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Quezada Market in Santa Rosa

Melanie Wong | Oct 10, 2003 09:59 PM

This newish market is located in the middle of Santa Rosa’s “taco truck row” on Sebastopol Road. Until it too started cooking and serving prepared food outside, I didn’t pay much attention. The aroma of the pollo asado on the sidewalk grills drew me in.

The spritely proprietress greeted me warmly the first time I stopped by. She seemed to be everywhere at once – at the cash register, straightening the produce, outside checking on the cooks, or barking orders at the butcher. The hand of an owner working on the premise is evident in the neat-as-a-pin interior and the snap-to attitude of her employees. It’s not a supermercado, but has a little of everything you’d expect to find in a Mexican grocer. It also has some Central American foodstuffs in a separate freezer.

The silky horchata is house-made using rice and whole milk, not from a powdered mix. The seasonal fresa (strawberry) agua fresca is also delicious.

Tacos are larger and priced higher than the rest of the street. The meats are impeccable. The carne asada is cooked to order with a different twist. Coarsely cut marinated steak is flash-sauteed on the flat top. It is much juicier this way. Another time I was asked if I wanted it grilled or cooked this way again, so I tried the grilled version which had better flavor but was not as tender and juicy. Carnitas are the moist succulent type that pull apart in nubs. The pollo asado, sold as a half chicken plate with rice and beans, is cooked a little more than I would like, but still stays moist. The chickens are cooked in batches throughout the day to ensure freshness. Salsa fresca (pico de gallo) is top notch and very spicy with a blend of fresh jalapenos and yellow manzano chilis that add a fruity note. The red and green sauces are nothing special. Rice and beans are tasty and worth eating.

Other things I’ve purchased include a paleta called Frutelada – Strawberry (fresa) ice water bar, made by Fruta-Mex in Fairfield. It was a little more intense than La Michoacana brand but not that different. The manteca de la casa is snowy white and very pure. Also have tried TropiChampan (es Cola Champagne!) soda that reminded me of a fruity cream soda.

The family also owns markets in Novato and San Rafael. I had not visited it, but the Novato store is the flagship.

Quezada Market
700 Sebastopol Rd.
Santa Rosa
707-528-4999
Open from 8am to 10pm daily

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