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In December I made my way to Gonzales to try out Taqueria Valparaiso. The founder's newer place in Oakland, Saigon Deli Sandwich & Taco Valparaiso, had been in the NY Times and friends were asking me about the Gonzales original.
Set on a side street in downtown, Taqueria Valparaiso appears to be run by a mother-daughter team. Mom is at the stove doing the cooking. The daughter takes orders and helps with translations.
The handwritten part of the overhead menu boards highlighted fresh masa items: handmade tortillas as an upgrade for the tacos and gorditas.
A full list of meat fillings, including brains.
The gordita with al pastor pork, $3.25, was large but very plain. No cheese. No lettuce, cabbage or radishes. Just meat, chopped onion and salsa. Al pastor was tasty but too dry. The masa cake was made to order, but was still too tough. I had to ask for a knife and fork to tackle it.
The carnitas taco, $1.99, with tortilla hecha a mano was better. Dressed generously with roasted tomato salsa that had some kick to it, chopped-to-order onion and cilantro, this almost made up for the somewhat dry carnitas.
On the wall, I found this as evidence of Tony Torres early involvement here.
The highlight here would be the handmade tortillas available for tacos. Unfortunately, both meats I tried seemed stale. Other opinions?
35 4th St
Gonzales, CA 93926
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