Asadero Los Corrales
79710 California 111
La Quinta, CA 92253
This place is a real gem. I returned here after almost one year and they are still on the top of their game, that is if you are interested in the Mexican sub cuisine of the Pacific-bordered Sinaloan state. Most people associate Sinaloan food with mariscos or seafood due to its extensive coastline -which is also offered here- but since I haven't tried this part of the menu, I'll explain the side I do order from.
To me and based on what I've had, this place is a representation of what homestyle non-seafood based or "comida corrida" food in Sinaloa. A little background on Sinaloa, historically it was one of the area that genocide occurred on a widespread scale largely due to the weight of resistance the invading Spaniards encountered during the Conquista. It's because of this that you'll find a much simpler regional Mexican style of cuisine when you compare Sinaloa to states like Tabasco or Oaxaca where the large and consistent indigenous presence is seen all over the food (complex sauces, rare ingredients etc.).
In Sinaloa, the presence of the simple/straight-forward and (euro-introduced) meat-centric Spanish techniques prevail with the ever present masa taking the base. This is not vegetarian food for historical reasons of practicality. It can be considered a food of the rancho in Northern Mexico where livestock raising became the cash 'crop' and was less labor intensive than agriculture for entrepreneurial Spaniards and their waves of Mexican ancestors feeding the bellies of miners of the famous silver mines near by.
That being said this place has a finesse with their way of preparing delicious food that doesn't go unnoticed. I really like the minor flourishes like the condiment tray promptly brought to the table containing a classic smokey salsa de molcajete of roasted tomatoes and just the right amount of heat, a thin zippy avocado based sauce, pico de gallo, and essential garnish of sliced cucumber, radish and lime alongside the chips.
This is one of the few places that offers the Sinaloan couisin of Horchata, called Cebada. Its a refreshing slightly malty and sweet barley based aguafresca. All beers can come prepared in the michelada manner and even straight Mexican beers are accompanied by an ice chilled mug.
The fresh made sopes are wonderful topped with pickled red onion, a sprinkling of delightfully strong Mexican aged cheese, and crisp lettuce and are interestingly served with hot broth that is poured over the garnished corn cake. The tacos can be made with homemade tortillas, so when they ask make sure to get them. The lengua is a perfectly cooked al dente and not a smothered mess.
The tamales are what really stole the show here for me. The sweet corn are fantastic but its the pork that are as delicately made as if they were coming from your long lost Mexican grandma. They are perfumed by what I know is hand ground cumin giving a distinct almost Indian scent when they are unraveled from their corn husks. These are Sinaloan tamales, unique in that they mix the red chile sauce into the corn masa dough as well as coating the wispy shredded pork. I asked and they will be participating in the upcoming Indio Tamale Fest. I am almost certain they will win.
I really wish this place was closer to me in San Diego. Give it a try.