Menuplease: A Little Slice of Paradise at El Paraiso

Generally Femme de Joie doesn’t linger long in Anderson. It’s a place she passes through on her way to someplace else. But recently she was bopping around the environs looking at thrift stores and second-hand junque places (junque being high-class junk) when, feeling peckish, she decided to take a chance on El Paraiso.

That location has seen a number of establishments come and go over the years. The only one M. de Joie recalls was The French Cafe, and since she never set foot inside it, couldn’t say for sure if it was actually French or not. There were a few others since then, none of which seemed enticing, but the colorful, lively exterior of El Paraiso called her in. Inside was apparently refurbished within the last couple of years: pleasant and clean, booths lining the eastern and southern walls under the windows, a few tables in the center, and a shiny bar across the room.

Quesadilla de cameron, $9.99, was well worth the money. An extra-large flour tortilla was filled with plenty of rock shrimp and a modicum of Monterey Jack cheese, then grilled just enough to slightly crispen the tortilla and melt the cheese. Too much cheese is a sin against fish dishes, but here there was just enough to hold the quesadilla together without obliterating the sweet taste of the shrimp. Serving size was generous enough to take part home. The refried beans were especially good – about half mashed and half left whole – and along with the rice was house-made.

The menu said that if you don’t see what you want, to ask and they’ll make it. M. de Joie asked for fish tacos and the friendly waitress said yes, sure, they could make that for $2.39 each. This was one of the better non-deep-fat-fried versions around, loaded with fresh chopped tomatoes, lightly grilled fish, onions and cilantro, and a spicy salsa verde on the side. Like the shrimp quesadilla, there was no unpleasant “fishy” taste. The grilled green onions were a great accompaniment to each bite of fish.

Amico del Signore was eager to try out El Paraiso with M. de Joie. Being a chile rellano afficiando, he ordered the special of the day, a chile rellano burrrito. The chile rellano was made from a fresh green chile (not the somewhat slimy one out of a can) and filled with cheese, deep fried and wrapped in a flour tortilla along with rice and beans, then covered with a chunky house-made tomato sauce and cojito cheese. Ridiculously cheap at $5.99, it may not have been authentic Mexican cooking, but each taste was distinct and flavorful, not at all greasy, and good value. Alongside the burrito, A. del Signore chose a shredded beef taco – made here with a flour tortilla, so if you prefer corn tortilla (as he does), be sure to specify. Still, it was packed full of tender shredded beef in a not-too-hot savory chile sauce with cool guacamole and sour cream.

Sometimes leaden chimichangas come to the table oozing oil, but this chicken chimichanga ($9.99) was light and crisp without any greasy overtones. Packed with beans, rice, and lots of shredded chicken, and topped with guacamole, sour cream, and pico de gallo & cojita, this was a very filling lunch that did not feel heavy.

El Paraiso is a great little place for lunch or dinner, offering a family-friendly atmosphere with daily specials that make dining affordable. The fare isn’t weighted down with too much sour cream or smotherings of cheese; tastes are light, fresh, and distinct. If you’re in Anderson, check it out; if you’re in Redding, take the drive south and enjoy this homey little place with good cooking…. or enjoy the same food in Redding, more about which soon.

El Paraiso Restaurant, 3310 West Center Street, Anderson, CA 96007. 530-378-1355. Open daily, 11:00 AM – 8:30 PM. Beer and wine. Cards, cash; no checks. Parking on-site. Vegetarian options. El Paraiso is on Facebook. Website and menu at http://www.elparaisoandersonca.com/

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 or send her an email at femmedejoiefood@yahoo.com.

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Chamberlain, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.

Femme de Joie
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 or send her an email at femmedejoiefood@yahoo.com.
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21 Responses

  1. Avatar 4catz4me says:

    Good grief! It's 5:50 in the morning and I'm drooling…….

  2. Avatar Canda says:

    Sounds absolutely delicious, and can't wait to try it! Thanks for this review. Even though I live in Cottonwood, I wasn't aware of El Paraiso.

