Saturday, June 27, 2009

El Forastero

The Location: El Forastero, 8027 Greenback Ln, Citrus Heights

The Taco: Carne Asada Taco Combo

The Price: $8 (or slightly more or less depending on choice of meat)

The Verdict: If nothing else, this restaurant wins big points for value for money. For $8 I got two of the biggest tacos I've ever seen, stuffed to overflowing with carne, chunky salsa and fresh guacamole as well as a huge portion of rice and beans. I usually have a pretty big appetite, and two tacos are rarely enough to fill me up, but after two of these bad boys there was no way I could plow through all the beans and rice on the side as well. Seriously, I've had smaller burritos!

The tacos were made and brought out to my table within what seemed like no more than a minute, and they were steaming hot - enough that I couldn't pick them up right away. There's no doubt that these were freshly prepared. The salsa, while a little chunky for my preference, was excellent as was the guacamole and they made up a very simple but tasty 3-ingredient taco. Free chips and salsa, if you have the appetite for it, are also available.

This restaurant is in a former Jimboy's location across from the Sunrise Mall, and is a nice upgrade from that previous occupant.

The Rating: ★★★★ ½ (out of 5)

El Forastero on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Todo Un Poco

The Location: Todo Un Poco in Elk Grove

The Taco: 3 Tacos with Rice and Beans

The Price: $10.95

The Verdict: I can't believe we've lived in Elk Grove for three years and this was our first trip to this little gem! This restaurant offers a variety of food choices including soups, sandwiches, Italian fare, as well as Mexican foods. Don't be fooled by the variety thinking they don't know what they're doing in that little cocina, because they do!

I ordered 3 hard shell carnitas tacos with no cheese and no beans. The tacos were crunchy and full of exquisitely cooked shredded, but chunky pork, topped with fresh shredded cabbage and two types of salsa. The green salsa was sweet and the red salsa was spicy, a perfect combination. In addition to the side of rice, I was surprised to find a miniature spinach salad topped with yellow corn and red salsa on my plate as well. The combination worked rather well. I had a few bites of the rice and enjoyed it, but I was there to eat tacos and by the end of the third taco I simply didn't have room for the rice.

Bonus tip, Todo Un Poco had a coupon in the 2009 Entertainment book so we received $10 off our order with the buy one get one free coupon.

The Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

Todo Un Poco on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 5, 2009

Chipotle Mexican Grill

The Location: Chipotle, Elk Grove, CA

The Taco: Barbacoa soft taco

The Price: About $6.50 for three.

The Verdict: Unless you've been living under a rock you have no doubt come across the Chipotle chain. They offer assembly-line tacos and burritos in a faux modern brushed metal dining room. I typically categorize Chipotle as "Mexican-style" more than it is traditional Mexican, as the choices are clearly catered to the big-appetites and americanized tastes of the US consumer. On the other hand, there is something to be said for the assembly-line method: you can customize your meal exactly the way you like. Chipotle has even tapped into that theme with its most recent round of advertising. I ordered my tacos with hot salsa, corn salsa, cheese, lettuce and barbacoa meat.

The tacos managed to hold their shape pretty well despite the to go order. The hot salsa has a good kick to it which made them plenty spicy and each of the ingredients were well proportioned. The meat itself was tasty, but I found it a little salty. It may be just the combination of spices they use or maybe I got a bad batch, but it overwhelmed the other flavors in my opinion. Otherwise these were pretty typical chain-store fare, nothing spectacular but certainly edible and freshly prepared.

The Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

Chipotle Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon