Posts Tagged ‘Tacos’

Sausalito and Salsalito Taco Shop

Friday, November 28th, 2014 by virginia

After leaving Healdsburg in the early afternoon to head back towards San Francisco for our red eye flight back home, we thought about stopping at Muir Woods to see some redwoods but were deterred when signs along the highway indicated that all of the parking lots there were full. Instead, we decided to check out Sausalito, which is just outside SF across the Golden Gate Bridge.

Sausalito is a beautiful town right on the water. We parked near the Yacht Club, not realizing that the main part of town where all the shops and restaurants are was much further down the street. It was a gorgeous day out though, so the walk was quite nice. After looking at the boats in the harbor and making our way to the main part of town where there are sweeping views of SF, we met up with some of our friends in search of a late lunch.

Boats by the Sausalito Yacht Club

Boats in the harbor

Seagull admiring the view of SF in the background

Seagull admiring the view of SF in the background

The options along the water near the main part of town all seemed a bit too upscale for what we were looking for, so we headed back towards the Yacht Club where we had passed a cute and vibrant-looking taco shop on our walk into town. There was a bit of a wait for a table but the tacos looked too tempting to pass up.


When we finally scored a table on the patio in front, we quickly ordered a basket of housemade chips, which came with two salsas. While we were a bit surprised to see that they charged for chips and salsa, since most places we go to give you those for free, the chips arrived on our table freshly fried, piping hot, and perfectly crispy. The salsas were a tangy verde version, and a more smoky and spicy red version.

Freshly fried tortilla chips

Freshly fried tortilla chips

Red and green salsa

Red and green salsa

Most of us wound up ordering a few tacos a la carte. Josh and I both got a fried fish and a fried shrimp taco each, and then split a pork and a steak taco. Both the fish and shrimp tacos were “baja style”, meaning they were battered and fried, and topped with shredded cabbage and pico de gallo. There was crema on the table that we added on as well. Both were fried perfectly and were nicely crispy, though the flavor of the fish got a bit lost underneath all the toppings. The shrimp were more prominent, and my favorite of the two.

Taco de pescado

Taco de pescado

Taco de camaron

Taco de camaron

The steak taco featured marinated steak sauteed with caramelized onions and topped with cilantro. The steak was relatively tender but lacking in seasoning and flavor. We wound up using a lot of salsa to punch it up a bit, though I liked the freshness brought by all of the cilantro on top.

Taco de carne asada

Taco de carne asada

The pork taco was the most flavorful of the bunch, with shredded pork simmered in achiote and topped with pickled red onions and cilantro. The sauce was a bit smoky and complex, while the pickled onions added some acid and crunch to the taco.

Taco de cochinita

Taco de cochinita

Overall we were pretty happy with our taco lunch at Salsalito Taco Shop. We don’t have much by the way of good, authentic-tasting tacos (ie., not chain restaurant tacos) in our neck of NJ, and so I enjoyed these a lot. The pork and the shrimp were standouts from the ones we tried. I did wish that they doubled up on the tortillas though, as these were quite delicate and tended to fall apart halfway through the taco. In addition to having to pay for chips and salsa, the tacos were a bit on the pricey side (about $4 each). They’re not the hugest tacos but the amount of filling was decent, and you’re probably paying for the real estate as well, since Sausalito really is a very pretty town with nice views. It made for a nice, quick lunch, and we enjoyed relaxing on the patio and doing a little people watching.

Salsalito Taco Shop
1115 Bridgeway
Sausalito, CA

After leaving Sausalito, we made a quick stop to take some pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge. Unlike the day we arrived, when everything was whited out from fog, this day couldn’t have been any clearer. The views from a hilltop scenic point were just stunning.

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Gorgeous views from the top of the hill

Gorgeous views from the top of the hill

And, of course, I couldn’t leave the west coast without hitting up a certain burger destination. ‘Nuff said. All in all, a great trip with lots of good food and quality time with friends.

