El Forastero (someone who is or comes from another place “The Foreigner”) is its name and it is part of a small chain of nine restaurants, mostly in the Sacramento area, but as far south as Manteca. The first one was opened in 2007 by three brothers from Mexico, Jose, Javier and Eduardo Davila. Obviously they have been very successful.
Apparently when this one first opened they were understaffed and people commented about the service and waiting time. Now they seem to be fully staffed and both those problems seem to be in the past.
Their drive-thru is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, while their restaurant, with tables and booths, is open from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily. There are a lot of opportunities for you to give them a try.
Last Friday, just before noon, I decided to drop in and try something from their very large menu. The place was clean and about one-third full at the time, but it would soon become busier, mostly with to-go orders.
I looked at the menu for several minutes (they were very patient and nice) and finally decided to try a super burrito, with adobada as my meat choice. Adobada, also spelled adovada, is marinated pork and is not only one of my favorites, but not widely available, which led to my choice.
While waiting for my food, I visited the chips and salsa bar, where I picked up some chips and samples of several salsas, all of which were very good. It is free and included with any food purchase.
In just a few minutes I picked up my burrito, which was very large and stuffed full of beans, rice, meat, guacamole and sour cream. It was just on the edge of being too big for one person, but I took my time and finished it. It was very good and high on my list.
The flour tortilla was fresh, everything was warm and the meat had great flavor. The beans were refried, and, although very good, I think I would ask for whole beans next time. I think they go better in a burrito. They didn’t ask when I ordered it, but I know they have other beans.
This is why I have come to prefer the kind of “fast” Mexican restaurants that make your meal in front of you. It allows you to substitute, leave our or add different items.
As I mentioned, the menu is very large and includes: 19 Combo Plates, seven Breakfast Burritos and four Breakfast Plates (breakfast is served all day and includes free coffee), along with 18 different Burritos, seven different Tacos, Crispy tacos, Mini-Tacos, and Rolled Tacos.
The menu continues with Enchiladas, Tostadas, Tortas, Nachos, Quesadillas, Chimichangas, Mexi-Bowls, Shrimp dishes and more.
For us folks who can’t make up our minds easily, they have a number of Daily Specials, which include the most popular dishes.
Menudo and Pozole are also available, but only on Saturday and Sunday.
They have a great list of meat choices including: Carne Asada, Steak, Carnitas, Chile Verde, Fish, Machaca, Shredded Beef, Chicken, Chile Colorado, Adobada, Ground Beef, Lengua and Shrimp.
El Forastero is located behind the Arco Station, next to Office Max and near In-N-Out Burgers, and can be reached at (530) 621-1814.
Again, the dining room is open from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily and the drive-thru 24 hours a day.
Discount coupons are available on their webpage at www.elforasteromexicanfood.com.
Speaking of In-N-Out Burgers, I stopped by ours one Saturday morning about quarter to 11 a.m. (10:45 to you in the digital age). There were about a dozen people there and a few minutes after I received my food, a bus loaded with about 30 young people showed up in the parking lot.
I immediately thought, “Oh boy, this will be a problem,” but no. Like a “well oiled machine” the employees automatically switched jobs and completed each of the new orders in about the same amount of time it took to do mine. Then the employees went back to doing what they had been doing before the rush.
I commented to the manager that I was impressed and sent a note to their corporate offices. That is a well trained crew.