Let's face it, north of the border, most tacos are very similar. In California, tacos range from authentic Mexican "street tacos," nearly identical to tacos sold by vendors on the streets of Mexican cities and towns, to the "highly adapted to American taste" variety, which are offered at fast food store, and "wannabee" Mexican restaurant. Every variation of taco is good, but they're very similar. Today, we enjoyed a totally different taco sensation, at Nixtaco Mexican Taqueria in Roseville, where the motto is "Really Mexican Tacos..."
As with all of my reviews, I have no affiliation with the restaurant reviewed, and there is no monetary gain on my part, as I am simply a person who likes to eat, and I love to write-up, and publish my dining experiences.
Photo: Nixtaco Mexican Taqueria is located on Cirby Way, in Roseville, in a very unpretentious strip mall. The area offers lots of safe parking, which makes it easier to enjoy delicious tacos.
Photo: It's early Friday afternoon, December 02, 2016, and we're ready to enjoy the fine cuisine served at Nixtaco. As we walked in the door, we were greeted by friendly Amy, who today was tending the bar. Yes, there is plenty of beer on tap to quench your thirst. If you look over her shoulder, down the bar, you get a peek into the kitchen. This was our first visit, and we were looking forward to our new dining experience.
Nixtaco has a very different "take" on a taqueria. Look around... where's the menu board? There isn't a menu board. You have two choices: a) Sit at the bar b) Head over to the cash register, at the rear of the restaurant. In either case, you'll get a menu, and be greeted by a friendly staff member.
Photo: The dining room is actually quite compact, and is composed of tables. The bar is to the left of the photo. The cashier station is at the center, rear of the photo. We thought it was a bit odd to have to either sit at the bar, or walk to the rear of the restaurant to place your order, but that's one of the many things that makes Nixtaco just not your "everyday" manqué in Roseville. Note the all-you-can-drink soda dispenser - Coca Cola products - in the rear of the photo; I made good use of it.
As in the previous photo, "Where's the menu board?" Hint: There isn't one. No worries, as the bar and the cashier have plenty of menus, and you can always visit Nixtaco's web site.
Photo: The menu at Nixtaco Mexican Taqueria centers on their six "house tacos," but the menu offers many other selections. Since this was our first visit to Nixtaco, we decided on the "Taco Sampler," which offers a small version of each of the "house tacos."
Photo: The chips and salsa bar is next to the cashier station, and it's the all-you-can-eat variety. Nixtaco posts the salsa is made fresh, in-house, every morning before the restaurant opens. There are four varieties of salsa, including one based on peanuts, spiced with horseradish. I've been traveling to Mexico for 45+ years, and I've never seen "peanut salsa" before, but I'm always in a continual learning curve. There are more conventional offerings, such as salsa verde, salsa roja, a smoky poblano salsa, and other offering, such as diced onion, cilantro and lime wedges.
The tortilla chips are fresh, but nothing special, as they're kept warm under a heat lamp. However ordinary the chips seem to be, they're a great "vehicle" for Nixtaco's outstanding salsa, especially the exotic peanut salsa.
Photo: As I snap her photo, friendly Amy hams it up for my digital camera, while chatting with a couple of diners seated at the bar.
Photo: Chips and salsa from the salsa bar. I chose the smoky poblano salsa... why did I not photograph the peanut salsa? Next visit... The salsa bar is a serve-yourself and eat-all-you-want variety, which works well with me.
Photo: Our friendly server, Mario, delivers our "Taco Samplers" with a smile. Nixtaco is definitely a combination between a full-service restaurant, and a serve-yourself restaurant.
After placing your order, and paying for it at the cashier station, Nixtaco is full-service, all the way, as your food is brought to your table - with a smile - the staff regularly checks to see if you need anything, and your drinks are refilled. I was amazed that Mario offered to refill my all-you-can-drink-Coke that I had filled from the Coca Cola dispenser! I declined, and politely thanked him. There is a tip bucket located at the cashier station, so we left a generous tip, as the staff is hard-working, friendly and very polite. They're great people!
Photo: Today was our first visit to Nixtaco Mexican Taqueria, so Sharlene and I each decided to order a "Taco Sampler," which offers a miniature version of each of the six "House Tacos" that Nixtaco offers. Although the tortillas are only 2-1/2" in diameter - normal "street tacos" measure about 5" or so - they offer all of the fillings and condiments of their larger siblings, and give first timers, like us, a good look at what Nixtaco's tacos are all about.
My plate of "Taco Sampler." What taco is what? I know tacos, I love tacos, and I quizzed our friendly server Mario about my "Taco Sampler," and I took great notes. Let's start at the top, and go around clockwise. Ready? Let's roll...
Picadillo de la Abuela: Seasoned ground pork. Just like grandma used to make.
Note each taco only has one corn tortilla, as most taquerias, and most taco vendors in Mexico use two corn tortillas. Nixtaco makes their tortillas in-house everyday, before the restaurant opens, and the tortillas are thick, so there is only one tortilla needed. Your delicious tacos doesn't break apart as you eat it!
After we sampled every variety, we were in the "know" about Nixtaco's "House Tacos." Like beer, all are delicious, but there are some that we loved more than the other variations.
Photo: "Shrimp Mazatlan" taco, which includes bacon and onion. At Nixtaco, all of the tortillas are made in-house, before the restaurant opens, and are thick, and delicious. Commonly, two tortillas are used, but at Nixtaco, only one corn tortilla is used, as the tortilla is thick, and holds together, as you enjoy the delicious tacos.
I must confess the "Shrimp Mazatlan" taco was the favorite of all six tacos Sharlene and I enjoyed today. This taco was simply amazing!
Photo: "Short Rib Barbacoa" taco, with avocado on top. The meat is a juicy as it gets, and every bite you take of this taco, you get more juice. As you eat this taco, a napkin is your best friend.
Photo: "Chicharron," pork belly taco, with lime pickled onion on top. I've never had a taco like this before! After the shrimp taco, this was our second favorite.
Photo: "Rajas con Queso" taco. Surprise! This taco, without a shred of meat, tied with the "Chicharron" taco, as our second favorite. This amazing taco features poblano pepper, house-made crema, and Oxaca cheese and corn. It's like nothing I've ever experienced before! If you don't eat meat, check out this taco, and you'll be hooked.
Photo: Our friendly server, Mario, took photos of Sharlene and I, as we prepare to enjoy our "Taco Sampler" lunch.
Nixtaco has caused quite a sensation in Roseville, as their tacos are delicious, unique, and in all of my 60+ years of enjoying tacos, I've never tasted tacos like the tacos we enjoyed today at Nixtaco Mexican Taqueria. The tacos taste like no other tacos that I've enjoyed north of the border, or even during my travels to Mexico. Amazing!
If you're in the mood for a very unique and favorable taco adventure, head over to Nixtaco Mexican Taqueria in Roseville.
Nixtaco Mexican Taqueria
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