Taco Tex and El Milagrito Cafe – San Antonio

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014 by virginia

After eating some very good puffy tacos at Henry’s, we continued our taco crawl with a stops at Taco Tex and El Milagrito Cafe, which I had read were some of the best breakfast taco places in San Antonio. Taco Tex was a very nondescript storefront in a strip mall (I forgot to take picture of the sign), but it was surprisingly crowded given the time of day (it was a little late for breakfast, a little early for lunch on a weekday).

Josh ordered two tacos for us and brought them out to the car where I was waiting with J. The first was a beef fajita al carbon taco, which had lots of big strips of meat, grilled onions, lettuce, tomato, and shredded cheese. I was kind of surprised to see the lettuce, tomato, and cheese, but I guess that was the “Tex” part of the taco? They really didn’t need to be there, and actually detracted from the overall flavor of the taco. The beef was tender and well seasoned, and the grilled onions were the only topping I thought the taco needed. The flour tortilla was soft and had a nice chewiness to it.


Beef fajita al carbon taco from Taco Tex

The pastor taco was our main reason for visiting Taco Tex. It’s seasoned pork marinated with chiles, spices, and pineapple. There was lots of meat piled into the taco, but nothing else, which also surprised me. Usually there is some pineapple mixed in, and maybe some chopped cilantro and onion on top. Nevertheless, the meat itself was had a good char on the outside that gave it a nice texture and lots of flavor. The filling was a little sweet, a little spicy, and definitely woke up our taste buds.


Pastor taco from Taco Tex

Overall, we thought Taco Tex was solid joint with tasty, cheap tacos, but it’s definitely not a can’t-miss destination. If you’re in the area and hungry, it’s a great place to grab a quick, satisfying bite. The flour tortillas were good, and the pastor packed a lot of flavor.


El Milagrito Cafe was our last stop in San Antonio. Since we had an hour and a half drive ahead of us on our way to Austin, we decided to stop in for a full sit-down lunch, having already whet our appetites with the tacos we had eaten earlier. The menu was huge, and as usual, we had a tough time deciding what to order; I wanted to eat pretty much everything listed. J snacked on the complimentary tortilla chips and salsa while we debated our options.

Chips and salsa at El Milagrito

Chips and salsa

We ended up getting one more batch of tacos, mixing up flour and corn tortillas based on our waitress’ recommendations. First we tried the barbacoa, which is beef that is slow cooked under its incredibly tender and falling apart. The flavor of the barbacoa was intense, almost gamey, though the texture was a bit too soft for my taste. It came with chopped cilantro and onion on the side, which we added on top of the taco with a squeeze of lime juice. We ordered this one on a corn tortilla, which was nicely griddled and didn’t have that gritty corn flavor that usually deters me from corn tortillas.

Barbacoa taco from El Milagrito

Barbacoa taco from El Milagrito

We also got al pastor on a corn tortilla, wanting to compare the al pastor here with the one we had just eaten at Taco Tex. The pork here was cut up in bigger pieces, and it seemed saucier, whereas the Taco Tex seasoning was more cooked into the meat. It was milder in flavor, not as sweet or spicy, but also filled to the brim with meat. Again, I was surprised by the lack of pineapple. Maybe that’s just a NYC thing?

Al pastor taco from El Milagrito

Al pastor taco from El Milagrito

An article I had read about El Milagrito said to order the Asada a la Mexicana taco with guacamole on top, so we did. It was grilled steak mixed with diced peppers, onions, and tomatoes (I guess representing the green, white, and red of the Mexican flag). While I liked the creaminess and extra oomph that the guacamole added, the steak itself was on the blander side, but tender. We ordered this taco on a flour tortilla, which was slightly thicker than the corn tortilla but had a nice flavor and a great chew to it.

a la Mexicana taco from El Milagrito

Asada a la Mexicana taco from El Milagrito

We also had to get one last “true” breakfast taco before leaving San Antonio. We went for the Taco Loco, which was chorizo, potato, beans, and eggs on a flour tortilla. It was a ton of filling, a ton of flavor, and something I would happily eat for breakfast every day.

taco from El Milagrito

Taco Loco (with chorizo, beans, potato, and eggs) from El Milagrito

We picked up another chicken fajita taco for J, which she ate half of during lunch, and then finished the rest after we arrived in Austin. She seemed to really enjoy the chicken, which was tender and well seasoned, and she loved the flour tortilla.

