“Anytime there is Mexican food around, you can bet I’ll be eating it. I’m not a chocolate person and I’m not into sweets. I’m a meal person.”
— Eva Longoria
My Barrio Taqueria
A friend mentioned to me that a lady who worked for Colina de Oro in Diamond Springs is the new owner of the Mexican restaurant at 3952 Cambridge Drive in Cameron Park. It used to be known as Taqueria Del Barrio, but the sign now says, “My Barrio.”
I had heard good things about the food and service, so I took my expert on Mexican food, Russ Salazar, with me for a visit. It was about 1 p.m. when we arrived and the place was still busy.
As we were looking over the menu, we were greeted by the new owner, Cirila “Cici” Nuñez. Nuñez worked for 15 years at Colina de Oro and only opened this place a few months ago. She is very friendly and knows Mexican food and the restaurant business. That is about all I found out as Salazar and she started discussing the food in Spanish.
Salazar says the roll on the torta tells you how good a Mexican restaurant is, so we ordered a carnitas torta and a chile verde super burrito, wet (with sauce) and asked to have them cut in half for us to share.
While waiting we enjoyed the complementary chips (thinner than most, yea) and the three salsas at the salsa bar. They aren’t labeled, so ask. “We also have pico de gallo,” said Nuñez, “but it has to be fresh, so we only make it when people ask for it.
“I make my food as authentic as possible,” continued Nuñez. “Even when I am tired after a long day, when I see that people like my food, it makes my tiredness go away.”
Many places use the bolillo roll for their tortas. It has a crunchy crust and a soft inside and is football shaped. Nuñez uses a telera, which is very similar, though it has a more rounded shape and is usually softer. She gets the rolls from a bakery in Sacramento. “They won’t deliver, so I drive down every Saturday,” she said.
The telera roll really made a difference. It had a crunchy top and a delicious taste. The carnitas were great and I found out that they put a thin layer of refried beans on the roll, which made quite a difference (that was one of Salazar’s questions to her in Spanish).
The chile verde burrito was delicious, even though my half had most of the beans and Salazar’s had most of the rice. I had never ordered one wet before, and that kept it moist. It was kind of like a cross between a burrito and an enchilada in a flour tortilla.
Nuñez also served us a sample of the beef chorizo she makes (low in fat with an excellent flavor) and a “Monday” taco, which is filled with a mixture of beans and meat and cooked before adding cheese and lettuce. They are called “Monday” tacos because they are a dollar each on Mondays. “People order them 20 at a time,” said Nuñez.
The menu is very interesting at My Barrio with the normal appetizers such as nachos, taquitos, cheese quesadillas and even a salad and a list of ala carte favorites such as tacos, burritos (regular and super), chimichangas, tortas, meat quesadillas, taco salad and tostadas. You can also get combination plates, and special plates with your choice of meat, rice, beans, salsa, avocado, sour cream and tortillas, several seafood dishes made with shrimp or grilled fish or a number of breakfast dishes which are served with chilaquiles, tortilla strips in a sauce.
Now, for something entirely different, they also serve a Santa Maria burger, barbecued bacon burger with onion rings, Santa Fe patty melt, Philly cheesesteak and a chipotle barbecued pork sandwich. I have never seen all that at a Mexican restaurant, but it is a good idea.
My Barrio also serves imported and domestic beer, Mexican bottled drinks, soda and more. Yes, they have a kids menu and even Mexican desserts.
They are open 11 a.m. until 8:30 p.m. daily and can be reached at 530-676-8395. Oh, they also do catering.