By Fernando Luna
If you are looking for some good old fashioned Mexican cuisine and happen to be in the city of South Gate, head over to Taqueria El Paisano. This Mexican eatery is owned by the Ortiz brothers: Roberto and Israel.
It has been in business for the last four years, established in 2007. They are the miracle workers cooking behind the walls of the kitchen for their loyal customers.
El Paisano has a very welcoming environment with decorations wall-to-wall illustrating Hispanic- American culture. They embrace their heritage by pinning up flags from various countries such as Mexico, the United States, Brazil, El Salvador and Spain. There are also pictures of Hispanic men and indigenous women that create a sense of familiarity, to those of that heritage. The walls are colored red give a sense of tranquility as if customers were on vacation in a country of Hispanic origin.
Their menu expands with a mixture of intriguing dishes. Their signature plate is the Molcajete. This consists of a combination of steak and chicken, with grilled vegetables such as bell peppers, onions and nopal (cactus,) all topped with consommé (broth) and a salsa made from scratch.
The food that is most frequently asked for there are the tacos. After all, it is a taqueria (taco stand). The tacos are served in a warm corn tortilla with your choice of either steak, chicken, pork, lengua (tongue), al pastor (pork marinated in red sauce) and cabeza (cow head). They are topped with chopped onion, cilantro and your choice of salsa. “The food that is ordered the most is obviously the tacos,” said Roberto. “We’re a taco shop, but the one that the people really rave about is the Molcajete,” he said proudly about the current success of his dish.
Although that might be true, there was another dish that is more appealing than the rest. It wasn’t only because it’s different, but because it sort of takes a personality of its own, tipped off by its name.
It is a dish called Mr. Burrito. Generous in its portion size, this dish begins as an oversized flour tortilla with rice and beans and your choice of any two meats on the menu. It is all wrapped in the tortilla and covered in both greenand red sauce. Mr. Burrito is then topped off with sour cream and guacamole (avocado salsa), served with a slice of tomato and thin layers of chopped lettuce.
It is definitely a must-try dish. A variety of mouth-watering scrumptous flavors burst out with every bite. From the sauce on the meat to the rice and beans covered in sour cream or guacamole, one never knows which combination of tastes will come next. The meat is tender and easy to chew with a satisfying taste. The experience at this taco stand is enjoyable and the ambiance is very soothing.
The employees are friendly and very courteous. El Paisano is open Sunday – Thursday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday – Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. and is located at 4322 Firestone Blvd., South Gate. For more information call (323) 569-4141.