Due to my diet, I don’t eat out much these days, but I recently did and thought I’d share some Latino flare for those on the lookout for some new eateries in 2021.
Being Mexican-American, I grew up with a mother who knew how to throw down in the kitchen with plenty of incredible meals (and the occasional questionable ones) such as pozole, gorditas and enchiladas. It’s a definite treat whenever I get to visit and she cooks some of these flavorful dishes.
Whenever I crave any of them, I always look for authentic restaurants that can come close to mom’s cooking. Sorry, but none have beaten her yet. But in the search of childhood nirvana, I’ve stumbled across a couple of local restaurants that hold their own.
Most of these are small hole-in-the-wall joints that you wouldn’t think twice about. A couple you might even miss completely while driving or walking by. These five restaurants are in no specific order and I order something different at all of them.
1. Toti’s Pupuseria, 306 E. 7th St., Hanford
A local favorite, Toti’s never fails to deliver tastiness with their varying pupusas. The revuelta, which contains mixed cheese, refried beans and pork meat, is definitely the best. All three elements combine into perfect harmony with each bite. Add the salsa and my day is made.
That being said, all of their more than half dozen pupusas are delectable. The queso con frijol and loroco con queso are two of my other favorites.
Their drinks are also vastly underrated with horchata and the ensalada being my favorite. Try them out because you won’t be disappointed.
2. Jalisco Corn Tortilla Factory, 375 Campus Drive, Hanford
This one is simple. Just get the burrito with carnitas, rice, beans and jalapenos. They don’t serve much else, but what they do is more than enough. The savory carnitas always have me asking how they get a perfect soft texture with so much flavor packed inside.
It’s a standard burrito, but it’s done right. Also, make sure to keep your eyes open when looking for this place because it’s tiny.
3. Cisneros Taqueria, 212 Hanford Armona Road, Hanford
Some of the best tacos I’ve ever had come right from this little joint. Tacos al pastor with salsa, cilantro, cabbage and jalapenos is the move. I refuse to pay for anything in cash, but I gladly bring my bills to Cisneros, which is cash only. Don’t forget to get a side of beans, sliced radishes and a little extra salsa to go.
4. Taqueria La Esquinita, 10891 14th Ave., Armona
Before my diet, I went to TLE (as I call it) about three to four times a week. Sometimes I’d go for lunch and dinner. Yes, it’s that good.
Tacos, burritos, quesadillas and tortas are all a good choice here. My favorite was always the tacos with carnitas or a torta with carnitas. I’ve never had one bad order here — an impressive feat considering how often I used to go here.
Side note: You can even buy the meat per pound if you want to make your own food at home.
5. La Parrilla Mexican Grill & Taqueria, 150 E. Hanford Armona Road, Lemoore
Plenty of goodness here, but I recommend two items: tacos with chorizo and potato tacos. The latter might sound odd if you’ve never had them, but believe me when I say you will want to go back and grab a dozen more after tasting just one.
La Parilla’s potato tacos have a crispy tortilla with sour cream, cilantro and a salty taste that brings the entire thing to life. At most, I’ll eat four tacos and that’s a pretty rare thing these days, but I kid you not when I say I’ve eaten six of these things in one sitting … on multiple occasions.
The tacos with chorizo is just smoking good. Perfectly cooked and seasoned, my mouthwatering appetite is always satisfied with these. In fact, both of these are so good that it’s not uncommon for them to run out before day’s end.
What are your favorite places to go? Do you order a specific dish at your favorite restaurant? I hope you try out a new local restaurant, whether it’s one of these or something different, and open up your taste buds to something new.
Noe Garcia can be reached at (559) 583-2431 or email@example.com. Follow Noe on Twitter at @noecarlosgarcia.
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