O contrast, thy name is Mexican food.
The same day last week the Sturdy Wench and I were served lunch heavy on vitamin Bland at Cochinito Contento in Fresno, we ate dinner at Velasco's in the nearby tiny mountain town of Auberry and we so enjoyed the textures and flavors.
My chili Colorado (4.25) and shredded beef burrito (3.95) were good-sized but not obscene, with a delicious flour tortilla wrapped around fresh-tasting, perfectly-cooked beef in both. The chili Colorado was a dark brick red sauce, fragrant with, I believe, adobo and with a nice background hint of cinnamon. The shredded beef was free of gristle, bone or fat and was also well seasoned. The beef was flavorful and juicy. Each burrito: A. I had to take home half the shredded beef burrito as I was too full to eat it. It made a yummy breakfast!
The chips (factory made, the friendly waitress said they didn't have the kitchen space to devote to making them) were thin and crispy and adequate. Grade: C. The salsa was a cruda, with plenty of fresh chopped tomato, onion, cilantro, jalapeño, some garlic. I think there was lime juice in it as well but I wasn't sure. Very nice, tasted as though it were made just an hour previously. Grade: A.
Velasco's in Auberry looks like a dive, which is unsurprising because it is. The decor, seating and tables are about as minimum-wage as you can get (faux marble 50s dining tables, inexpensive kitchen chairs, uneven floor, art was a few serapes nailed to the wall), and there's lots of hand-letterd signs on the walls: "Our liquor license does not allow us to sell beer before 4:00." (Nearby school.) "Complimentary chips and salsa for each table, second bowls are 75 cents each for chips and 50 cents for salsa." I was halfway expecting "No credit, don't ask" but didn't see it. The bathroom is primitive at best but usually fairly clean and stocked.
Our waitress was Rachel, very friendly, informative, efficient and the only waitress there that night, which was okay because the restaurant seats about 30-35 people.
Tonight we ate at Velasco's in Prather, whih has the same menu but seats more and is a bit more "restauranty" inside, yet the owner still loves her hand-lettered signs. The food was just as good, and I had a fish taco (2.95), which was excellent: Hot, crispy fish with cold sliced cabbage, a mayonnaise-based dressing in a freshly fried, semi-crisp corn tortilla that was delicious and still hot.
I recommend Velasco's any time you can eat there.
I like the thought of the Fresno 'hounds having a taco/burrito crawl at Don Fernando's and then at Velsaco's. If you're up for it, please email me.
33257 Auberry Rd
Auberry, CA 93602
29460 Auberry Rd #201
Prather, CA 93651-9719