La Tapatia Mexican Restaurant and Cantina

La Tapatia Mexican Restaurant and Cantina is an authentic Mexican restaurant in Concord California.

In planning my trip to California I had two or three restaurants I wanted to eat at. Having lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for a number of years, I knew I wanted to visit some of my favorite haunts, schedule permitting. La Tapatia was at the top of my list. You can tell by the crowd whether a restaurant is serving authentic food or not. On the night I visited, more than half the diners were Latino. So then the question became, are they still as good as they was?

La Tapatia Chile Colorado
La Tapatia Chile Colorado

On the East Coast, I don’t see Chile Colorado on a lot of menu’s. Chile Colorado is one of my favorites when dining in a Mexican restaurant. So, my choice this evening was simple. I have probably had this dish more than 100 times. On this particular evening something was off. I couldn’t be certain if the chef was having a bad night or have they switched to lower quality meats. I realize inflation is hitting restaurants hard and they have been dealing with the increase in cost in various ways. I can’t say what the issue was here. The flavor was not bold, in fact the sauce seemed grainy. The meat was chewy and fatty. The highlight of the meal was the re-fried beans and rice. I will give them the benefit of the doubt and call it a bad night. I have too much history with this restaurant to judge them on one so-so meal.

La Tapatia Mexican Restaurant and Cantina has been a Concord Staple for more than 20 years.  If you are in the mood for authentic Mexican food, I would consider making the trek. They have been too good, for too long to judge them on this one meal. If you have eaten at La Tapatia or have a favorite Mexican restaurant, leave a comment.

El Rancho Mexican Restaurant

Step Across the Boarder in Hanover PA

Almost every Mexican restaurant calls themselves authentic. El Rancho in Hanover Pennsylvania is truly an authentic Mexican restaurant. The food is fresh. The flavors are reminiscent of what I have eaten in Mexico. 

Walking into El Rancho, the first thing I noticed was the clientele was predominantly Hispanic. Almost has soon as I was seated a Latino youth soccer team walked in. This was a positive sign that the food was going to be not only authentic, but good. I was schooled years ago on how to tell if an ethnic restaurant was authentic or not. To determine if a restaurant is authentic, just look at who is eating there. No Hispanics in a Mexican restaurant, it’s probably not authentic.

There is a theme when it comes to the food at El Rancho, “Fresh!” The Pico de gallo served with the chips was freshly prepared. Nothing out of a can here. I asked for spicy salsa on the side and was pleasantly surprised by the kick. Not a three alarm fire, but definitely hot. If you like spicy with flavor you can’t go wrong.

El Rancho Enchalados
El Rancho Enchiladas

I must admit, looking at their menu there was plenty of meals I have never had, and some cases heard of. Looking at my Enchilada plate, I would be hard pressed to find another restaurant that serves their Enchiladas covered with fresh lettuce and dice tomatoes. Taking my first bite, I was pleasantly surprised at the many taste sensations I was experiencing. Most importantly, the flavor is excellent. There was nothing overpowering, you could taste each element.

The food at El Rancho Mexican Restaurant should get five stars.  This is the first Mexican restaurant that I have eaten at on the East Coast that actually serves authentic food. Nothing out of a can here. If you miss the taste of authentic Mexican food, then El Rancho Mexican Restaurant in Hanover, PA should be your destination. If you have been to El Rancho or have a favorite Mexican restaurant, leave me your comments.