You’d think this is going to be a negative review at yelp or a warning. Perhaps it can best be described as a recommendation to enjoy… at your own risk.
I grew up eating street food never knowing, and eventually, never worrying about basic food handling safety standards…of any kind. Odd is that in the present I am quite the germophobe; number one thing our guests rave about our place is its cleanliness. We feel our guests should feel not only comfortable but also relaxed, that the owners who really care for them and the place took their time to ready it for their visit.
Richard and I being customer service oriented or having a hospitality mindset, have grown a discriminating taste in food and experiences associated with food and food handling. As of the present we have 2 exceptions to our rules as to which establishments make it to our list of what we’re willing to enjoy ourselves. One of those exceptions is El Gran Taco.
I have, with regular frequency, eaten the most authentic tasting street Northern-Mexican food from El Gran Taco. I am not antagonizing nor disproving any negative Yelp reviews they have, but, regarding safe food handling practices, I am constantly dreading the impending health violation I’m about to witness because… I am yet to witness it. The fact that I haven’t, doesn’t mean that others didn’t. In appearance the place has zero ambiance and the owner has zero Americanized customer service skills which for us experienced street Mexican food eaters is what’s expected. The grease build-up on the walls and surfaces does not inspire much confidence in one at all, and the parking is not only a hassle, is simply non-existent.
So how dare I add their establishment to our concierge page? Because the flavor of their meats is beyond borders. Rich and I have enjoyed their Tortas Cubanas (prior to our present Keto days) , their asada tacos, their tacos de trompo (marinated fatty steak stacked in the shape of a top cooked in a vertical gyro rotisserie), their excellent tasting tripe menudo with pork trotter upon request, their astoundingly flavorful salsas and our all time favorite, drum roll please…
Carnitas by the pound! Yes, you read right, carnitas by the pound! They let you choose even if you want some buche or not, which I do, but if you don’t like chunky fatty pieces, then just tell them lean.
Carnitas by the pound is available Saturdays and Sundays only, call them up ahead, not to “have it ready” for you, cause call or not, they’re gonna make you wait for it anyways…standing there, staring at the meats… focus on the meats, don’t look at the wall…don’t try making small talk with the owner either, that’s just gonna be awkward… Call them ahead just to make sure they do have it and place your order. Park somewhere near, walk there, get, your grub, pay, walk out and you’ll be just fine. Stick to the process or it will be a “NO CARNITAS FOR YOU! Come back, one year!” experience.
As any authentic street food “service provider”, El Gran Taco does not count with a website nor an on-line menu…nor take-out menus to speak of. The wall says it all… (read it fast though!) But Yelp’s got a page on them and here we list their address and their phone number, restaurant hours? At their convenience, so just check with them.
El Gran Taco Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/el-gran-taco-sonoma
40 Calle del Monte, Sonoma, CA 95476
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