  3. Avatar 2R's says:

    Yum.. My favorite food (too) We gotta try this P~Dub. Yes Im asking you out here. πŸ™‚ How about it?

    Great review.

    • Avatar 2R's says:

      Re-review.. Tried the resturant after reading this article..(curious, how the waitress didn't know about it),A day or two later,We ( πŸ™‚ ) tried it and it was overall favorable.. Food was pretty good,portion was pretty good..and like alot of things, the Potential is there for Growth and improvement. Good for Anderson,and Convienent while traveling down 273 or happen to be near the Fairgrounds..I still Favor Los Gordo's for a Taco Shop Downtown atmosphere etc..,But certainly say Try It.. Thank You for the article..

  4. Avatar Cheri Davis says:

    Another wonderful food review…..looks yummy….:)

  5. Avatar rmv says:

    Welcome to the Real Northern California!

    Common folks.:-)

    Good Food!:-)

    Real Northern California!:-)

    Glad you took some of your Valuable time to stop by!

    God Bless "Northern California" (and her children) ! πŸ™‚

  6. mouth watering…I may even go to Anderson to check it out!

    • Avatar rmv says:

      Thank You Barbara. πŸ™‚

      It isn't such a long trip, and it IS part of

      our wonderful "NORTHERN CALIFORNIA"! πŸ™‚

      God Bless America (and her children)! πŸ™‚

  7. Avatar Name says:

    Do they make their own tortillas?

    • Femme de Joie Femme de Joie says:

      Dear Name,

      No, they do not – the tortilla delivery truck was spotted in the parking lot.

      Thanks for reading,

      Femme de Joie

      • Avatar rmv says:

        and that is Real important? πŸ™‚

        God Bless America (and her children)!

        • Avatar Name says:

          Uh, yes, it is kind of important. It is very hard to find a place that makes their own tortillas these days…

      • Avatar Bill Smith says:

        Bummer…

        Yeah It's important.. When We WANT "athentic" they might should Be Homemade and GMO Free preferably..

        Oh well Atleast On On the Table..(what you might need to know)

        Blessing All..

        Happy fried eggs anyway !!

        (Friday)

        • Avatar Bill Smith says:

          "Whats.."on the table.. ooops

        • Avatar rmv says:

          bummer? πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

          "athentic" – no such word? πŸ™‚

          "might should be" – WOW πŸ™‚

          "On On" – another WOW πŸ™‚

          "fried eggs" – thank you, i love them. πŸ™‚

          "(Friday)" – got that right!! πŸ™‚

          God bless America (and her children)! πŸ™‚

          p.s. and Some people's use of the English language.

          • Avatar Bill Smith says:

            "Always a Critic" Hey.. There's a Resturant review title..

            My Apolopigies for the quick typing typo's..

            and THANK YOU for the sense of humor..on Happy (friday)..It slipped..

            -1.Authentic

            -1.We know,what's on..(The table)

            -1."might"should be..(not needed)

            πŸ™‚ God Bless Us..

  8. Avatar KarenC says:

    Thanks for the great review. I always love reading your perspectives on the restaurants. Your food photo shots were especially good. My mouth was watering all the way.

  9. Avatar Fuze says:

    Love El Paraiso in Anderson. Great tacos and tamales. I think they still have dollar tacos on Tuesdays (real Mexican tacos, not the Taco Bell type). And for a quick taste of El Paraiso, the same family also runs the "Romo's Tacos" lunch truck parked off 273 (north of Capri Motel) in Redding. Perhaps not the safest area in town, but safe enough for a quick taco or torta at lunch time.

  10. Avatar KarenC says:

    I did not get the comment about the safest area in town??? We went for lunch last week and found it delightful. Clean, bright, friendly place with good service and our food was good. We want to go back for another lunch soon. The food is presented well, and what we ordered was tasty. Actually brought two boxes home of food we could not finish and it was better the next day.

  11. Avatar Canda says:

    Karen C., I think Fuze was referring to the Ramo's Tacos lunch truck off 273 that was not in the safest part of town. I'm looking forward to trying El Paraiso, and I'm also happy Femme de Joie chose to visit this restaurant.