I like finding interesting or positive references to our community in unexpected places.
Saveur magazine, like it’s contemporaries Bon Appetit or Food&Wine or Gourmet, usually feature food and wine articles describing wine tasting trips through Tuscany from the back of a Vespa, or treks through Uzbekistan to experience the latest farm to table craze, wood-fired Yak knuckles.
However, in the May 2015 issue, a food writer and her chef husband took off on a low-overhead, high expectation Central California Taco Trip. What began in Bakersfield ended up in small-town USA, in that misplaced midwestern town we like to call home, Rio Linda.
Working their way up Highway 99 from Bakersfield, Sarah Deseran and husband Joe Hargrave make stops in Fresno and Turlock and Modesto and make their way to Arden Way, first speaking to Rio Linda local Chando Madrigal about his Chando’s Tacos.
Here’s that section of the article.
“First stop: Chando’s in Sacramento.
Owner Lisandro “Chando” Midrijal spent a decade in Tijuana while his dad ran a tortilleria there, but after his family moved to America, he grew up in Marysville, about 40 miles north of the capital. In 2010, after his father passed away, Midrijal left his job as a salesperson at Apple.
“I started by catering in people’s backyards,” he tells me. He grew the business into a modest window order operation and now runs three locations, popular enough that I’d been warned to get there early.
We’re greeted by the smoky scent of carne asada grilling on a parrilla.
Out back, the patio is furnished with tables and strung with party lights, making me wish it were a sweltering Sacramento summer night instead of a mild spring morning. I try every one of the six tacos on the menu.
They’re all fabulous, but it’s the Yucatán-style cochinita pibil—the pork shoulder dripping with brick red achiote-stained juice and topped with crunchy pickled onions and slices of habanero chiles—that gets me.
Joe coaxes me back into the car, and we drive for a half-hour to Taqueria Mi Lindo Apatzingan—a yellow-and-orange ’70s-style restaurant next to a laundromat, owned by the Hermosillo sisters from Michoacán, Mexico.
There, in the suburb of Rio Linda, I chase savory chicken tacos with a gargantuan stein of ice-cold, spicy michelada garnished with thick, chile-encrusted cucumbers and fat shrimp. The drink is almost a meal in itself.”
You can find the issue available to read online at The Internet Archive