Quite a number of years ago I visited this restaurant which, at the time, was located at the corner of highways 49 and 193, on the north side of Placerville (the last location for the famous Taco House).
I was introduced to Fernando Sierra, the owner and chef, who was from El Salvador and was not only serving Mexican dishes, but unique Salvadorian dishes from his homeland.
That time, and on an occasion several months later, I was delighted in trying pupusas, with Salvadorian cabbage, Salvadorian tamales wrapped in banana leaves, yucca root and fried plantains.
Around 2006, Fernando moved his restaurant from there to the southwest corner of Green Valley Road and Cameron Park Drive (2650 Cameron Park Drive #170), where it has thrived ever since while building quite a following.
A couple of weeks ago my friend Russ Salazar and I decided to drop in since Russ had never been there. We were delightfully seated by Fernando’s lovely daughter, Kristina, who handed us each a copy of their multi-page menu as she went to get us a complementary bowl of chips and some salsa (excellent salsa, by the way).
I wanted Russ to try the papusas, which are like thick corn tortillas filled with cheese or a paste-like chicken and cheese or pork and cheese mixture, so we picked one of both the chicken and pork varieties to split. In addition to those, since we were fascinated with the nine kinds of soup on the menu, we ordered a “small” (we’ll discuss that later) bowl of Sopa de Chorizo (Salvadorian style sausage soup) and Sopa de Tortilla (shredded chicken with vegetables, fresh avocado, tortilla strips and shredded cheese).
The pupusas arrived first, so we cut them in half to share, stuffing each of them with the slightly fermented Salvadorian cabbage. They were delicious, and as we were finishing them, our “small’ bowls of soup arrived.
Iam going to guess that the soup bowls were at least 10 inches across and contained enough soup for a filling meal by itself. They came with our choice of flour, corn or handmade corn tortillas. We selected the handmade corn tortillas which Russ said were very similar to the thick Mexican tortilla he called a “gordita.”
We had empty small bowls that had contained the cabbage, so we shared samples of the soups and they were both great.
My tortilla soup must have contained at least a cup or more of shredded chicken, along with lots of vegetables, which were delicious and not overcooked. When I got close to the bottom of the bowl, I looked around and, not seeing anyone watching, tipped the bowl and drank the remaining liquid.
Russ’ chorizo soup contained a large amount of chorizo sausage, egg, vegetables and more. It was different, but both of us liked it. He couldn’t finish it all or maybe just had better manners than me.
The menu starts with quite a list of Mexican appetizers and sides. Then there is the ala carte menu of burritos, super burritos, enchiladas, rellenos, tacos, tamales and more.
There are nine soups on the menu, including pozole and menudo, six of which are Salvadorean style.
The long salad list includes chicken, fajita, taco, vegetarian taco and more, which is followed by a nice list of vegetarian lunches and dinners.
The Salvadorean food list, which is next, includes a number of dishes using New York steak or chicken, topped with different sauces. All these are served with rice, refried or black beans and tortillas.
The Salvadorean specialities, which I like and previously mentioned, include the papusas filled with different meats and cheeses, Salvadorean tamales (tamals in a banana leaf), yucca (similar to potato) and fried plantains (platanos fritos).
Following these dishes on the menu is a whole page of delicious looking seafood items, including, prawns, stuffed prawns and fish cooked several ways.
The Mexican part of the menu includes the normal selection of different meats, all cooked in Fernando’s special way, and served as a one, two or three item combination plate or separately. The list is two extensive to describe here, but you will love it.
These are followed by a short “Buenos Dias” menu including a breakfast burrito, huevos con chorizo, huevos rancheros, machaca con huevos and a Salvadorean scramble.
For dessert you can select from ice cream, fried ice cream, sopapilla, a strawberry chimichanga or a churro with ice cream.
On top of all of this, they have weekday lunch and dinner specials and the previously mentioned vegetarian lunches and dinners.
To accompany your meal there is wine and wine drinks, quite a list of soft drinks, fountain and bottled (Mexican), orange juice, coffee, tea, milk, milkshakes, horchata, tamarindo and jamaica tea, along with domestic, Mexican and Salvadorean beers.
Fernando’s Costa del Sol is open from 11 until 9, seven days a week. For more information you can call them at (530) 676-4460 or visit them online at www.fernandoscostadelsol.com.
They also cater and pets are welcome at their outside seating area.
I forgot to ask, so next time I have to order a large soup to see just how large it is.