Taqueria Tequilas Grill, Mettler (south of Bakersfield), report...
The name makes this place sound like a chain, but not at all....
Hubby and I were on our way from Merced to LA on 99: got just past Bakersfield and started to feel a bit hungry. We were discussing whether to stop in Santa Clarita or (shudder) at the Grapevine, or just keep going till we hit LA....when I saw a sign that said, "Taqueria, Mariscos, Tortillas hecho a mano...Next exit"...
so of course we immediately pulled off. Mettier (such as it is) is at the intersection of route 166 and 99, just before the intersection of 99 and Interstate 5. The taqueria is in a small ramshackle wood building that appears to have been there forever, and, while perhaps new in this incarnation, may have been a cafe forever too (old blue naugahyde booths, long counter, etc.) Very working class feel. All of the other customers while we were there were Hispanic men, probably local workers.
One orders at the counter, and they bring you the food. Friendly service, mostly Spanish spoken. We were given dull to average chips right away. There is a salsa bar with some very nice offerings, particularly the zanahorias and a lovely tomatillo-based salsa that tasted freshly made (the other two salsas were both chipotle based, and I wasn't wild about either). Drinks available include Mexican and US sodas, juices, water and beer.
Hubby, who isn't that adventurous when it comes to Mexican food, ordered a quesadilla with chicken, which he pronounced very good, though I didn't try it.
I had sopes de pollo, which I thought were a mixed bag: the chicken was dark meat and nicely seasoned, and the masa bases tasted fresh and crisp on the outside, with a soft interior (a good thing). There was also a delicious tomato salsa as one of the layers (I wish that one had been offered at the salsa bar). However, the beans in the sopes had little flavor, and the sopes were topped with lackluster iceberg lettuce, sour cream (Mexican crema would have been much nicer), and finely grated cheese that wasn't of good quality. So bottom line: the sopes had a few nice aspects, but overall were only ok. Not something I'd go out of my way for.
However, I would brake hard again for the taco al pastor. When I ordered it, the counter person gave me choice of three small tortillas which she told me came from a bag, or one big one made fresh in house. Total no brainer., I chose the large tortilla, and asked for it with onion and cilantro. The al pastor was delicious, and the tortillas were great.
Total with tax and tip with two sodas was about $17. Definitely worth keeping in mind when heading up or down the Valley. Indeed, close enough (no more than two or three miles) from the intersection of 5 and 99, to be worth considering as a stop on the 5.....
re: Melanie Wong
You're absolutely correct, Mary. Sadly no southbound trips in the immediate future. I did try undsuccessfully to talk my better half into a "slight" detour through Buttonwillow coming home from the WOPN in Shell Beach earlier this month, still looking for the elusive pupusa.