For better or for worse, all things must pass and with great sadness, I have to report that my favorite Mexican restaurant in Roseville, El Peñol, is now a thing of the past. The restaurant is located on the friendly grounds of Joseph's Auction Town, and as of January 30, 2012, Joseph's has closed their doors, and the tenants within the complex, including El Peñol, have been forced to move to other locations.
Photo: Sunday, January 29, 2012 finds the nearby vendors vacant from building "A" at Joseph's Auction town... but, as usual, El Peñol is doing a "landoffice" business.
Photo: Owner of the restaurant, Lourdes Sanchez ladles my helping of birria into a bowl, as her daughter, Eimelda Rodriquez, works the range, but seems to be having a good time, judging from her smile. Was it my charming personality, or my digital camera? I suspect it was my camera...
Photo: Raul Sanchez rings up another customer, on this busy Sunday morning. On this Sunday morning, El Peñol was packed with customers... could it be the sunny, 60 degree weather that brought customers out in full-force, or was is nostalgia? For me, it was all of the above, PLUS the fact that I was getting to enjoy the best Mexican food I've ever eaten un the U.S., for possibly, the last time...
Photo: After delivering my order of birria to the counter, I asked Eimelda if she would pose for my camera, and she graciously agreed to do so. OK, my PaintShop Photo couldn't "digital" the fact that your eyes blinked the moment that I snapped the digital shutter, but Barbie has nothing on you.... The Sanchez and Rodriquez clan serve THE BEST Mexican cuisine in the greater Sacramento area, and I look forward to the day that El Peñol opens again, at a new location.
Photo: Yeah... I just can't help but to be photographed doing what I do best... enjoying a delicious breakfast at El Peñol... for the last time, it was a bowl of birria de res, with corn tortillas, on the side. "For the last Time," is a bit melodramatic, as they plan to open in a new location, in Roseville... someday... I can hardly wait!!!
Photo: Today's breakfast, on Sunday, January 29, 2012, the last day that El Peñol was open for business, my main dish was a bowl of birria, which is a very popular breakfast favorite in northern Mexico, garnished with diced white onions, lime slices and cilantro. Corn tortillas, by my choice, were on the side. Appetizers consisted of tortilla chips, with salsa verde and salsa roja on the side. Not shown in the photo is a tall Coors beer that seems to find it's way into my Mexican breakfasts. This was a breakfast to possibly die for, and definitely remember, for the last time...
We now move backwards in time to my previous visit on Sunday, January 22, 2012, the next-to-the-last weekend this fabulous weekend was open, serving superior Mexican cuisine to Roseville, CA...
Photo: El Peñol is located inside building "A" within the friendly confines of Joseph's Auction Town, and is surrounded by other vendors. Today is a rainy Sunday morning, January 22, 2012.
Photo: El Peñol is a one-of-a-kind, locally owned, family-operated restaurant. Staff member Eimelda Rodriquez enjoys breakfast - that's a nice perk - as her brother, Raul, prepares corn tortillas for a customer.
Photo: I've been dining at El Peñol since they opened a couple of years ago, and I prefer to sit at the counter, in order to watch the action and to chat with the friendly staff. Eimelda, Lourdes, Robert and Raul have treated me like a member of their family during my visits to their wonderful restaurant.
Photo: Lourdes, Eimelda and Raul share a light moment in the kitchen. They're only open only on Saturday and Sunday, which roughly corresponds to the acution town's schedule, but they do a very brisk business on the weekend. The only reason that El Peñol is closing is because Joseph's Auction Town is closing the compound, and all of the tenants, including El Peñol, will have to find another place to set up shop. I can attest that they serve the best Mexican breakfast that I've ever had the pleasure to enjoy, north of the border, including Texas. Now that's saying something!
Photo: Alex dishes out an order of menudo, to go, for a waiting customer. El Peñol's menu features Mexican breakfast classics, such as pozole, menudo, birria de res, and every Mexican comfort food that you can imagine. My de-facto standard breakfast order of two fried eggs, over easy, refried beans and corn tortillas isn't on the menu, but Lourdes and staff are more than happy to prepare it for me. Great people and superior food!
Photo: A very satisfied customer smiles, as Raul hands him his order of menudo, para llavar.
