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About a week ago I was sent out on the most excellent adventure of trying 5 of the lesser known taco joints in town, and let me tell you, we had a FANTASTIC time doing so. We all know Chando’s pretty much takes the cake as far as tacos go, but our crawl was about finding the deeper cuts, the b-sides if you will. As I write this, hundreds (maybe thousands?) of suburbanites are descending on midtown like sombrero wearing locusts for Cinco De Mayo to drink cheap tequila and generally act like total a-holes….THESE are the spots you should have gone to tonight if this article would have came out before CDM.
1: Super Taco | 6200 Mack Road, Sacramento
Located in the middle of a kind of (exactly what you’d think it looks like) strip mall, this place is super clean inside, has tons of breakfast options, a great salsa bar (the hot sauce is amazing), and one of those cool toy grabber machines, but unfortunately has no chorizo/al pastor options.
We tried a couple of tacos including the lengua and adobada street tacos, but the stand out option was the Carne Asada Super Taco. Oh my lord, this fully loaded crispy fried tortilla with crema, cheese, and lettuce was phenomenal. I didn’t think the taco needed any salsa at all, but our pal, Serena, threw some hot salsa on there and it was pretty fantastic. The tacos were inexpensive, as expected; I mean, this is a hole in the wall adventure, after all.
2: La Soga | 7233 East Pkwy, Sacramento
I really hate to jump to the punchline, but I have to say, out of all the tacos we had on this most majestic of food crawls, this place took the cake, gold star, or whatever award you fancy. La Soga is also (no surprise here) in the middle of a strip mall next to a totally creepy looking fish restaurant (which my pal Maddy said would be a perfect place to get murdered) and an IHOP. Needless to say, it’s somewhere I wouldn’t have pulled over to try, but I’m SO thankful our rad friends put this on our radar. The place has a TON of meats, breakfast tacos, lots of other options, and A JUKEBOX, which was stocked with some of my favorite cumbia classics (including Celso Piña’s “Cumbia Sampuesana” which will forever remind me of Tijuana).
Things we ordered (most of which were recommended by a lovely employee, Vanessa): Crispy carnitas tacos, chorizo, bbq chicken street tacos, and hands down the best taco my mouth has ever devoured: the crispy al pastor taco! Words cannot describe how much I love this taco. I went back three days later to have it again. It’s filled with sour cream, shredded lettuce, and guacamole in a huge fried tortilla, and it is greasy and delicious and everything you want in a taco… that is unless you are totally an awful person who has like, literally two taste buds.
3: Lalo’s | 5063 24th St, Sacramento
I should start by saying if you want a legit Mexico style place atmosphere-wise, THIS is the place. It has amazingly colorful walls, beautiful murals, and this weird, totally out of place, inside bark garden (which I begged our photographer to stand in). This place has no salsa bar, and since this was a taco crawl, we didn’t really ask for any extras other than a TOTALLY delicious horchata and a Mandarin Jarritos. From what I gathered, not a lot of the folks working here speak a ton of English (except for items on the menu) but honestly, it doesn’t matter… you have hands that have fingers. Just point.
We let the wonderful woman behind the counter order whatever she thought was best and ended up with one chicken taco, one lengua taco, and one carnitas taco. OK, guys, the carnitas taco meat was SO perfect. There’s something massive to be said about meat that’s cooked to perfection. There wasn’t a lot to the taco but it really didn’t matter, the taste was pretty incredible. So soft and sweet and perfect.
4: Los Jarritos | 2509 Broadway, Sacramento
Outside seating! Literally the only spot we hit that had it, and considering you’re sitting on Broadway, the people watching is pretty amazing. SO many crazies! We had beers in chilled glasses (which I LOVE), and they have beautiful pastries, a pretty amazing salsa bar, and Mexican popsicles! BONUS: we ran into Sacto legend Steve Vanoni and hung with him for a bit.
We ordered the veggie taco, the adobada taco, and the fish taco. I’m not positive I saw a simple fish taco at the other spots we stopped by and wow! Los Jarritos’ fish taco is totally fantastic. Sour cream, veggies, simple, and GREAT. I’d go back for the fish taco for sure.
5: Ay Jalisco | 900 Jefferson Blvd # 130, West Sacramento
This was our only West Sac stop (keeping in mind we’re limited to 5 stops), and the atmosphere is kind of bland but the staff was SUPER friendly and rad. For some reason, I wasn’t expecting too much from this place, but holy moly, I was WRONG!
For our last stop, we ordered the carnitas, al pastor, and buche tacos and an agua de jamaica (Hibiscus tea). The tacos came out looking pretty bare, but OH MY GOD: the meats were easily the best we had on our rounds. Super flavorful and juicy, the al pastor was our favorite but, all three were great! The carnitas had a perfect mouthfeel because honestly I’ve ALWAYS wanted to use that word in a published article. So yeah, MOUTHFEEL. My mouth was feeling these. I’m super stoked for summer nights hitting up this West Sac spot then heading over to Sail Inn for tropical cocktails and catching a Rivercats game!
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