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Apr 4, 2009 03:06 PM

Richmond: Sazon - Chili cheese tamales, pancito, menudo, lamb barbacoa, goat birria

Los 5 Pinos aquired a partner, changed the name and some of the menu.

Just when I thought Los 5 Pinos was going to stick because they got a new sign and have been there a few years ... a banner went up announcing Sazon. It took me a while to check out as I'm getting a little weary of restaurant roulette in this location.

When this place started, it had 11 dishes on a handwritten sign on the wall. Here's my report from a few years ago.

Couldn't find barbacoa de borrego (lamb) anywhere and now everyone seems to be serving it ... might require a barbacoa crawl on my part.

At Sazon it is only served on Sunday. The owner is from Hildago and explained that they make it there by digging a pit, lining it with wood and lighting a fire, adding the lamb and covering everything up with dirt until the lamb is cooked. Not sure how they are making this in Richmond, but I would guess an oven is involved.

They also have pancita which is a tripe soup with lots of veggies that the owner said was different from menudo. Both are on the menu.

I had
- a chicharron pupusa
- chili cheese tamales
- goat birria taco
- jamaica aqua fresca

The little goat taco was nicely down. Simply a freshly made delicate tortilla wrapped around generous chunks of tender goat meat that wasn't gamey. It was only $1.25 and though small, the quantity of meat makes it a deal.

Chili cheese tamales just seemed like a funny idea to me. Turns out it was very good. Not red chili, but two moist tamales, oozing cheese were covered with a warm green sauce and more melted cheese. It had a significant amount of spicy heat and was they type of dish that made me go 'mmmmm'. This wouldn't travel and must be eaten immediately at the restaurant.

The chicarron pupusa was good but softer than most. The cabbage was different, sort of a Barbie doll pink. Tasty.

The aqua fresca was fine though not a stand out.

They have parking in the rear.

The bigger menu includes breakfast in the morning. It is both American and Latino. Three eggs, grits, three strips of bacon and two slices of toast are $3.99.

They also added hamburgers and there are a number of specials. A cheeseburger, fries and soda is $3.99.

Torta de milanesa (beef or chicken), with fries and soda is only $5.99

There are the usual Mexican items. They have fajitas, bbq pork ribs, chile verde and rojo, hot wings, sopes.

They have champorrado which I don't see often on sit down restaurant menus. The restaurant pretty much looks the same. Mexican table cloths covered with plastic, a religious sign on one wall and some traditional Mexican dress costumes decorating the other wall. There is a tv tuned to a Mexican channel.

2207 Macdonald Ave, Richmond, CA 94801

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  1. The green chile and cheese tamales are the best variety that Primavera makes, IMHO.

    1. Hmmm....curious if his pancita is lamb pancita which is typically chopped up chile pasted mixed offal stuffed in the stomach and baked with the barbacoa meat - much like a Mexican haggis or " Mole de Panza/Pancita" Central Mexican Menudo?

      1 Reply
      1. re: kare_raisu

        I'll have to ask. I was going to, but I asked too many questions. I considered asking if it was lamb pancita and should have. The thing is it was so unlikely I was going to order it. I was under the impression it was a soup like menudo, but not menudo.I'll ask next time I'm over there.