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Mar 15, 2014 06:24 PM

Mini taco crawl on Middlefield [Redwood City]

On this warm and sunny Saturday, Mrs. wineguy and I decided to take a drive down to Redwood City and try a few taquerias we hadn’t been to before. Usually we go to La Casita Chilanga #2 on El Camino or sit in the taqueria inside the Chavez Supermarket on Fifth Avenue. This time we decided to live dangerously and change it up a bit. : )

Our first stop was at Taqueria MexCal, 3215 Middlefield Road. A sunny spot with friendly staff. Tacos were $1.25 each and includes a small bowl of non-house-made chips and a ramekin of an addictive red salsa. We had very fresh, rich and flavorful lengua tacos as well as some carnitas tacos that had a nice array of soft and crispy bits. The food was not greasy at all. The salsa verde on the tacos was bright and snappy. Nice tortillas. We would definitely return.

Our second stop was at Rincon Tarasco, 3200 Middlefield Road. It was quiet, dark and a little somber. Tacos were $1.25 each. We had al pastor and cabeza tacos. The pastor was greasy and not very flavorful. The cabeza was rich and beefy, but greasy. Their tortillas were softened in oil: so added to the greasiness. Their salsa verde was fine. We thought it just OK, and probably wouldn’t return.

Our third and final stop was at El Paisano Carniceria y Mercado, 2856 Middlefield Road. Order in the front of the supermarket and eat in the back by the butcher shop. The tacos, $1.50 each (large are available as well at $3 each), we had were al pastor, birria and barbacoa. All were well-prepared, with rich and unctuous meats. A red as well as a green salsa were offered and both were fine. But the stand out here were the tortillas made to order. We would probably return.

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    1. Thank you for the report. Look forward to trying Taqueria MexCal, one of the more newish places there I believe. Good to know about El Paisano's tortillas being made order; however, not exactly a welcoming storefront :)

      We've been going to Tacos Los Gemelos (1630 el camino) more & more as Chavez' quality has slipped quite a bit. My girls love the sopes at TLG & I like their goat tacos made with hand made tortillas.

      As for Chavez, they don't seem to make fresh tortillas anymore nor do they griddle them when ordered. Last two times I've gone, meat came from the steam trays vs. off the spit for al pastor. Don't know if they are trying to be more efficient or trying to cut costs, either way, quality is suffering. Really bummed as this is not too far from home and the people are nice.

      1. Thanks for the tip about the tortillas at El Paisano Carniceria y Mercado.

        According to someone who works there, the tortillas are made from nixtamal rather than masa harina. I don't know enough to confirm, but whatever they're made of, the ones used in the $3 super tacos are pliable and have a nice toasted corn flavor.

        4 Replies
        1. re: hyperbowler

          Happy to see that you've gotten religion about corn tortillas!

          1. re: Melanie Wong

            It seemed like a good way to avoid pellagra after eating nothing but Flamin' Hot Cheetos for a few weeks :-)

          2. re: hyperbowler

            How're the taste of the tortillas?

            are there many other mexican restaurants in the bay area who make theirs with nixtamal?

            1. re: ckshen

              The corn flavor could've been more aggressive, But I thought the flavor overall was very good.

              They used to use a stoneground masa harina for their tamales (which were excellent). Any idea why they'd not use fresh masa for that but for their tortillas?

          3. There is now a place called "Best Taqueria" where Pachinga (?) used to be. Third and Middlefield. Happened to hit it today, very, very good. And tacos made by hand. Very clean, pleasant, approachable.