Sunday, November 22, 2009

El Novillero

The Location: El Novillero. 4216 Franklin Blvd, Sacramento

The Taco: #23, Carnitas Taco Dinner

The Price: $11.95 for two tacos plus rice & beans

The Verdict: El Novillero celebrated its 40th year of operation this year, and as I've said before, any business that manages to survive that long must have something going for it. They have racked up three "Best Mexican Restaurant" awards from KCRA, not to mention being specifically recommended to us by an acquaintance as "the best mexican food in Sacramento", so we made our first visit expecting greatness. The restaurant itself has enough charm to go around and inside you could just as easily imagine yourself in Mexico as Sacramento.

I ordered the carnitas taco plate which came with two well-stuffed tacos and a healthy portion of rice and beans on the side. The tacos were filled with plenty of meat, a generous layer of guacamole and topped with some lettuce, cheese and sauce. The meat was juicy and flavorful and had just the right amount of chewiness. I found the sides to be acceptable, but not great. The beans were tasty but a little dry. The rice had a pronounced tomato flavor that I didn't find overly objectionable, but I would have enjoyed a more subtle flavor.

Overall, this is a taco blog and I did enjoy the tacos. By the stated criteria, this was a delicious well-prepared taco that I would recommend to friends. Maybe we encountered a fluke but the side dishes, would not earn as much of a recommendation.

The Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

El Novillero on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

La Fiesta Taqueria

The Location: La Fiesta Taqueria, Sacramento

The Taco: Plato de Carnitas

The Price: $9.80

The Verdict: La Fiesta Taqueria is a Sacramento Mid-town lunch time favorite! When I stopped in today at noon the line was out the door. This line continued my entire half hour in the restaurant. This also meant lines for chips and salsa, which are self serve bars whether the food is for there or to go. The salsa bar is diverse with blended salsas to chunky pico de gallo and slices of lime.

Not knowing what I was getting myself into, I opted for the Carnitas plate. I got exactly that. A plate with a very generous portion of Carnitas meat, rice, guacamole, sour cream, a little bit of ice berg lettuce topped with a gigantic slice of tomato. It comes with beans as well, but I chose double rice instead. I received 4 tortillas in a separate tortilla warmer. I had a choice of corn or flour and I chose flour.

Next, I got building! I built a gorgeous soft taco. The carnitas were scrumptious. They were soft and juicy but crispy in spots on the outside, practically perfect. I topped my taco with all sorts of goodies from my plate and then... I got full. I had to bring half my plate home with me.

Note that La Fiesta Taqueria does not take credit cards and they charge 50¢ in ATM fees. My plate combo did not come with a drink so after I ordered my drink and paid my ATM fee the total for my lunch was $13.34. The portion size was most definitely dinner worthy.

The Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)

La Fiesta Taqueria on Urbanspoon