Steppin’ Out – Taqueria El Dorado Mexican Grill, El Dorado Hills

Since Russ Salazar and I had planned on visiting Taqueria El Dorado a couple of weeks ago, we made it our next stop and dropped in on a Tuesday, about 1:30. The restaurant was about a third full.

You order at the counter, pay and they give you a number to take to a table. After the kitchen prepares your food, they bring it to you.

The menu is large and located above the counter, but if you have a cricky neck, you might not be able to read all of it. Fortunately, off to the side are paper menus.

Outside on a chalkboard were listed a few specials. They had a Super Burrito and drink that I decided upon. Russ was going to order three meat tacos and a drink, another special, but when he got inside and looked at the big menu, he changed his mind, ordering instead a Carnitas Torta, a Mexican sandwich of roasted pork on a torta roll. I asked for my “Mexican restaurant test meat,” chile verde, in my burrito. Russ ordered horchata to drink, I went for iced tea.

They have a nice salsa bar and chips for you to enjoy before and with your meal, so we each grabbed some salsas and a container of chips. I was happy they had two of my favorites, the spicy onions and sliced radishes, with the salsas.

The food soon arrived and they had cut each of them is two so we could share. We started with the burrito. It contained the chile verde, rice, pinto beans, salsa, sour cream, guacamole and cheese. I like black beans in my burritos, but Russ told me they are considered Cuban, not Mexican.

Russ doesn’t really like restaurant burritos. “They shouldn’t be so big you have to eat them with a fork,” he told me. “At home burritos were  smaller and also made with a thicker tortilla. I liked them better.”

We both liked the burrito, me especially, but also noticed something about it. The texture of the chunks of pork in the chile verde varied from dry, to solid to soft and perfect. Most restaurants make a large batch of it at one time and it is all the same. They may have been mixing batches.

Before I get to the torta, I want to same something about this Mexican sandwich that is becoming more and more popular at restaurants.
In Mexico, a torta is served on an oblong 15 cm (six inch) firm, crusty white sandwich roll. Depending on the region, this is called a bolillo, telera, birote, or pan francés. Tortas can be eaten cold or hot, and grilled or toasted in a press in the same manner as a panini or a Cuban sandwich.

You can buy the rolls at most grocery stores. They vary in texture and sweetness. Russ thinks the ones at Costco are best.

The torta was our favorite of the two things we ordered. It contained the carnitas, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, cheese, lettuce and tomato. It was a really great sandwich and the bread portion was very good.

We were trying to figure out what really added to the flavor of both the burrito and torta. There was something in both that was the same. I think it must have been the salsa-sour cream-guacamole combination they both had added to the taste.

As I mentioned, the menu is huge. Be sure to take your glasses if you want to read the paper one.

They have tacos, taco salads, enchiladas, nachos, tortas, quesadillas, burritos, tostadas, mariscos (seafood), special plates, combo plates, a kids menu and even breakfast.

Their meat choices include asada (beef), carnitas (roasted pork), pastor (marinated pork), tripa (beef tripe), pollo asado (grilled chicken), pollo desebrado (shredded chicken), buche (pork stomach), lengua (beef tongue) chorizo (Mexican sausage) and chile verde (pork in a green sauce).

With all that to choose from, I am sure there will be something to delight you.

Taqueria El Dorado Mexican Grill is located at 3955 Park Drive, Suite 6 in El Dorado Hills, just north of Highway 50. If you drive in Saratoga Way it is between Bella Bru and Taco Bell.

It is open from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily, with extended hours until 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. For more information call (916) 933-8877.

Since they are in El Dorado Hills, where rents, etc. are higher, their dishes are a buck or two more, but not that bad.

Now, this is a question I have asked several people. What is “Authentic Mexican Food?” Is it food prepared the way it is served in Mexico? Is it food made with ingredients commonly found in Mexico?

Russ reminded me that the food in Mexico City is often very European, adding his answer to me question that authentic Mexican food is food made the way his grandmother made it.

I guess it is just what each of us think it is.

¡Buen provecho!

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