Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > San Francisco Bay Area >
Jul 16, 2007 05:23 PM

El Cactus Tacos - Tacos Mineros?

Have dined now several times at El Cactus Tacos, a new taqueria in Boyes Hot Springs. On the first visit (right after they opened), I watched as they pressed out fresh tortillas for each order. They were sublime! we tried the three meats available that night - Pierna, Birria, and Asada - all were excellent.

On a subsequent visit, I had a Torta de Pierna which was good, but not great

On the last visit we again had tacos, sadly on commercial tortillas. They were great none the less. Posted on the wall (missing the first two visits) was a menu featuring among other things, "Tacos Mineros" I asked about them but couldn't quite understand what they were. The waitress mentioned mexican sausage, which I presume is Chorizo, but said that the tacos were boiled, which left me wondering...

Anyone familiar with Tacos Mineros (miner's style)?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Here's a recipe in Spanish on a blog,

    Someone else will have to elucidate. Seems like the tortillas are dipped in a thin sauce of beans, then filled.

    I'm very curious about these and can't wait to hear about your taste test!

    1. I have actually read about these tacos - In the northern states of the El Bajio in Mexico - Guanajuato, Zacatecas etc - silver mining was once a huge industry. The wives of the miners would make steamed tacos wrapped in a towl and placed in a basket to keep warm for lunch deep in the mine

      1. I really have to thank you Sam for discovering this place and posting about it after having a little antojito of Tacos Mineros for dinner yesterday evening.

        I have only had these style of tacos once at a great restaurant (with a noble mission and great heart) in San Diego called 'Mama Testas.' [great website design]

        If you click on the menu link and then on the "Mama Cesta" picture - you will see what kind of tacos these exactly are.

        I also know remember having a conversation with my favorite pan dulce baker at the El Tigre Market in Fallbrook, Ca. She was from Zacatecas - the heart of the silver mining industry - and she explained that these tacos once born out of neccessity (hence the steaming and wrapping in cloth for heat preservation and protection for later consumption), now are considered a local nostalgic delicacy.

        You can read more about them in Diana Kennedy's "My Mexico" book - which is a great read. They are called tacos 'sudados' - or sweated tacos. Included is an intriguing recipe (for some reason carb on carb recipes interest me greatly a la tamal torta, tacos de papas) that is on my list to make of sweated tacos filled with fideos! Nice!

        Anyways - El Cactus' offering of Tacos Mineros are wonderful; Mama Testas version does not even hold a dribbling candle to these guys - in my opinon there is so much more soul in El Cactus'.

        What you receive for 6 dollars is 5 (tj street size) tacos doubled over each with there own filling which was an unexpectant surprise for me.

        When you order them the taquero opens and reaches down into the big tamal steamer pot on the stove and pulls out a little aluminum foil package which he places on a plate and opens with a big rush of steam. [ i really like that you can watch all the taquero action up close and personal at this restaurant


        He ladles a delicious chile fortified tomato sauce over the sweated tacos and blesses with cilantro, chopped onion, and romaine. However - one mistake of a topping is the "mex blend" shredded industrial cheese - luckily its just a little and I can get over it - although queso fresco or cotija would be great.

        As I was chowing down (fork and knife is necc. for these tacos - the tortillas soften and mold together - which is the essence of the dish) I loved discovering the fillings - two were filled with a rich pork guisado, another with frijolitos and queso and finally 2 with my favorite mashed potato filling. I applied a genrous squeeze of lime and I was in heaven - in fact afterwards outside as I was drinking their stellar mango agua fresca (papaya was also offered) I had that capscian (sp) warmth and high going on from the delicious sauce. Life is good.

        PS - this place is a cut above other taquerias - I can tell already - its onl;y been open two weeks and they are still moving in but in is nicely designed and a pleasant space.

        3 Replies
        1. re: kare_raisu

          Damn guys... this is a serious find! My mouth salivates! I can't wait to try this place..

          1. re: kare_raisu

            Gosh this place sounds amazing. I'm having serious taco cravings right now, and no access to anything remotely resembling mexican food at the moment. *mock angry voice* Damn you all! *shakes fist*

            So I'm curious if this place is next door to, or nearby a place called Cactus Ice (which sells smoothies). I was telling my brother, who still lives in Sonoma (my hometown) about this wonderful bit of taco heaven and he thought it might be nearby Cactus Ice. If it is, it would make it easier for me to find it on my next trek to Sonoma.

            1. re: chocolateninja

              Same place, same owners - they shut down briefly, and converted Cactus Ice to El Cactus Tacos. I suspect there wasn't enough business in ice cream alone to sustain the place.

          2. I found several recipes and all of them have the same ingredients. The tacos are called "tacos sudados," "tacos al vapor" or "tacos de canasta," dependeing on the location.

            Below are the links to the recipes (the second one is in Spanish but it has a picture):



            1 Reply
            1. re: ana paulina

              Yeah, round this parts of Mexico they are called tacos de canasta and you buy them from the "canasteras" who set up shop in a corner street and sell all kinds of yummy tacos de canasta... de frijol, papa, de cabeza, de enchilada.. and of course, memelitas, enchiladas de mole (traditional: NO CHICKEN filling).....