I freakin’ love Mexican food, and man are we blessed here in California. I had been known to have a burrito a week when I worked up in Healdsburg. My fave go-to spot is Taqueria Guadalajara on the south end of Healdsburg Ave. Really good chile verde and carnitas, aquas and primo salsas and chips. It’s where all the vineyard workers go, so that’s the place for me.
Just off the Healdsbrg Square, there’s El Sombrero, but the chips and salsa really suck. El Farolito is a little more of a traditional gringo mexican experience with combinations galore. I used to love going to Taco Grande for their kick ass chile relleno burrito, but then I found a gnarly wad of chewed up old gum in the basket of chips–chip recyclers f’n suck! Mateos. Not a fan at all. Too damn expensive and the portions are miniscule.
Now that I don’t work up there anymore, I have renewed my quest to find the best Mexican Food in the Bay Area. (All you haters out there, try these three places first before you start bitching about so and so taqueria in the Mission being better.)
3) Tacubaya in Berkeley on Fourth St. From the same people that brought you Dona Thomas (which I do not like as much surprisingly). Really great taqueria although the ambiance is upscale food court. The dishes have a complexity of flavor that is off the charts. The standouts are the Niman Ranch beef tongue taco and the kabocha squash tamale wrapped in banana leaves.
2) Juanita Juanita in Sonoma on Arnold Drive. The best mexican food made by a gringo not named Rick Bayless. The chips and green salsa … HOLY SHIT are worth the price of admission alone. For me it’s all about the chile verde plate. And the rice and beans are absolutely to die for. Just remember to bring cash or you’ll be running across the street to the mini mart.
1) El Molino Central in Agua Caliente/Boyes Hot Springs. This place is my new found love. Is it truly that much better than the other two? Probably not, but she still has that new car smell. It is a totally new experience. The menu just oozes with old grandma authenticity. This is not your everyday taqueria. They make their own tortillas and have Blue Bottle Coffee for God’s sake. The Tamales have the tenderest masa I have ever had. The Enchiladas were the same half moon cooked in sauce and fat style that I had on my first trip to Puerto Vallarta. Talk about rekindling some long lost food memories. To top it off, they have the BEST guacamole I have ever had. The aguas aren’t too sweet; they have beer and several wines AND you get to eat outside. Check it out on your next gorgeous day in the Wine Country!