at. The tacos merely weren’t excellent on any stage. The tortillas, affected by not sufficient manteca, have been dry, mealy and falling aside.

No. 41
Arteaga’s Starlite Grocery store

812 Fifth Ave.
This very massive combo mercado — a part of a seven-store statewide chain — is way funkier than Chavez or Mi Rancho. It is a high quality place to buy every part from costume jewellery to $10 sombreros. The $1.25 tacos have been on tortillas that immediately fell aside. You may discover a restricted collection of the usual fillings. Though you would eat in right here in a pinch, the seven stools and two tables subsequent to the butcher counter usually are not a very enticing choice. No salsa bar.

No. 42
Mi Rancho

2505 Middlefield Rd.
Tacos usually are not the sturdy go well with at this store that options ice cream by the news, shakes, $6 sub sandwiches, hamburgers and lots of Nicaraguan platters. Keep away from the asada, a minced product which will have been meat in a earlier incarnation. No salsa bar. No birria. No cause to return.

No. 43
Los Gallos

3726 Florence St.
These are satisfactory tacos, however make sure to get them bare. The home pink salsa is a nasty oil-based concoction. This store is on the intense southeast fringe of Redwood Metropolis, proper on the border with Menlo Park correct and there could be a gritty vibe within the car parking zone, i.e.: individuals strolling as much as your automotive window attempting to hawk shoplifted items.

No. 44
Karlita’s Taco Place

512 Woodside Rd.
There isn’t any justification for Karlita’s normal four-inch, ho-hum tacos being $2. The new sauce is brilliant orange, straight warmth. Carne asada is about as appetizing as a fistful of bacon bits. No salsa bar. A lot better high quality and worth are two blocks up Woodside at Grullense Grill.

No. 45
Frida Cocina Mejicana

820 Veterans Blvd.
That is the taco store that taste forgot. Bland, bland, bland. The $2.25 tacos have been completely forgettable. Your solely filling selections: asada, pollo, carnitas or pastor. The salsa was so weak it may need come out of a Tempo jar.

No. 46
Naranjo’s Taqueria

2647 Broadway
There’s nothing charming and even remotely enticing about this gap within the wall. With uncomfortable seating for possibly 10 individuals, to-go is the one choice. The lengua and barbacoa have been each overstewed to the purpose they have been nearly disintegrating. No salsa bar.

No. 47
El Jarachito

3264 Middlefield Rd.
Nothing to advocate right here. Fatty lengua and desiccated asada have been the memorable gadgets. With a lot competitors on this hottest of blocks, there is no cause to provide this place a re-examination.

No. 48
Elizabeth Restaurant

2855 Middlefield Rd.
The $1.25 carne asada and lengua tacos have been sufficient to persuade me I did not want a return go to to Elizabeth. No have to attempt the pupusas and different Salvadoran fare. A wholly empty eating room needs to be a tip-off. No salsa bar.

No. 49
La Fiesta

314 Arguello St.
On a lifeless Sunday afternoon with solely 4 different patrons within the small store, I used to be conspicuously ignored for an unconscionably very long time. In line with earlier Internet opinions, I am not the primary particular person to be given the invisible man remedy right here. After 10 minutes, I lastly gave up any hope of being served and walked out. With Chavez and La Casita Chilanga each a block and a half away, there is no cause to tolerate such remedy.

El Taquistador provides a giant tip of the sombrero to contributor Kim “Jinx” N. who did such yeoman work scouting out many of those locations in 2007.


El Taquistador pays for all his personal meals.
El Taquistador receives no compensation.
El Taquistador opinions anonymously.



The statements above are not allegations of truth however expressions of opinion from one one that eats an terrible lot of tacos.

Copyright 2008, David Plotnikoff. All rights reserved. No textual content or picture could also be reproduced with out permission.

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