Chicken fajita taco from El Milagrito

Chicken fajita taco from El Milagrito

Overall, the tacos from El Milagrito Cafe were among our favorites in San Antonio. They had the best flour tortillas, the fillings were abundant and flavorful, and the overall vibe of the restaurant was great. It’s nothing fancy but it’s bright and clean, service was spot on, and prices were ridiculously cheap. The most expensive tacos we ordered were $2.25 each (the barbacoa and Asada a la Mexicana), with the rest coming in under $2. Pretty much all of the breakfast/lunch plates on the menu were less than $7. If I had the stomach capacity, I would have ordered even more food than we already did. I wish we had a place like this closer to home, and if we’re ever in San Antonio again, I would happily go back.

Taco Tex
15104 San Pedro Ave.
San Antonio, TX

El Milagrito Cafe
521 E Woodlawn Ave.
San Antonio, TX

Puffy Taco Round-Up – San Antonio

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014 by virginia

The puffy taco is a San Antonio specialty that involves a light, flaky, deep fried tortilla as the taco shell. These puffy shells are nothing like the hard, tortilla chip-like taco shells that we’re used to back east. We decided to try out three of the most well-known puffy taco places in San Antonio and see what makes these tacos so special.

First up was Ray’s Drive Inn, which claims to be the home of the original puffy taco. We stopped there for a quick snack after touring all of the beautiful San Antonio missions.


While the outside of the restaurant looks like an old time car hop, you actually order and get your food inside. J was asleep so Josh got our tacos and brought them right outside to the car where we quickly devoured them. We shared a puffy beef taco and a puffy chicken taco.

Puffy tacos from Ray's Drive Inn

Puffy tacos from Ray’s Drive Inn

Our initial thoughts about the puffy shell was that it was surprisingly soft and not as crispy as we would have hoped. It had a strong corn flavor but a slightly gritty texture. Both tacos came topped with chopped iceberg lettuce and tomatoes. The beef filling was slightly spicy and was well seasoned, but the chicken was dry and bland. It could have used some sauce or salsa, though that might have rendered the puffy taco shell even more soggy.

Puffy chicken taco innards

Puffy chicken taco cross section

Overall, we weren’t overly wowed by the puffy tacos at Ray’s Drive Inn, but we continued on our puffy taco crawl at our next destination, La Hacienda de Los Barrios. Our friend James actually recommended it to us, though we had also seen its sister restaurant, Los Barrios, featured on an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay. La Hacienda is a bit off the beaten path, in a somewhat rural area well north of downtown San Antonio. It’s a huge space though, with lots of adjoining rooms and plenty of seating, including outdoor space.


Since we were there for dinner, rather than just a snack, we did end up ordering more items, though of course we had to get the puffy tacos. We went for the same meats as at Ray’s – one beef, one chicken. The tacos were ordered a la carte so each showed up on its own large white plate, which was odd only because the plates were much larger than the tacos. What ended up happening was that each taco had fallen on its side and wound up sitting in a pool of condensation from the heat of its own shell. That rendered half of each taco soggy, which was really a shame because the other half was super puffy and crispy, just what I thought a puffy taco shell should be like. The shell didn’t have as much of a pronounced corn flavor, which I preferred because it didn’t overpower the flavor of the meat.

    Puffy beef taco from La Hacienda de Los Barrios

Puffy beef taco from La Hacienda de Los Barrios

Again, we liked the beef better than the chicken, just because beef tends to have more flavor in general. However, the chicken here was shredded more finely and had more seasoning, which gave it more taste. It was also more moist, and we thoroughly enjoyed both puffy tacos.

