Dali’s Kitchen1948 Sutterville Rd.
Sacramento, CA 95822
Every Sunday in the ’90s was dedicated to cruising Franklin Boulevard. We’d pack into my Nino’s 1978 Cadillac with the S.O.S Band’s song “Just Be Good To Me” pouring out the convertible. We’d cruise through William Land Park and end up at Miller Park.
To stave off my gordita hunger, we’d almost always make a corn dog pit stop at Ford’s Real Hamburgers, a classic little diner with outdoor-only seating on Sutterville Road. Unfortunately, Ford’s closed after 25 years in business, but in 2017, the Magallons moved in.
Dali’s Kitchen, a family-run Mexican restaurant, now occupies the space and is owned by Dali Magallon with her daughter Melina Magallon as manager. Dali is from Jalisco, but her menu is more diverse. While there are the greatest hits: Enchiladas Verdes ($10.95), Quesadillas ($10.95) and Street Tacos ($2.65), Dali’s also lists some special items on its menu.
Tacos Dorados de Papa ($10.95) are deep-fried crunchy shells stuffed with chunks of potato and topped with shredded lettuce, queso fresco, sour cream and red salsa (which I ignored). The real beauty is its bright salsa verde.
Vampiros ($3.25), are found at very few taquerias—although I’ve ordered them off-menu at most taco trucks—but they are glorious. Cheese is fried on the flattop until it dances and turns crispy, a tortilla is placed on the cheese to adhere and the proteins are tucked into the cheese blanket nice and calentita (warm). It’s finished with all the staple condiments found at taquerias (cilantro, diced onions, limes, chiles). If done right, they are crunchy, cheesy and hefty.
I decided to switch it up and make a combination that’s not commonly served together at taquerias, but is frequently found at the street vendors in the neighborhood. Dali’s cashier looked baffled by my request of carne asada and shrimp, but once I said they could charge me extra ($3), all doubts disappeared. Soon, plump shrimp appeared on top of finely chopped carne asada stacked on top of a layer of griddled cheese, on top of two corn tortillas complete with onions, cilantro and Dali’s zippy salsa verde. It was the stuff of dreams.
But, another dish caught me completely off guard: a simple Carne Asada plato ($14.95). Thinly sliced beef seasoned simply with salt, pepper and oregano was astonishingly tender. It’s served with grilled onions, a generous side of Spanish rice and creamy refried beans, garnished with queso fresco and a welcome side of hot tortillas stored in a plastic warmer.
Inside Dali’s, there are roughly 10 indoor tables and the outdoor patio has a scenic view of Land Park. But it also faces busy Sutterville Road, which means diners are on the receiving end of a lot of car exhaust. And even when you get there early, don’t be surprised if the micro parking lot is already full. The only real criticism I have is: I don’t care for the winged-shaped plates. It’s an attempt to be contemporary when it’s not necessary.
All in all, after chilling in the park waiting for the sun to go down, you can brunch with all the homies on the patio at Dali’s on a warm, Sunday afternoon. Have some cold cervezas, complimentary chips and salsa verde, a few Vampiros and people watch to your heart’s content.