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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Nacho Taco-Mi Tierra - Review #1

Nacho Taco Mexican Grill/
Mi Tierra Juice Bar

12161 Garden Grove Blvd
Garden Grove, CA 92843
(714) 636-7220

No known online directory listings

UPDATE: Appears to be closed now.
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Now, here's a place that caught my eye: a gas station that has not one but two Mexican restaurants in it and one of those two restaurants appeared to be a spinoff of a restaurant down south. This odd spot is on the northwest corner of the intersection of Harbor Blvd. and Garden Grove Blvd. in the parking lot of a Shell station. And, oh yeah, there's also a Subway in the same building.


I'd driven past here a number of times but finally stopped by a couple nights ago. As I parked and walked up to the building I saw that the logo for the "Mi Tierra" side looks just like the logo at the El Sabor de Mi Tierra in Laguna Niguel, except that this one is only a juice bar. (If anyone has any information on the connection between the two Mi Tierras please leave a comment.)


Once inside I went straight to the Mi Tierra side and ordered a berry smoothie. They just call it juice, but it's more like a smoothie, or more properly, a licuado. The workers acted like people don't normally order anything from the juice bar. That might be just because they are new. The large licuado came to $3.76.


Then I went over to the Nacho Taco side. Being part of a gas station and having a horrendous name like Nacho Taco I was half expecting them to pull a pre-made burrito out of a freezer and microwave it. I saw that they did have what is for all intents and purposes the "Gringo" menu, with enchiladas and burritos, etc.:


But, to my surprise, they also had a more authentic menu with tacos, tortas, chilaquiles, sopes, and huaraches:


Their sign with the special for the day said they had menudo so I ordered that but they told me they were out of it. Menudo is not one of those things you can whip up in a couple minutes.

They do, however, have a very good salsa bar (or "condiment bar" might be more appropriate here) with radishes, salsa, escabeche, jalapeños, lime wedges, cucumber chunks and more:


I ordered a cabeza taco (correct me if I'm wrong but I believe that means the meat for it comes from the cow's cheek). If you're looking to give some off-the-wall Mexican meats a try you might want to start with cabeza, as opposed to lengua, because it's the least off-the-wall as far as taste goes, and, as a cousin of mine said, it kind of tastes like roast beef. The taco came with cilantro and onions and a robust salsa that was more like a thick hot sauce:


That taco came buy itself but I also ordered a crispy potato taco and an al pastor huarache that came together:


Another meaning for huarache is "sandal" but I think the two meanings must be related because a huarache (in the food sense) is on a corn tortilla that's shaped just like the sole of a sandal. Then they're topped with your choice of meat, lettuce, sour cream and tomatoes. I'm still alive and in good health while writing this about five days after my visit so these tomatoes were not tainted with salmonella.

The total for my food from Nacho Taco came to $4.60. Makes it worth it to stop by even if you aren't filling up on gas. Or if you would rather put your $4.60 towards food than towards a gallon of gas. It might make a great bike ride destination.

I'm not sure how to rate this place. Do I compare it to other Mexican restaurants that are part of gas stations? What if I've never been to other Mexican restaurants that are part of gas stations? I'd say that my off-the-cuff rating is four Speedy Gonzaleses:

Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales Speedy Gonzales


Griffin said...

I've always wondered about this place when I drove by. I'm going to have to stop next time.

ChristianZ said...

Yeah, it's one of those places you can't help but wonder about.

Chubbypanda said...

Woot! Gas station eats!

ChristianZ said...

Just don't drink the gas.

melissa said...

Speaking of gas station eats, have you ever eaten at Los Primos inside the Shell station in Foothill Ranch? They're right on the corner of Bake and 241 I believe, across from the big Portola/Bake chopping center. I've heard their food is awesome and I was curious about your opinion.

ChristianZ said...

I haven't been there but we do have a guest review:

Los Primos