For my last MoM lunch I took a recommendation from a colleague who had the recommendation from a cousin by marriage who is from Mexico. The word was Taqueria El Taco was the closest thing to Mexican this person found in the area so it seemed like something worth trying.
It was in Anderson, so a 25 minute drive from home but I took the day off so there was no issue with time. The tiny little strip it is in is tucked out of the way off a main road behind a Best Buy and close to a Target. The interior is long and narrow with some booths and table to each side and one long bar height table running down the middle.
They take an interesting approach to service for a Mexican place but I think it helps them keep the personnel issues to a minimum. You go to the back and order at a counter and they give you a buzzer (placed in a cheap clear sandwich bag to keep the grubby hands of the last person from contaminating you) plus you get a bowl of chips, drink cup or drink if you ordered a bottled drink or horchata. Across from the order counter against the other wall is the Salsa Bar.
There were mild and hot red salsas, mild and hot verde salsas, black bean and corn salsa, limes, jalapenos and pico. I mixed some hot and mild tomato salsa and some mild salsa verde.
I grabbed a table and started my chip chow down. I’d chosen from the Antojitos section of the menu since that was billed a the “traditional dishes” section. Keeping it healthy-ish I went for the tequila lime chicken.
Another note here is the use of disposable containers and plasticware. If you are put off by that keep going but if it doesn’t bother you and you want some tasty food you’ll be ok. The tequila lime chicken is a grilled breast that has been butterflied so the chicken cooks faster and thoroughly. It was topped with a salsa of tomatoes, corn, pineapple, cilantro, onion and a tiny piece of grilled lime. Honestly the lime flavor was uneven and mostly subtle while the tequila was nowhere to be found. That last I count as a plus since I’m not a great fan of that particular drink.
The vegetables consisted of broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, yellow squash and a lone piece of zucchini. They were seasoned ok and were cooked soft but no mushy. The rice was standard issue Mexican rice. It was a good meal, filling and reasonably flavorful but I think there were better options for a good flavor punch. I saw later that you could get the tacos with corn or flour tortilla OR a lettuce wrap ( I initially mistyped that as crap which I’m sure many would say was accurate). I would definitely come back here if I was in Anderson but I don’t think I’m going to make a 25 minute drive just for this food.
After trying 4 different Mexican restaurants in 3 towns I have to say I’d be happy to visit any of them again but if I made any of them a go to it would be California’s Mexican Grill because it feels like the kind of place you could become a regular they knew by name and treated you like a friend as well as patron. Coming in second would be El Jimador in Clemson because I liked the food but also really like the way they decorated their interior. Overall I feel like this was a good experiment finding some better for me menu options and discovering new places to grab a bite.
I think I may have to try a Month of Chinese in the near future and see what I can dig my chop sticks into.