A COMFORTING MEXICAN EATERY
In a world full of pseudo-Mexican restaurants (I’m looking at you Taco Time) serving cuisine named “mexifries,” taquería El Sabor constitutes an authentic and flavorful option close to SCC.
Located about thirty minutes away from SCC by foot, El Sabor has been my reliable source of comfort food since the beginning of spring quarter.
Samantha Estudillo, a friend of mine, introduced it to me. “I first went to El Sabor a long time ago, when an aunt’s boyfriend took me, my aunt and my mom to get tacos. They were amazing, so my mom and I just kept going back,” Estudillo said.
While the ambience and the layout of the restaurant aren’t anything to write home about (many people get their food to go), it’s the food that has made El Sabor a favorite with the locals.
It is also a relief to be able to loosen my tongue and speak to the staff in Spanish, who are all bilingual, and, most importantly, very kind and attentive.
(Note: If you’re not proficient in Spanish, please don’t try to be cute or funny and speak to the staff in Spanish. You’re just making their jobs harder, since they will understand your English perfectly.)
There’s a reason El Sabor has a constant stream of people coming through its doors. The food has never disappointed me. I’ve tried the tacos de carnitas, tacos de lengua (beef tongue tacos), the sopitos and the roasted chicken dinner (which comes with salad, beans and rice).
The tacos were fresh and full of flavor. I’ve long contended that no one on earth season their foods like Latin Americans, but that’s just the nostalgia and bias speaking.
Also, don’t be afraid of the beef tongue tacos. I’d never eaten beef tongue before, and I didn’t regret it.
The sopitos — thick corn tortillas topped with your meat of choice, beans and vegetables — are a good option for those on a tighter budget who still want to leave with their bellies full. The carne asada (roasted meat) in my sopitos was well seasoned and had a nice texture, and the mix of spices on top of the tortilla sprinkled with some lemon made for a delicious experience.
The roasted chicken dinner plate is the odd one out here. I didn’t think there was anything inherently wrong with it, but I did think the salad (tomato and lettuce) was a bit uninspiring and bland, and the ranch dressing did little to improve it. The chicken itself was well-seasoned but too dry for me, considering it was a chicken leg and not a breast. The beans, unfortunately, were not fresh and seemed to have had been stored for a while before coming to my plate, which took away from the quality of the plate in general.
As for the drink, you can’t go wrong with a cold, traditional glass of agua de horchata (made from rice, milk, water, cinnamon, sugar and vanilla).
El Sabor has decent prices, though I’d recommend against the chicken dinner — which will cost about $10. The plate of sopitos is, in my opinion, the best value for your money. That should land you at about $7 for a sufficiently filling and delicious meal. The tacos are a nice little add-on at about a dollar each, though the beef tongue tacos will cost you 50 cents extra.