Photo: Eimelda and Lourdes hard at work in the kitchen. Eimelda was a bit hesitant for me to snap her photo, but I told her that by the time I got done with PaintShop Photo Pro, that she'd look like Barbie, which brought a huge laugh out of everybody. I guess I messed things up, as she doesn't look a whole lot like Barbie... but she's about 10 times prettier than Barbie could ever hope to be! Not to mention that she has a great personality...
Photo: El Peñol is the closest thing to a Tijuana lonchería that I've ever had the pleasure to enjoy north of the border. For the last time, I enjoy my favorite breakfast of chorizo, two eggs over easy, refried beans, corn tortillas, salsa verde, tortilla chips, and a tall Coors to wash it all down.
Photo: I pose, ready to enjoy one of the best Mexican breakfasts that I've ever had the pleasure to eat north of the border. The staff asked me if I'd like to write my name and email address down for them, so if they open at another location, they could contact me to let me know. The paper on the counter next to me has my information, and information that other customers have written down.
Photo: This couple sitting next to me at the counter were having difficulty with deciding what they wanted, and the lady noticed that I was enjoying my meal, and she asked what I recommended. I told her that she couldn't go wrong, as everything on the menu is good, and that El Peñol is, hands-down, the best Mexican restaurant in Roseville. I asked the staff if they had plans to move to a new location in the area, and they told me that they didn't know and as of now, everything was up in the air. El Peñol will be missed...
I've spent a lot of time at El Peñol over the last couple of years, as the staff treats me like family, the place is a lot of fun, and the food is identical to the cuisine that I've enjoyed during my many visits to loncherías in Tijuana. Words can't describe how sorry I am that this restaurant will cease to exist. It's been a fun ride the last couple of years, and the dining scene in Roseville will not be the same without El Peñol. El Peñol... you earned your place and you will be sorely missed... I look forward to the day when you open, at another location.
Now, let's look at a couple of earlier visits...
As much as the state of California is influenced by Mexico, it's difficult to find an authentic, Tijuana-style breakfast in Northern California. Yes, there are many Mexican restaurants that offer breakfast, but very few offer loncheria-style, Mexican diner cuisine. I absolutely adore loncheria cusine, and when I'm visiting Mexico, I eat breakfast at a loncheria every morning. Well, I don't have to travel all the way to Tijuana to enjoy an authentic, Mexican breakfast, as we have El Peñol, located within the friendly grounds of Joseph's Auction Town.
Photo: El Peñol is located inside building "C" at Joseph's Auction Town, in Roseville, CA.
Photo: You have your choice of counter seating seating, or comfortable seating at tables.
Photo: You place your order at the counter, and pay for it at the counter, but El Peñol offers full service... with the kitchen in full view. I love restaurants like El Peñol, where you can watch the kitchen staff in action.
Photo: The server dude was very shy about having his photo taken, but he was happy to take my photo, as I pose with my delicious breakfast placed on the table before me.
Photo: Folks, you don't have to drive all the way to Tijuana to enjoy the most delicious breakfast on earth. Honestly, refried beans, scrambled eggs and corn tortillas has to be my favorite breakfast and El Peñol serves the same breakfast that you'd have to drive to Tijuana to enjoy. Roseville is 525 miles north of Tijuana, so you can save the 9+ hour drive to Mexico and enjoy breakfast at El Peñol.
Photo: Sunday, October 2, 2011 finds me enjoying another of my breakfast favorites: Menudo, garnished with cilantro and diced onions, with a stack of hot, corn tortillas. Naturally, it's accompanied with chips and salsa.
Photo: On a rainy Sunday morning, November 6, 2011, I took the hike to El Peñol to enjoy my favorite breakfast at my favorite Mexican restaurant in Roseville. Doesn't a hot bowl of menudo sound delicious?
If you love Mexican diner-style (loncheria) food, then El Peñol will be your favorite restaurant. They're only open on weekends, but that's okay with me, as during the week, I'm usually too busy to enjoy a fine breakfast. Their menu encludes enchiladas, tacos, birria, posole, menudo, chorizo and if the entree of your dreams is not on the menu, all you have to do is ask, and they'll be happy to custom prepare it for you. El Peñol serves delicious, authentic Mexican diner cusine, and is one of my favorite restaurants in town.
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