Steppin’ Out – Taqueria La Palmita, Placerville

I actually drove by this place and missed it for over a year. Then I noticed a small sign by the edge of the street advertising burritos, looked up and found it.

The place is called Taqueria La Palmita and is obvious once you know where it is, which is at 1349 Broadway, in Placerville, just west of Splasherville Express Car Wash and across the street from Tractor Supply Co.

They started out about a year and a half ago featuring just “Antojitas Mexicanas,” which literally translates to “little cravings,” dishes that would not regularly served at a meal.

Included on that menu and still available today, are dishes like: Mangonada: (fresh sliced mango, Chamoy, powdered chile, salt and lemon); Bionicos: (grapes, bananas, apples, papaya, cantaloup, strawberries, cream and topped off with granola, raisins and shredded coconut); Fruta Picada (pineapple, mango, cucumber, papaya, cantaloupe and watermelon) and Cueritos Preparados (pickled pork rinds, cucumber, jicama, peanuts, tamarind, Valentino Hot Sauce, Chamoy, salt and lemon). That is just a sampling. There are a lot more.

Last September they added to the menu tacos, burritos, tortas and quesadillias and to the front window, the word “Taqueria.”

I gave my friend Russ Salazar a call right after I noticed the sign and we met there around noon one day.

On the wall, just inside the door, is their menu. I looked it over and then told Russ to order us something good, knowing he would order the most unique food.

He selected four tacos, lengua (tongue), al pastor (marinated strips of pork), tripitas (tripe) and adobada (marinated pork, similar to al pastor). He had originally wanted buche (pork stomach), but they were out. Thus the al pastor.

He also added a quesadilla, made with asada (beef steak), cheese and champinones (mushrooms), which sounded quite interesting.

The place is small, with somewhat limited booth and table seating, but we easily found a table. That done, I went to the salsa bar to gather some salsas for the food and the chips they would bring with our meal.

The food came and the tacos were what we expected, “Street Tacos,” two smaller corn tortillas with the marinated meat cooked with onions and spices. They were only $2 each and worth it.

We split them (one tortilla for each of us)and gave them a try, adding different salsas as we went along..

I have eaten tongue in a taco before and even though the texture is different, it was very good, as were the al pastor and adobada, but I was really surprised with the tripe.

I do not like menudo because of the texture of the tripe and the overall flavor. It is just not in my flavor categories. However, being marinated and grilled gives the tripe a bit of a crunch and a very nice flavor. Old dog, new tricks again.

The hit of the meal was the quesadilla. The meat and cheese and, especially, the mushrooms, were a great combination. I don’t recall mushrooms in Mexican food before, but they sure made a difference and added both flavor and texture.

Seemingly finished with our lunch, Russ decided we should try a couple of antojitas for “dessert.” He ordered us a Bionicos and a Fruita Picada (mixed fruit with jicama and cucumber).

The Bionicos was outstanding – lots of fruit with granola and cream. The Fruita Picada was also great and a real palate cleanser with all the varieties of fruit in it. At that point we were full and happy.

As I mentioned, they serve quite a list of Antojitas along with tacos, burritos, tortas and quesadillas. Everything we tried was very, very good.

I was especially impressed with the varieties of meats available. Next time I am going to try their chile verde. That is my guide to a great Mexican restaurant.

Taqueria La Palmita is open daily from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. and can be reached at (530) 391-3908.

Oh, on Tuesdays, tacos are only $1.49 each and on Saturday and Sunday they serve two Mexican specialities, Menudo and Birria.

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