Puffy chicken taco from La Hacienda de Los Barrios

Puffy chicken taco from La Hacienda de Los Barrios

We also shared a Rio Grande plate, which included an enchilada verde, a chicken flauta, and a stuffed burrito. The enchilada was filled with chicken and covered in a tangy tomatilla sauce. The stuffed burrito was filled with beef picadillo and topped with melted cheese and ranchero sauce. The chicken flauta was in a crispy shell but on the dry side; it tasted better after dipping into the salsa they gave us with chips at the beginning of our meal. It was a large plate of food, rounded out with rice, beans, and guacamole salad. The enchilada verde was the star of the plate, with its nice and bright sauce.

Rio Grande plate

Rio Grande plate – stuffed burrito, chicken flauta, enchilada verde

We got a carne asada taco a la carte for J, though she was a bigger fan of the complimentary tortilla chips that graced our table. After had her fill of the beef, which is to say, after she took two bites, we shared the remainder, which was filled with strips of tender and well seasoned steak. The taco came with with guacamole, lettuce, and pico de gallo, and the flour tortilla had a nice chewiness to it.

Carne asada taco

Carne asada taco

Overall, we were pretty pleased with the food at La Hacienda de Los Barrios. While the puffy tacos suffered from a slight presentation issue, they were tasty and I could finally see why a puffy taco shell is so appealing. The combination plate that we shared was a huge amount of food and let us try a variety of offerings from the massive menu. Everything we tried was freshly prepared and well seasoned.

Our last puffy taco stop was Henry’s Puffy Tacos. It was actually the first stop of a little taco brunch crawl we did on our last day in San Antonio, but more on that separately, as the other joints didn’t involve puffy tacos.


We ordered our usual beef/chicken combo and ate them immediately in our car outside the restaurant. Josh accidentally added guacamole to the tacos, which was different from our previous puffies, and I admit, the guacamole might have given Henry’s an edge. It added an extra element of flavor and prevented the meat, especially the chicken, from drying out. The beef was also different here – it was grilled strips rather than the ground beef that we got everywhere else. I don’t think Josh specified each time he ordered; he just asked for chicken and beef, and we ate whatever they gave us. But the puffy shell was the real standout at Henry’s. It was light, crispy, and had good flavor that complemented the toppings well.

Chicken and beef puffy tacos from Henry's Puffy Taco

Puffy tacos from Henry’s Puffy Tacos

Overall, Ray’s had the densest puffy taco shell, which made it our least favorite. It was actually a pretty disappointing introduction to puffy tacos for us, and had us questioning what made a puffy taco so special. Fortunately, our next two tries fared much better. Henry’s had the puffiest and lightest shells, which put it at the top of our list, although La Hacienda’s puffy taco wasn’t too far behind. We would happily eat at either place again, and experiment with various fillings. In our experience, the chicken puffy tacos just tend to be drier and more bland. Both the ground beef at La Hacienda and the grilled beef at Henry’s packed a lot of flavor and didn’t get lost inside the shell or underneath all the shredded lettuce. I don’t know why puffy tacos aren’t popular outside of San Antonio, as their light and crispy texture is much better (in my opinion) than the standard hard taco shell. Even if the inside layer of the puffy gets soggy from the toppings, the outside stayed crispier for much longer. It’s definitely something that I want to eat again, and I’ll be on the lookout for it here at home.

Ray’s Drive Inn
822 SW 19th St.

San Antonio, TX

La Hacienda de Los Barrios
18747 Redland Rd.
San Antonio, TX

Henry’s Puffy Tacos
6030 Bandera Rd.
San Antonio, TX

Taco Haven – San Antonio

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014 by virginia


Eating a lot of tacos in San Antonio was our primary focus, and Taco Haven was the first place we tried out. It was recommended to us by our hotel concierge and was also on the list that I had researched prior to our trip. It was brunch time on a Sunday when we arrived so we had to wait a few minutes before we were seated, but the line wasn’t too bad.

We munched on the complimentary basket of chips and salsa while we perused the massive menu. The chips were thicker cut than most so they were a bit hard to bite through, but were still tasty enough with the salsa.

