MenuPlease at Los Gordos: Offal Isn’t Awful

  

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As noted before in this space, Redding seems to have more Mexican restaurants per square inch than any other town in the Sacramento Valley. If anyone can come up with a reasonable explanation, please speak up. This is not a complaint, you understand, just a query: we love Mexican food and eagerly seek out new, authentic places and hope for their success. Taqueria Los Gordos opened about two years ago at the corner of Pine and Tehama, in a space long occupied by the Far East Cafe for many years, and then various take-out places came and went.

Femme de Joie was intrigued by the opening of a Mexican restaurant one block from the 10-plus-years-old and successful La Cabana. She assumed the owners must be doing something to set themselves apart, and indeed they are. Los Gordos leans toward the more rustic, authentic dishes. Yes, they have tacos, burritos, enchiladas, etc., but it's the ingredients that are definitely interesting and less Americanized than their neighbor‘s offerings. In addition to carne asada, chile verde, carnitas and pollo asado, you can also get lengue (tongue), chorizo, buche (pig's stomach) and tripitas (tripe).

Now stop those gagging noises. You've never tried it, have you? Or if you did, it was probably stinky and badly cooked. Americans are offal-phobic, and more's the pity: cooked with gusto and skill, those bargain parts of the animal make delicious, if full-flavored, eating.

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Interior of Los Gordos. Order at the counter and help yourself to an assortment of house-made salsas, pickled jalapenos, hot carrots and fresh radishes. They'll bring your order to your table.

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Chips with pico de gallo, salsa verde and mild salsa.

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Al pastor enchilada, tripitas taco, rice and beans, $6.49.

Al pastor, crisp niblets of pork along with bits of fat and skin, was a bit on the dry side but had good pork flavor. The tripitas was delicious: lightly breaded and fried, the strong flavor tamed a bit but still recognizable, with that characteristic chewy texture. The taco itself, made with two soft corn tortillas barely encasing the generous filing, was about half the size of what Americans think of as a taco, a notion firmly implanted by Taco Bell and its ilk. Refried beans were housemade, creamy and fresh.

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On another visit M. de Joie tried the Super Burrito with lengua (tongue), $6.49. This is a huge burrito for the money and it was more than enough for lunch. The tongue was simmered until tender and diced. Its mild flavor got a bit lost with all the other ingredients; the sour cream was overwhelming. The carne asada or another more assertive filling might be a better choice in the burrito, or skip the sour cream altogether.

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Taqueria Los Gordos is one of the few local restaurants to offer ceviche, which M. de Joie is very fond of, but unfortunately she cannot recommend it. This ceviche tostada ($2.79) appeared to have been made the day before or perhaps before that. The fresh textures and colors had faded; the main tastes were lime and hot chile and the fish itself was mushy.

Overall, Femme de Joie likes Taqueria Los Gordos and suggests it as an authentically Mexican and inexpensive way to become acquainted with some of the less popular (among Americans) parts of the pig and cow. If you can't quite bear to sample buche, go anyway and try the chicken or carnitas. Warm up slowly to the other items.

Taqueria Los Gordos, 1400 Pine Street, Redding (corner of Pine and Tehama). 530-242-6224. Also at 5200 Churn Creek Road, Redding, 530-222-5081. Open 9:30 AM to 9:00 PM seven days a week. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Vegetarian and vegan options. Cash, credit and debit cards. Beer. On-street parking.

Femme de Joie's first culinary masterpiece was at age 4, when she made the perfect fried bologna sandwich on white bread. Since then she has dined on horse Bourguignon in France, stir-fried eel in London, and mystery meat in her college cafeteria, but firmly draws the line at eating rattlesnake, peppermint and Hamburger Helper. She lives in Shasta County at her country estate, Butterscotch Acres West. She is nearly always hungry. Visit MenuPlease for more.

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11 Responses »

  1. Yet another fabulous review by our local expert. I've been wanting to try this place but wanted to hear more about it before exploring. Now I have, and I will!

  2. Thanks for a great review Femme! My husband and I love Los Gordos, but we have found the one located on Churn Creek to be better, fresher, and home of some incredible soups!

  3. We always go to the Los Gordos at the corner of Bechelli and Churn Creek (in the shopping center behind the gas station). We've never had anything we didn't like. My favorite is the super quesadilla with grilled chicken.

  4. carnitas tacos, jefe. always. :)

    (not the super tacos, just the meat, salsa, cilantro and onions......)

  5. Sorry..I made a mistake in giving directions to the other Los Gordos. They are located at the end of Churn Creek (where it stops going south and turns east - at South Bonnyview) behind the Valero gas station, in the shopping center.

  6. Their carna asada tacos are great and a deal $1.99. Being a SF Native, this is the closet place in Redding that can almost compare to the great taqueria's in SF and it's easy on your wallet. I don't even go to the mexican restaurants in Redding, most of them barely come close to average and are not authentic mexican. A close second is Guadalajara, they serve quality meat and their food is fresh.

  7. Oh, sounds really good, Femme. Just wonder if it is really spicy. Will try the one on Churn Creek. The directions given by Jim tells me right where to find it.

    • Dear pmarshall,

      The food itself is not spicy hot. At the salsa table, there are jalapenos and salsas of varying heat to add as you see fit. You can take little cups of the salsas back to your table and see which one(s) appeal to you. The pico de gallo (the chopped fresh salsa) and the green are mildest; the pureed red salsas are hotter. Proceed with caution.

      Cordially,

      Femme de Joie

  8. I have enjoyed Los Gordos since they opened. I too like the Churn Creek location better than the downtown one. I like Mexican food and most of the local restraurants are good and have dishes they do better, but the hard thing is discovering the secrets.

    In every type of restaurants, too many times the special is something they got too much of and need to unload instead of a new dish they are hoping will be well received and added to the menu.

  9. I've been a huge fan of Los Gordos, and was so happy they opened up closer to me! My favorite is their Carnitas Super Burrito (which i always end up splitting with someone). It's the best burrito I've found in redding that has all the flavor but not too much heat.

  10. I love this little place. Very authentic, and inexpensive. Not everything is great, but it's all been very good, and it is dirt cheap.

    Most interesting experience there - went with a friend and got a burrito, which was very large. I ate about half of it. Since we were going to the Improv show that night, I wasn't going to take the leftovers and have them sit in the car for a couple hours.

    I was waiting for my companion to come back from the restroom when a man very politely approached me and asked if he could finish my meal. I gladly gave him all our leftovers and the chips we hadn't eaten.

    I could tell the staff was watching him, but since he was so polite, they allowed him to eat, and one of the girls even brought him a glass of ice water.

    I was impressed by their kindness.

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