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The Great Food Search: La Haciendita

IN THE February 22 ISSUE

FROM THE 2014 Articles,
andTerrance V. Mc Arthur,
andThe Great Food Search
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by Terrance Mc Arthur

Our roving food critic Terrance Mc Arthur continues his search for great food in Sanger and the surrounding communities. Check out more Great Food Search here!

It stands next to Academy Avenue in Sanger’s Southgate Center. It was once a Perko’s. For a long time, it was Austin’s and for a short time, it was The Ranch House. Now it has a new name and a new lease on life: Restaurant La Haciendita Mexican Food. I’ll tell you the truth; I didn’t expect much from this place. In the past, it was a basic, unsurprising eatery with basic, unsurprising food. I was really, really wrong.

Could you make tortilla chips this good by hand? Restaurant La Haciendita in Sanger can!

To me, the key is that there is love and pride in the food. It shows up in ways as simple as the homemade tortillas cut up and fried for the chips, and the salsa that’s so fresh…I could swear I heard the cries of terrified tomatoes coming from the kitchen! The salsa has an “Ooh, yeah” quality, but it won’t cause mayhem to your taste systems and there is more substance than fluid to it.

I had never heard of a sope (“so-pay”) before, but the highlight picture in the menu looked intriguing, so we decided to try this Mexican street food as an appetizer. They took a thick, handmade tortilla, deep-fried it to a donut-like crust and topped it with a choice of meats, cabbage, cilantro, refried beans, onion, crumbled cheese and a minty splash of lime…and a sope ($2.50) is born! Clap your hands and shout for joy, it’s goo-ood! I’ve been fond of albondigas, a meatball soup, for a long time. This one kept surprising me: celery, massive carrot slices, celery, a hunk of tomato, and potato. On top of that, there was rice in the meatball!

Super Sope! Look at the good stuff inside!

The new restaurant owners have obviously put a lot of work and effort into La Haciendita. The interior walls are a cheery orange, and the woodwork is a glossy red. Nice pictures and paintings adorn the walls, and the table settings of stoneware-style crockery add an extra flair.

The large dinner combos only cost $9.99, so it’s easy to have a good time and not murder your bank balance. Soft rice and creamy, smooth, stick-to-your-fork-thick refried beans come with a trio of items, including such options as Burritos, shredded-beef tostadas, chiles rellenos, chicken enchiladas, beef tacos and cheese enchiladas. The shredded beef looked like it had been torn asunder by Edward Scissorhands, the enchilada sauce was tasty and the rellenos put me into “Tastebud Heaven.” I forced myself to limit my gobbling to a portion of each dish, because I wanted to take leftovers to work for lunch to make everyone EN-VI-OUS! I don’t know if it worked; I was too busy eating in the staff room to notice. My daughter (the picky eater), on the other hand, munched her way through her half of the order with a blissful smile on her face.

You got your Cheese Enchilada, your Chicken Enchilada, and your Shredded Beef Taco...RIGHT HERE!

This is how much I liked La Haciendita–I took my wife for a Valentine’s Day dinner!

Restaurant La Haciendita Mexican Food is at 1845 Academy in Sanger. For information, call 559-875-9227.

Check out more food articles and more of Terrance’s Great Food Search column in our Food Fun section.

La Haciendita on Urbanspoon

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Community Librarian for the WoW! (WithOut Walls) Division of the Fresno County Public Library, roaming the Valley to meet the public’s information needs.

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