Chips and salsa

Chips and salsa

It was hard for us decide what to order because all of the tacos were calling out to us, but our waitress said that two would be more than enough for each of us. I was a bit surprised by that, given that we can usually take down three or more tacos each, easily. Nevertheless, we each picked two different tacos, and then asked our waitress for a bonus recommendation for a fifth taco that we would split. I also asked her about the menudo, which is a tripe soup that I’ve always wanted to try. She offered to bring me a taste, and brought back a small cup of the savory soup with lots of pieces of tripe. While the soup itself was just ok, the tripe was fabulous – soft and tender, with just the slightest chew.

Menudo (tripe soup)

Menudo (tripe soup)

When our tacos arrived, I understood why our waitress said two would be enough. They were massive! But the tortillas were also incredibly bready, which came as a huge shock to us. They looked homemade but were nothing like the thin, chewy flour tortillas that I devoured at Lupe Tortilla. These were thick and doughy, more like a thin, dry pita bread, and didn’t even remotely resemble any tortilla we’ve ever seen or tasted before. They were pretty disappointing, both in texture and flavor, and even the fillings couldn’t save these tacos.

For my tacos, I picked chorizo and eggs and Haven taco. The chorizo was surprisingly bland and didn’t add much flavor to the scrambled eggs. The combination of the bready tortilla and the bland, dry eggs was just heavy and dull. It definitely needed more seasoning.

Chorizo and eggs taco

Chorizo and eggs taco

The Haven taco was not what I expected. The menu said it was papa con chile and chile con queso. I guess I mis-read “chile” for “chili”. What I got was a taco filled with potatoes, peppers, onions, and cheese; what I expected was the taco to have ground beef as well. Nevertheless, this was a pretty tasty taco. There were tons of seasoning, and despite its bland appearance, it was packed with flavor.

Haven taco

Haven taco

Josh picked the Torres taco, which had bacon, beans, and cheese. There was also sour cream on top, which wasn’t mentioned on the menu and he wasn’t too happy about, but otherwise, it was a relatively harmless and decently tasting taco. He also got a carnitas taco, which had big chunks of pork in it, but was otherwise just ok. The flavor and texture of the pork were both fine, the taco itself was nondescript.

Carnitas taco and the Haven taco

Carnitas taco and the Torres taco

For our shared taco, our waitress recommended the steak a la Mexicana taco. It was grilled steak with a sprinkling of diced peppers and onions. Again, the meat by itself was fine, but as a taco, it just didn’t do much for us.

Steak a la Mexicana taco

Steak a la Mexicana taco

We got J a chicken fajitas taco, which looked the same as all the other meat tacos we got – a lot of meat, a lot of bready tortilla, and not much else. I guess with “fajitas” in the name, I was expecting peppers and onions mixed in, but there was nothing. J liked the chicken just fine, but she didn’t eat it with the same gusto as she did at Lupe Tortilla.

Chicken fajita taco

Chicken fajita taco

Overall, we were both incredibly disappointed with the tacos at Taco Haven. The biggest detractor was the terrible bread-like tortilla. It was just dry and heavy and did nothing for the fillings. All of the tacos just seemed to be missing something – a sauce, a hit of acid, more seasoning, anything. Their only upside was that they were incredibly cheap, $2-$3 each depending on the fillings. We walked away full but unsatisfied. Too bad, because the service was great, and the atmosphere was cheery and bustling. We probably would have been better off ordering off the non-taco part of the menu, but at a place called Taco Haven, how could we not order tacos? This was a definite bust for us.

Taco Haven
1032 S Presa St.
San Antonio, TX

Social Eatz

Sunday, October 30th, 2011 by virginia

Social Eatz is a restaurant that garners a lot of buzz because it is the restaurant of Top Chef alum Angelo Sosa. Josh and I are big fans of Top Chef but we didn’t root for Angelo when he was competing the first time around. While his food always looked good and his competitors clearly respected him, we had other favorites. Nevertheless, we didn’t object when Jess and Jack told us we should try the food at Social Eatz. They had eaten there before and enjoyed it, and so we decided to go on a double date with them and check it out.

