Wednesday, November 2, 2011


The Location: Jalapeños, 1413 21st Street Sacramento, CA  

The Taco: "Tacos Special" 2 crispy carnitas tacos with lettuce cheese and sour cream served on a plate with beans and rice.

The Price: $6.95

The Verdict: The menu clearly states no substitutions, however, I was able to order my carnitas just the way I like them. Carnitas on a crispy shell with lettuce on top.  I seemed to have received a double portion of rice, since I asked for no beans, which was alright by me. The rice was pretty typical of what you'll find at most taquerias, fairly dry fluffy orange rice with nothing special added to it. Specifically, just the way I like my taqueria rice.

The staff was extremely friendly and the gentleman that took our order also brought us our food. He even noticed we hadn't helped ourselves to the silverware so he brought us forks and knives even though our table was just behind the self serve station.

Upon first impression, the tacos looked small, but it was late, I was hungry and I had a long night ahead of me. In the end they did fill me up, but I was not stuffed. The taco shells were perfectly formed so you could get a clean crisp bite every time. The carnitas meat was fried really well. Crispy edges, juicy meat in the middle. I did have one bite in one of my tacos that seemed overly fatty, but we'll just chalk that up to them being carnitas after all.

Now, I've said it before, and I'll say it again. Salsa can make or break a taco restaurant review. I noticed when we walked into the small establishment with just about 7 tables there was no salsa bar. Each meal came with one tiny cup of really thin red salsa, not a lump of tomato or jalepeño to be found.  The salsa was so thin, it didn't seem to have much flavor at all, on top of that, it was relatively spice-less. It's no wonder they keep Tapatío on every table.

I marked deductions for the salsa (or lack there of) and the less than perfect carnitas meat.

 The Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

Jalapeno's on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Taqueria Garibaldi

The Location: Taqueria Garibaldi, 1841 Howe Ave, Sacramento.

The Taco: Crispy taco. Chicken, carnitas.

The Price: $3.10/each à la carte

The Verdict: When I drove by this restaurant with a vaguely Italian name I thought maybe I had stumbled upon some kind of cosmic Italian-Mexican mashup. Carnitas ravioli? Fettucine al pastor? Sadly it was not to be. (Note to the internet: please work on this).

Instead I found a typical taqueria with the usual burritos, enchiladas, and, yes, tacos. I opted for two of the crispy tacos - one with carnitas and one shredded chicken. Each one was loaded up with sour cream, guacamole, salsa cheese and meat. Speaking of meats, they offer at least eight different choices on the menu as well as four different types of tacos (regular, super, crispy & vegetarian); a return visit would definitely be required in order to sample every possible combination.

As for the tacos themselves, I found the shredded chicken to be pretty bland. The carnitas was chewy and had a hint of crisp on the outside, just about right — but it suffered from being a bit too fatty. Fat is flavor, but there can be a fine line between flavorful and over-fatty. The crispy shells were obviously freshly prepared and were not too greasy, a plus. For my taste the tacos were too heavy on the sour cream and not heavy enough on the guacamole but that may be a personal preference. Overall, I found these to be average – definitely an edible meal but one that could have been much more enjoyable with a few tweaks.

The Rating: ★★★ (out of 5)

Taqueria Garibaldi on Urbanspoon

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sacramento Mobile Food Festival

The Location: 1st Annual Sacramento Mobile Food Festival. Fremont Park.

The Taco: Chando's Tacos & Tacos La Piedad.

The Price: $2/each (Chando's), $1.50/each (La Piedad)

The Verdict: After a long hiatus from writing reviews we ventured out, along with most of the rest of Sacramento, to the 1st Annual Mobile Food Festival in Fremont Park at 16th & Q. The local news stations are reporting that there were close to 10,000 attendees and I can believe it.

We waited about 25 minutes at our first truck stop - Tacos La Piedad, usually found in the vicinity of Northgate and Peralta Ave in Natomas. We sampled the carnitas tacos here which came loaded up with meat, caramelized onion and serve-yourself helpings of salsa, cilantro and lime wedges. The carnitas had a good juicy flavor with just a hint of chewy crunch and the chunks of caramelized onion were a nice touch that added a kick of sweetness. A delicious bargain at $1.50 each.

By the time we hit our next stop at Chando's the festival lines had swelled to immense proportions. I dug in and waited out an almost 2 hour line to sample both the chicken and carne asada tacos at this truck. Chando's restaurant location on Arden Way has been receiving rave reviews so I went in with high hopes. By the end of the line two hours later I probably would have eaten anything put in front of me, but Chando didn't disappoint as both the chicken and steak tacos were excellent with a good spice kick from the generous amount of salsa splashed on top. I look forward to trying their restaurant location soon.

Overall we were very satisfied with the food at the Festival, hopefully the organizers can find a way to control the lines next time (perhaps Sacramento needs a monthly or even weekly food truck event?) because waiting up to two hours for a taco is a little extreme, no matter how good they are.

The Rating: Food - ★★★★ (out of 5). Wait time - ★

Tacos La Piedad:
Tacos la Piedad No 2 on Urbanspoon

Chando's Tacos on Urbanspoon