Felix and Rebecca Jimenez are living their dream with this 65-seat eatery offering hearty plates and a family friendly environment. Rebecca has been a cook for over 20 years and worked at places like the Peppermill, but these are her recipes and for the past year, her family has been serving up breakfast ($4.49-$5.99), lunch and dinner ($4.49-$10) six days a week.
Taquerias tend to be fast food style places with limited ambiance, but often with great food. The menu includes burritos and soft tacos with a choice of half a dozen meats. Dinners include platters with meats like carne asada (thin grilled steak), various shrimp dishes, chicken and pescado frito (fried cod) for fish tacos. Soups include pozole, menudo ($6.99) and birria ($9.99), a Mexican stew with meat and chilies, giving a nice spicy lift, on weekends.
Originally, the term “taqueria” was used to refer to street vendors, although the term has come to be used more generally to refer to any sort of establishment which serves authentic, homemade Mexican food, and that’s the case at this casa de comida.
First up was a duritos con cueritos ($3.99), a type of appetizer. It was a spicy fried pork rind that was light and crispy. Atop it was shredded cabbage, house-made pico de gallo—also called salsa fresca, is a fresh, uncooked salad made from chopped tomato, white onion, and jalapeños—tossed with sour cream with sliced avocado as a crown. Great summer dish with flavors galore. The fresh veggies are accented by the pepper, the sour cream pulls everything together and the toasty pork skin adds a savory flavor and crispy texture.
There are burritos, and then there are California burritos ($6.49). It’s basically meat and potatoes stuffed into a flour tortilla. The beast-of-a-thing involves carne asada, French fries, a bunch of Tex Mex cheese, salsa fresca, beans and, of course, sour cream. The Cali burrito is a San Diego phenomenon thanks to gringos with a beach culture, because when you’re starving after three hours in the ocean, which would you rather have: some meaty stew with corn tortillas, or a handheld half-pound of beef and potatoes that you can pour hot sauce all over? The California burrito has a special place in the San Diego subgroup of Mexican food culture just like the fish taco does. Maybe it’s not South-of-the-border-authentic, but it’s delicious and makes sense in flip flop-wearin’ San Diego, but Reno? Felix says it’s not on the menu but asked for every day, and they’ll make them as long as people ask for them.
I will always go for a chile relleno ($6.99), and I’m a snob when it comes to those tasty pods with queso. Made with a pasillia chile, or chilaca, it is a mild to medium-hot, rich-flavored, typically 6 to 8 inches long and 1 to 1 and one-half inches in diameter. It turns from dark green to dark brown when mature.
This was lightly breaded and fried and was filled with queso fresco (a creamy, soft, and mild un-aged white cheese). It was covered in a mild, savory green sauce made with tomatillos (green tomatoes) that brought all the flavors to my palate: earthy chile, creamy, light acid from the cheese, savory, hearty, and a hint of green tomato after-taste.
The combination plates ($4.49-$9.99) come with rice and beans. They offer shrimp and octopus cocktail ($10), fish tacos, and burgers and hot sandwiches ($5-$7.50). There are bottled beers ($3) covering all the major Mexican cerveza and four domestic brews. They also offer a full catering service.
This place is a scratch kitchen. All items are prepared daily with fresh ingredients serving up artful Mexican-with-a-twist fare. This simple eatery has mouth-watering flavors, colorful fixings and zesty aromas orchestrating a muy bueno eating experience.