Jess made a reservation for us on a Saturday night, but the restaurant was surprisingly empty when we arrived. We got a great table right next to the window in front. Jess and I got some beer while Josh ordered the carrot ginger fizz, an interesting cocktail featuring carrot juice, ginger beer, vodka, and citrus. It was sweet, tangy, and bubbly, and very drinkable.

Carrot Ginger Fizz cocktail

We decided to share a few appetizers to start. The first was edamame fritters, which our waiter said was a new dish for the restaurant. For some reason we were all expecting the individual edamame beans to be fried, and were quite surprised when we saw that it was actually like falafel balls made from pureed edamame. The fritters were fantastic – crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside. The edamame flavor definitely shined through, brightened up with some citrus. There was also garlic mayo on the side for dipping that was addictively delicious. I could have used that mayo on just about anything. My only complaint was that there were only two fritters in the order. I wish there had been more!

Edamame fritters with garlic mayo

Our other appetizer was the noodle salad with plum ponzu. It featured cold buckwheat soba noodles with baby bok choy, sugar snap peas, and sliced scallions all mixed with a sweet plum and citrus dressing. It was light and refreshing and also a good mix of sweet and tangy. The noodles were cooked well so that they still had a nice chewiness to them, and this time I had no complaints about the portion size.

Noodle salad with plum ponzu

Both couples decided to share a bibimbap burger and a pair of tacos. There are lots of different burgers to choose from but the bibimbap burger won’s best burger in America contest so we wanted to try it out. We were happy to see that they cut the burgers in half for us in the kitchen, because they were really quite messy. The burger featured a beef patty topped with a runny fried egg, shredded lettuce, and pickled carrots and cucumber. There was also sriracha mayo on the burger that oozed out when we bit into the burger and dripped everywhere.

Bibimbap burger

Autopsy shot

The burger itself was very flavorful, with the pickled vegetables and sriracha sauce definitely showing its Asian influence. The beef patty was cooked to a nice medium rare but it was kind of mushy in texture and got a bit lost under the egg and all the other components. What meat I could taste was well seasoned, and while I really did enjoy the burger, it didn’t seem like a regular burger to me. I wouldn’t compare it to a Shake Shack burger or Corner Bistro, because it’s a totally different genre of burger. So even though it was pretty delicious in it’s own way, if I’m craving a burger, this isn’t what I’d go for. Nevertheless, we were happy to have tried it.

As for the tacos, we got an order of the Korean beef tacos and the tilapia tacos. The Korean beef tacos featured marinated skirt steak that had a slight kick to it from gochujang, which is a spicy Korean pepper paste. The taco was supposed to have bean sprout kimchee as well but I didn’t really see it or taste it. There were pickled carrots and cucumber on the taco, as well as more of that sriracha mayo, which actually made the whole thing taste very similar to the bibimbap burger. The skirt steak was pretty tender, however, and flavorful on its own, and I enjoyed the fresh cilantro on top. I just wish that the taco had more pronounced kimchee flavor.

Korean beef tacos

The tilapia tacos were pretty spicy, as the fish had been brushed with Thai chili. I enjoyed the fish and the accompanying green tomato salsa and avocado, which helped temper the spice. It was a flavorful combination of spicy and tangy, and I preferred these tacos to the Korean beef tacos. I just wish they hadn’t added sriracha mayo to these tacos as well, as after a while, everything just started tasting the same.

Chili kissed tilapia tacos

Both the burgers and the tacos were a la carte, so we got two orders of fries to share. They were thin cut and crispy, like McDonald’s fries, and dusted with a bit of paprika (I think). There was a mayo based dipping sauce on the side but the fries were good on their own and seasoned enough that they didn’t need the sauce.

Side order of fries

For dessert, we split an order of the yuzu cream puffs. The choux pastry was filled with yuzu curd, which tasted similar to lemon or lime curd. It was slightly sweet but the citrus flavor made it refreshing. The cream puffs were served hot, which I liked, and delicately crispy on the outside. We quickly took down the whole bowl.

