Cinco de Mayo special


Don Vicente Aguilar, a.k.a. ”Paisano,” began his culinary career selling corn and tamales on the streets of Sacramento in 1990. Seven years ago, he opened his restaurant El Paisano to serve traditional Mexican food in Michoacán and Guanajuato style. Located at 3900 Fruitridge Road, El Paisano is constructed with fiberglass siding (which helps to make it feel more authentic) and offers an extensive menu. Don Vicente invites everyone to try his food. He says, ”If you want to feel strong and wholesome, come to eat traditional dishes with El Paisano!”

What is the dish Americans like the most?

Well, the Americans that come here, they like the corn, tamales, enchiladas and other traditional Mexican dishes. Actually, they like my food a lot because it is like being in Mexico. There are a lot of Americans that go to Mexico on vacation, and they get to try food down there that they can also find here with Vicente “El Paisano.”

What is the most popular meal for the Latino community?

I would say that there is not a specific meal. Latinos like everything, if it is a Mexican meal, until even the Americans say, “I want to try.” For instance, pozole and menudo, [which] are made only on the weekends.

What do you think of the way that Americans celebrate on Cinco de Mayo, since in Mexico it is not a big celebration?

Well, these days the American and the Hispanic are mixed together. Nowadays the American speaks Spanish and vice versa.

Do you celebrate Cinco de Mayo at El Paisano?

On Cinco de Mayo a caravan of charros [horsemen] go down Franklin Boulevard and I advertise my restaurant there. The menu does not change, it is the same for that day, but for Mothers Day, May 10, we give away free food for the moms that visit us. We have mariachis and we give away a carnation to each mother.

How does the cooking differ here from what would be in Mexico?

Well, the difference is only in the palate. The Mexican people know their food. My recipes are from Mexico. I brought them here to my restaurant because I noticed that the Latino population liked my food, so I continued like guitarist players do, adapting another string, another sound, giving flavor to my food.

What meal do you recommend for a hangover?

For a bad hangover, I recommend the pozole. It is a little spicy. I mean spicy enough to make you feel happy.

Why do Americans eat so many chips before their meal arrives?

What happens is that chips are an aperitif that helps increase their appetite before receiving their food, and also helps to keep them from getting angry and thinking that their food is taking too long. This way they are happy and they continue to come. We have to serve them well, in the Mexican style.

What is the most authentic meal in your menu?

Well, all the dishes. I sell tongue tacos, fish tacos, carnitas tacos, uchepos, chicken tamales, corn and pork, etc.

What do you dislike about Mexican-American food?

Honestly, I cannot give you an answer because here I sell a little bit of everything. I make stuff that the Hispanic likes as much as the American.

In your opinion, what is the worst Mexican-American food?

The truth is that there is nothing that I can say. There are always imitations. I’m always trying to make my meals 100% Mexican and deliver that flavor so that people continue to come. Here we cook with quality. It takes a little time, but it is well served.

Have you ever eaten at Taco Bell? What did you think?

Oh yeah! They tried to copy me and it didn’t work. They wanted to make the same food that I sell. You need a lot of talent, patience and know-how to give a good flavor to your food. Over there, it is fast food and here we take more time, but it is very well made.