Taquerias and barbecue

All the Mexican food news you can use, plus some barbecue haps in Oroville and Biggs

Every so often, the planets align and I end up with a whole lot of news related to the same topic to share. This week: food! Three items are even in the same genre, Mexican, so let’s start there.

In Chico this past week, two new Mexican eateries opened. A big fan of tacos in particular but really all things piled high—or wrapped up tight—with flavorful meats, sauces and cheese, this makes me happy indeed. The first: La Perla Taqueria Mexican Grill, which opened in the old Enjoy Teriyaki space (previously a Taco Bell) across Broadway from the City Plaza. I haven’t been in yet, but the online photos look inviting—I’m especially excited about the expansive salsa bar.

On Monday (Sept. 17), down Park Avenue, Taqueria Martinez opened its window to customers. The woman who took my order told me that it’s being operated by the original Tacos Cortez family, which sold that name to renters who recently closed it. They also run Cocina Cortes on Dayton Road. They were having a half-off special, so I ordered a few different flavors of tacos, all of them the same quality I’ve come to trust from Cocina Cortes. Friendly service and lots of flavor!

In Oroville, Bulldog Taqueria—which had two locations in Chico that sadly closed—is making some changes. Both the original taco stand and the Esmeralda Market in which it was housed are now closed. The market was just too much, one employee told me. But fans need not fear: the drive-thru Bulldog Express is still open at 2161 Feather River Blvd. And I’ve been assured that there are plans to relocate the original. Rumor has it it may be heading to Montgomery Street. Stay tuned.

Southern-style During a recent visit to Biggs, I had to check out the new barbecue joint, Big Mama’s #1 BBQ. I’m a huge fan of ribs—if you haven’t tried the ones at Ike’s Smokehouse or Uncle Skinny’s BBQ in Chico, go now—and Big Mama’s followed through on its name. My rib plate was huge!

But there’s more to the story than I realized. Melvin and Diane Strong launched the Biggs spot after separating from Oroville’s Big Mama’s BBQ Place (1835 Oro Dam Blvd. E.). So, the two are not affiliated. Just this month, the Oroville restaurant added some Cajun delicacies to its traditional Southern-style menu, including jambalaya and crawfish étouffée. Gumbo will be coming in October. Yum!

Bring the wings Just in time for football season (and after being named the “official pizza of the San Francisco 49ers”), Mountain Mike’s Pizza is now offering oven-roasted bone-in wings in a variety of sauces—three of them use Frank’s RedHot sauce, so beware the spice!

Bootylicious As many a Facebooker has noted, the menu sign at Bottoms Up Espresso, the coffee stand at East First and Mangrove avenues that promises bikini-clad baristas, has gone up. No word on when opening day will be, but they’re inching forward. You ready for this jelly?