Yuzu cream puffs

Overall Josh and I both enjoyed Social Eatz but didn’t find it to be outstanding. The food was tasty but nothing was distinctive. The menu indicates Korean, Vietnamese, and Japanese influences, but mostly, I just found it to be generically Asian fusion food. Sriracha mayo was on almost everything, and that flavor really dominates. After a while, all the flavors got muddled and everything just tasted like the mayo. I did enjoy the appetizers though, which were well executed and the highlight of the meal for me. On the surface, the menu at Social Eatz is very affordable. The burgers and sandwiches top out at $12, and the tacos at $9. Most things are under $10. However, since everything is a la carte, adding on a side dish is an additional $4.50 each. That means for a burger and fries, it’s really about $16.50, not $12, which is really not that cheap. In terms of atmosphere, the restaurant did fill up by the end of our meal. It was a bit loud but not overly so, and the place has a trendy but casual vibe. I would probably go back, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to make another trip there.

Social Eatz
232 East 53rd St. between 2nd and 3rd Ave.
New York, NY

Driving from Tahoe to SF – Tortilla Flats

Friday, January 8th, 2010 by virginia

We left Tahoe around 11 in the morning and headed back to the Bay Area. We were too busy packing up the car to have breakfast so we decided to stop for lunch about an hour into our drive. We ended up at Tortilla Flats in Placerville, a Mexican restaurant on Main Street.

Our meal started off with complimentary baskets of fried tortilla chips and fresh salsa. The chips were thin and perfectly crispy, while the salsa had a fresh combination of tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and scallions. They happily brought us refills of each throughout our lunch.

Complimentary tortilla chips and salsa to start

I ordered a combination plate with two items – a ground beef burrito and a chicken enchilada. I ended up receiving a chicken burrito and a chicken enchilada instead, which I didn’t realize until I had already cut into both items. The chicken was fine, moist and shredded into tender pieces, so I didn’t bother asking for them to replace my burrito since we were kind of in a rush. Our waitress was really nice though so I’m sure that if I had said something, they would have fixed the problem graciously. Both the burrito and enchilada were covered in tangy salsa verde and melted cheese. I preferred the burrito only because it was wrapped in a flour tortilla, which I like better than corn tortillas, but otherwise they were pretty much the same so it just depends on your preference. The combination plate came with rice and refried beans, and it was just a huge platter of food. I barely finished half, but I thought it was pretty tasty.

Combination plate with refried beans, chicken enchilada, chicken burrito, rice

Josh and Sean both had fajitas with a combination of chicken and steak. The plate had a huge pile of meat mixed with assorted peppers and onions, and a side of rice and refried beans.

Chicken and steak fajitas

The slices of grilled chicken and steak were tender but the dish lacked seasoning. A sprinkling of salt and a few spoonfuls of the tasty pico de gallo fixed that problem, although it was surprising that the huge plate of food only came with three small corn tortillas on the side. I used some of the guacamole on my own dish and I thought it was fresh and tasty.

Pico de gallo, sour cream, guacamole, tortillas

Claire ordered carne asada tacos, which come with a choice of rice and beans or creamed corn on the side. Claire asked for “chips” instead, which our waitress said she would be bringing out anyway. She suggested that Claire get the mini tacos instead, since it was cheaper and didn’t come with any unwanted sides. After the waitress walked away, Claire realized that she had mistakenly said “chips” instead of fries (Claire is from Ireland) so she clarified with the waitress, who told her it wouldn’t be a problem to fix. We all had a good laugh about that, since we thought she meant tortilla chips as well, but the fries turned out to be fantastic – hot, crispy, and potato-y on the inside.

Carne asada mini tacos

Overall I really liked both the food and the service at Tortilla Flats. We only stopped there because it was right on Main Street but it turned out to be better than I expected. The atmosphere was laid back and relaxed, the music was good (Rodrigo y Gabriela were playing over the speakers), service was attentive, and the food was tasty. It wasn’t totally authentic Mexican food but it was comforting and familiar. Portions are very large and the prices were reasonable. If you’re looking for somewhere to grab a bite to eat either on your way to or from Lake Tahoe, I’d definitely recommend this place.

Tortilla Flats
564 Main St.
Placerville, CA