"Never underestimate how much assistance, how much satisfaction, how much comfort, how much soul and transcendence there might be in a well-made taco and a cold bottle of beer."
~ Tom Robbins (Jitterbug Perfume)
863 Arden Way, Sacramento, CA 95816. (916) 641-8226.
Mmmm, tacos! Tacos are one of my favorite foods--when done right. Trust me they can be done wrong- poor tortilla to filling proportions, bastardized BBQ-ing of the meat or the ultimate-- food poisoning (yep, it's happened to me before folks). So when I started hearing all the initial chatter about Chando's Tacos, I wasn't too quick to get my hopes up. However, when numerous friends started hyping it and even my own neighborhood mailman started extolling the virtues of Chando's I figured it sounded like a solid choice and that it was time to trek out there and check it out. So for one of our date nights, Mr. S. and I headed to Chando's.
Lisandro Madrigal's family-owned business is a small well-kept, cheery-colored taqueria on Arden Way in the midst of several industrial buildings and across from the Old Lumberjack. Look for the giant BBQ outside with smoke and delicious smells wafting from it...you can't miss it. Orders are placed at the window on the right and picked up at the window at the left. The staff was extremely friendly and I loved chatting with the older gentleman running the grill as we waited for our order; although, I kept thinking, "Grill faster! Grill FASTER!!" (Sorry but my stomach was grumbling and I was starving...almost like a "zombie-eat-your-brains" kind of hungry.) Both Mr. S. and I had decided to go with the three taco combo that came with a drink for $6. With the combo you can mix and match the street tacos. We tried the fish, steak carne asada, pork adobada and the grilled chicken tacos. ¡Ay, caramba! They were all amazing! The charbroiled steak carne asada was cooked flawlessly and was extremely juicy. The pork adobada, which they cook upright on a rotisserie slowly, is succulent and seemed to denote a subtle pineapple flavor. The chicken tacos were cooked in achiote, super moist and sported a nice citrus tang. But our favorite was the fish tacos...tilapia marinated in a homemade citrus juice sauce and then thrown onto the grill to sizzle--it was wonderful. I'm used to fish tacos being made from fish that's a bit denser like mahi mahi or halibut but Chando's makes the tilapia work perfectly. Although we didn't get a chance to try the other tacos, it looks like Chando's offers veggie, lengua, buche, birria (from beef, not the traditional goat) and pork carnitas. Tacos aren't the only thing on the menu though, Chando's also rocks some terrific tortas, burritos and yes!--mulitas. By the way, word has it that Chando's is working on bringing all of these scrumptious eats to the Grid via food truck soon (fingers crossed). In the meantime they do some catering in addition to running the modest little taco shop.
So now that the dog days of summer are encroaching, take the short jaunt to Chando's. It's the perfect place to meet up with friends - you can indulge in some cheap but tasty eats and knock back a horchata all while relaxing to some festive (salsa?) música on the outdoor patio.