Nestled in secluded Old Towne Placentia, virtually another world unto itself. Open for 40 years in the same location, closed for 4 years after a fire, now extensively remodeled and refitted, Tlaquepaque is open again. Salut! Fabulous Mexican cuisine in a delightfully charming setting that harkens back to my years living in Mexico.
Margaritas – Wonderful. Nice-sized (10 oz.). Although not overpowering, I needed only one. $6
Chips & Salsa – Fresh, hot, crispy and of medium thickness. Made from superior corn tortillas that taste just shy of handmade. Delightfully fresh, vibrant salsa with a nice punch. I didn’t even consider asking for the “hot”, tomatillo or any other. Great combo.
Menudo – Perhaps the best I’ve ever had, and I’ve enjoyed many. Serious menudo with three types of tripe and pata (trotters and tendon) in a slightly pungent, sinfully rich and buttery tasting broth. No hominy. I surmise that the stock was made with beef marrowbones, slowly cooked for a good, long time. One slurp and I was enchanted. The tripe was perfectly tender and the pata was easily freed from the bone. The real deal. Simply exquisite. $5.99
Chilaquiles – Superb. Choice of rojo or verde – mild, medium or spicy, with or without chicken. Delicious verde rendition obviously made using the same aforementioned tortilla chips. Two eggs on top, perfectly fried over easy as requested. An underlying convergence of slightly sweet and notably spicy surprised at first but became more engaging with each fork full. In fact, I would have appreciated a bit more sauciness. $5.99
Rice – Excellent. Very very light tomato base, seasoned with a bit of garlic and enhanced by a smattering of sautéed onions and veggies. Savory, homespun flavor.
Beans – Yes, indeed! Cooked with manteca (lard) and gently laced with cheese. Outstanding flavor and texture.
Service – Exceptionally friendly and attentive without being overindulging. Offered a free refill on my menudo. As great as it was, I respectfully passed after scraping and leaving my plate and bowl as clean and dry as a bone.
IMHO, Tlaquepaque is better than it was pre-closure and now tops El Faralito’s (up the street) versions of everything that I tried. I will likely return within days to further my foray into its menu.
101 W Santa Fe Ave
Placentia, CA 92870