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!
Last month, the Great Food Search went Taco Hunting, and I bagged some good ones, but I kept hearing about other places and other tacos, so, in our quest for news you can eat, Kings River Life brings you “Tacos, Part 2.”
A “taqueria” is a little place that sells Mexican food. Most places are food-to-go, or nigh unto a food truck. A few places are full-scale restaurants. Some are parts of markets or “carnicerias” (meat markets). Some menus have a large variety of dishes offered, while others give you a choice of tacos, tostadas, and going somewhere else. One place may just fill your belly, while the next one could fill your soul.
Las Cabanas Taqueria, 2636 Jensen Ave, Sanger:
Next to a Me-n-Ed’s pizza place near Jensen and Bethel in Sanger, Las Cabanas is a little bit dark, but the food is a whole lot good. Some taquerias are all about the meat. For me, the tacos at Las Cabanas are all about the sauces. On a beef taco, the meatiness is enhanced. The green sauce is friendly fire that awakens the taste, but doesn’t burn. The double-layer tortillas keep things held together, and there’s enough room for a family sit-down meal.
La Costenita Carniceria y Taqueria, 766 L St., Sanger:
It’s a meat market. It’s a store. And…in a little corner next to the carniceria display case…it’s one of the busiest walk-away food spots in Sanger. The tacos are double-walled, and the meat is tucked in with a layer of veggies and greens. People line up for the food, here, just east of Sanger’s railroad tracks, and people are so driven to get here that you have to be careful crossing the street. Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the tacos!
What does “La Costenita” mean? From looking at several translating programs, I think it means “Little Female Coastal Dweller,” or “Beach Babe.”
Las Espuelas Carniceria & Taqueria, 1614 G St, Reedley:
Down at the south end of Reedley’s downtown, a look-at-me orange building wedges a little market with a produce section alongside a wake-up-and-smell-the-salsa taqueria. ”Espuelas” are “spurs.” The beef makes you say “Holy Cow,” because it’s so heavenly. The green sauce grabs your taste buds like a microphone and sings “La Bamba.” The single-layer tortillas mold around the fillings, soft and pliant, and the scent fills your car, saying, “You don’t really want to share this with your family, do you? I didn’t think so.”
Taqueria Zihuatanejo, 9942 E Manning Ave, Selma:
North of Selma at the corner of Manning and McCall, is a friendly little taqueria/convenience store in the building that used to house (I kid you not) the S & M Market (I never went in, then, but always wondered if the peanut butter was next to the whips and chains). The tacos are garnished with cabbage, cucumbers, and radishes, and the cook is busy but friendly.
What I Think:
I liked the sauces at Las Cabanas, the garnishes at Zihuatanejo, the flavors at Las Costenitas, and the meat at Las Espuelas. My all-around winner is probably La Costenita in Sanger. However, if my air conditioning wasn’t working, and I was trying to get my family out of the house, I would head for Las Cabanas, sit down, and eat.
P. S. – My Spanish isn’t very good, but I get sparkling smiles and twinkling eyes when I try to order and pronounce as correctly as I can. It probably doesn’t speed the service, but it gives them something to talk about when I’m gone.