Taco Recon in the Fresno Area
There was an article in the Fresno Bee today regarding the top tacos in the Valley. It was researched by Joan Obra, the ususal food critic, and Mike Osegueda, who I don't really know. Fresno area hounds should probably get their hands on a copy either through the Internet or a hard copy.
The gist of the article was that they were having an adventure, so no fancy restaurants. They went to taco trucks, and hole in the wall type places looking for the best carne asada taco. Chris' Meat Market was mentioned and Joan gave them a 7 and Mike gave them a 9.
La Elegante was also given a 9 by Mike and a 7.25 by Joan. La Elegante has two locations: a sit-down at 1423 Kern St and a taco truck near the Fresno Pick-a-Part on Maple and Muscat avenues.
Joan didn't give out any 9s, but did give out an 8.5 to Los Toritos at the Selma Flea Market, 10951 E. Mountain View Ave, Selma. During the week, they are the only one at the flea market, but during the weekend they are one of many.
Guadalajara Restaurant also gets high scores. Joan gave them a 7.5 and Mike gave them an 8.5. Guadalajara has three locations: 3020 N Weber Ave, 5650 N Figarden Drive and 5730 N 1st St. They got high marks for using top sirloin in their tacos.
It should be noted that they are mixing rico tacos and regular tacos in their report, which can be a little confusing. But it seems as though they did their homework and were willing to try taco trucks and flea markets. Hubby and I will keep a copy in the glove box for quick reference during a "taco emergency".
re: toodie jane
I am not sure exactly what "rico" means, but a rico taco is a small taco with corn tortilla, your choice of meat, onion, cilantro, and hot sauce. That is it. No beans or avocado or rice or any fancy stuff. Usually found in taquerias or taco trucks, but can be at other locations. The focus is on the flavorful meat rather than the condiments.
From my (grossly inadequate) understanding of the language, "rico" means rare. This comes solely from a dear old friend, who is a classical guitarist (Richard Stover) that uses the nom-de-lume "Que Rico" or "how rare" for the music from an obscure Central American artist whose written works he found hidden away and has published and recorded. To keep this chowcentric, the music will match perfectly with your favorite vino rojo or blanco of choice.
We stopped at Los Toritos for a snack yesterday. We had a couple of Lengua tacos, one with Buches and one with Carnitas. All were very good and the fresh truck made tortillas were excellent. They just put on your topping of choice and there is a table with condiments. The green sauce was hot. The red sauce was mild and the salsa was fresh. You even put on your own cabbage. A well deserved rating from the Bee. I will have to go back since it's in my "hood" and because I saw another customer consuming a HUGE 3.00 burrito. I will also have to try a TORTA there. It's looks like I will make that a regular stop for a while.
MAY THE FORK BE WITH YOU
I talked to a good friend today who is both Hispanic and a former preparer of various taqueria meats. He says the term "rico" simply means "tasty".
Finally got to the new Guadalajara at the NE corner of Willow and Nees with a group of friends last night. Joan Obra gave it a write up recently:
Also the article updates to say that the Figarden Loop and north First St. locations have been closed.
Should also add that this new one has a full bar and plenty of seating and is located back in the NE portion of the center, next to Steven's Bikes. The sign on the building still says "White Lotus Thai" but they have banners hanging that announce their opening.
Our group of nine left completely satisfied and stuffed. Standout dishes were the chile relleno, carne asada and carnitas tacos, and one of the enchiladas, iirc. I ordered the two fish tacos (7.50) to accompany my ala carte relleno, they were grilled and pretty tasty. The ladies ordered the blended margaritas (5) that came in deep bowl type glasses, kind of like fancy schooner beer mugs, and the guys went with Patron silver margs on the rocks (7) which were excellent.
We had called earlier to learn they didn't take reservations but when we walked in @ 6:30 on this Sat. evening, they had a table arranged for us within minutes. Service was extremely friendly and efficient, food arrived more quickly than we could have expected given how busy they were. This is a great family operation that deserves a lot of love from our packs of hounds.
I have to admit I have been in love with Rosa (co-owner) since she was a waitress at a Mexican joint at Marks and Shaw in the late 80's. She still can't speak English very well but she serves up really comfortable meals. This family is passionate about their food. They unashamedly dedicate their excellence to the memory of their daughter who died in an accident near the old Guadalajara on Weber. I heartily agree the locals should support this business.