Food Talk Friday: Mexican Food in Sanger, California

sangerI’ve traveled to the small valley town of Sanger several times in the last month or so. Once was for a wedding. Twice was for work. All three times, I had Mexican food. Since Mexican is one of my favorite cuisines, I was a happy girl every time I was in Sanger.

First up was Cristal’s, part restaurant, part bakery. You can get delicious cheese enchilada’s to eat there and some Mexican pastries to go. The enchiladas were full of gooey cheese and the rice and beans were delicious. The beans were firm, not mushy, always a good thing. Look up “casual ambiance,” and you’ll find a picture of the Cristal dining area. Formica tables with attached chairs in a room lined with shelves full of pan dulce. Lunch was delicious and I had a place to recommend in Sanger.

Two weeks later we attended a wedding just outside of Sanger that was catered by a Mexican restaurant/taco truck. Ocampos provided the food. The owner is Felipe and he was warm and attentive to everyone in the line. The carne asada was roasted, then carved, then seared on the grill. The tacos were soft and the toppings plentiful. Cabbage, lime, peppers, pico de gallo, guacamole. All available and fresh and delicious. The wait staff was personable and seemed to be having as much fun as the wedding guests.

Earlier this week I traveled to Sanger again and this time my guide took me to Velasco’s. Slightly (very slightly) less casual than Cristal’s (they boast booths as well as tables with moveable chairs,) Velasco’s served excellent food. The first time I try a new Mexican place, I usually order an enchilada and a taco. The taco was a bit greasy, but it had a good crunch without shattering at the first bite. The enchilada sauce was excellent, no metallic after-taste like I sometimes get. The service was attentive and I thought the prices were good. Lunch for three (two drinks) was under $25. Under $30, with the tip.

I’ve talked in the past about my very favorite Mexican place, Javier’s. None of these three will edge Javier’s out just yet. But I’m willing to go back and let them try.

Do you have a favorite cuisine? Where do you go when you need a fix?

Food Talk Friday: Javier’s

Fresno and the Central Valley is full of great Mexican food. You can’t swing a stuffed tamale without hitting a taco truck, fast food Mexican, or a sit down restaurant.

Javier's, from
Javier’s, from

Stud Muffin first took me to Javier’s years ago when he worked in Fresno. I loved it from the first bite. I don’t get there very often because it’s as far from me as it can be and still be in Fresno.

Last week we went to lunch and I requested Javier’s. Stud Muffin knows I love it, but he didn’t feel as strongly about their food as I did. Until yesterday. He kept saying, “This is better than I remember.” I kept sighing and eating.

The chips are light and crispy, thinner than any other tortilla chips I’ve had. The salsa isn’t hot but it has spice and flavor and is delicious. The tacos were amazing. The tortilla is thicker than what the chips are made out of, so it stands up to each bite and doesn’t fall apart. The ground beef enchiladas tasted rich and beefy. Stud Muffin said they tasted like they were made with shredded beef instead of ground.

Yes, it’s “Americanized” Mexican food. Stud Muffin’s standard is if there is lingua on the menu. And there’s not. But he enjoyed his food anyway, so that’s a ringing endorsement.

I’m so glad that he loved last week’s lunch. Maybe I’ll get to go back more often than every two to three years.