#245: La Fiesta Alteña

La Fiesta Alteña is a new Mexican taqueria located at Lead Hill & Eureka in the old Mas location.  They worked on it for many months and I was surprised to see it was open one day when I was going to a movie at Century 14 in the same center.  On Friday I met my mom for some dinner to try it out.

ETR 245 La Fiesta Altena 001 2016-07-15 18-22-03

We arrived at 5:30 and headed in.  The front door is not obvious, aside from a small little engraved, office-like plaque that said “Entrance”.  They had the far patio door open at the time and, while we went in the front (I stopped in previously to take a peek), we noticed a lot of people walk right past it and head into the patio area, then eventually find their way inside.  When you first walk in it feels like this will be an order-at-the-counter type of place.  There are registers and LCD displays set up at what looks like a counter that you should approach.  Instead, those are for the servers use, and we were greeted and shown to a table.

ETR 245 La Fiesta Altena 002 2016-07-15 17-34-55

The interior has seen extensive remodeling, and it feels very open now, with only a handful of booths in some areas.  The patio is still a fairly unique one in that it is open to the outside, yet sheltered with high glass walls from the wind and elements.  Heaters and fans should keep the space usable year-round.

ETR 245 La Fiesta Altena 003 2016-07-15 17-50-43

When we sat down and started looking over the menus we both noticed that they had the air conditioners BLASTING.  It was downright cold inside on this high-90s day (may have been 100, it was hot either way).  This comes into play, I feel, in a couple ways.  The first was obvious.  Later, they opened the door to the patio from inside the restaurant.  Quickly, a lot of the cool air was lost to the outside and the temperature rose to a more comfortable level.  I’ll get to the 2nd in a moment.

ETR 245 La Fiesta Altena 004 2016-07-15 18-13-31

We skimmed the menus, including the happy hour options (link to the menu, drinks and happy hour here).  I ordered a Model Special [$4 happy hour] and my mom got a margarita [$6 happy hour].  These came out right about the time we ordered.  I decided on the Chile Verde (slow cooked succulent pork, coated with roasted jalapeños and tangy tomatillos served with rice and refried beans)[$11.75].  My mom got the happy hour Nachos with chicken (choice of asada, pastor, carnitas, pollo with melted cheese, guacamole & sour cream)[$5].  We were also served chips and a trio of salsas.

ETR 245 La Fiesta Altena 008 2016-07-15 17-40-44 ETR 245 La Fiesta Altena 007 2016-07-15 17-40-25

The chips were very standard, nothing special.  The pico de gallo was the most flavorful and was clearly fresh.  The other, more blended salsa packed a nice heat to it, but otherwise didn’t have much going on.  The beans were warm, mild and enjoyable.

ETR 245 La Fiesta Altena 005 2016-07-15 17-36-12 ETR 245 La Fiesta Altena 006 2016-07-15 17-37-05

Our orders came out in roughly ten minutes.  The nacho plate was impressive for $5.  My picture, I am realizing as I look at it now, does not really do it justice.  The plate is actually an oval and it looks like a small circle how I shot it.  That and it was deeper than you’d expect.  It consisted of the same average chips, but was totally loaded with the toppings and there was plenty left over at the end.  This is a great value.

ETR 245 La Fiesta Altena 009 2016-07-15 17-51-53

My chile verde tasted pretty good and had some nice spice and flavor from the jalapeños, however the pork was not quite as tender as I anticipated.  The beans and rice were very standard.  There was a ton of cool sour cream.  At first I didn’t see any guacamole, but later found it hidden under some stray lettuce from the little salad.  It was fresh and delicious.  This is where I think the 2nd point about the air conditioning comes into play.  My plate was somewhat cold, and as a result the beans, rice and chili verde were all room temperature at best.  I think the overlay-chilled air had caused the plates in the kitchen to end up colder than usual, and they definitely didn’t warm them up prior to plating.  It just sapped all the heat out of the food.  That was pretty disappointing.  The nacho plate seemed to be OK though.

ETR 245 La Fiesta Altena 010 2016-07-15 17-52-27 ETR 245 La Fiesta Altena 011 2016-07-15 17-52-59 ETR 245 La Fiesta Altena 012 2016-07-15 17-53-31 ETR 245 La Fiesta Altena 013 2016-07-15 17-57-37

Towards the end of our dinner a mariachi band set up in the patio on a raised stage and started cranking out music.  It was heard pretty easily inside with the door open, and was fairly loud in the patio.  I took a little bit of video (below) before we left.

ETR 245 La Fiesta Altena 014 2016-07-15 18-18-14

The heat issue will leave an impression in my mind but I do think this is definitely a good spot for happy hour.  Those nachos were a great deal for $5.

Website: http://lafiestaaltena.com

(Scanned) Menu: Click Here

#244: DT Noodle

Yesterday I had a late lunch at DT Noodle, a fairly new Vietnamese Restaurant next to California Family Fitness on Foothills at Junction.  They were in Lincoln originally and recently moved to Roseville.

ETR 244 DT Noodle 001 2016-07-09 15-12-59

I stepped in at about 2:30PM and was the only customer in the large space, aside from a postal worker on his break.  They utilized the large windows for tons of natural light.  The place seemed very clean and there was lots of room for customers without being packed together tightly.  I was greeted immediately upon entering and was gestured to one of the tables along the wall.

ETR 244 DT Noodle 002 2016-07-09 15-11-56

I took a few minutes to skim the menu (link to scanned version), although I knew I would be getting the #13 Banh Mi (grilled beef sandwich) on recommendation from commenter Joell.  The prices seemed pretty low, just $5.75 for the sandwich, so I decided to add on an appetizer of shrimp and pork spring rolls to my order $4.95.  Had I taken a little more time to look at the beverages I probably would have seen that they had Thai tea, but instead I got a boring diet Coke :(.  One odd thing I noticed during my lunch was that there was christmas music playing.

ETR 244 DT Noodle 003 2016-07-09 14-41-53

The soda was brought out within a minute in a can with a glass of ice.  The can looked spotless and it was plenty cold so I drank out of that.

ETR 244 DT Noodle 004 2016-07-09 14-44-42

Three minutes later my spring rolls arrived.  I wonder if they have these made up in batches because that seemed fast.  They were excellent.  They were wrapped up tightly with a good amount of pork and each with a couple shrimp.  The lettuce was crisp and the peanut sauce was fantastic, especially served warm.

ETR 244 DT Noodle 005 2016-07-09 14-46-22

ETR 244 DT Noodle 006 2016-07-09 14-46-38

Five minutes after the rolls came my banh mi.  It was a decent sized sandwich, probably a 6-8″ baguette cut in half.  It had a somewhat thin layer of the grilled, seasoned beef and stuffed with pickled carrots, daikon, cucumber and topped with fresh cilantro.  There were also some thinly sliced jalapeños hidden within that kicked things up a notch.

ETR 244 DT Noodle 007 2016-07-09 14-49-35

The bread was soft with a thin, crunchy crust.  I generally enjoyed this sandwich with a couple things to note.  The beef was a bit overpowered by the picked carrots and jalapeños.  I think doubling the meat would be a simple solution here, and I would gladly pay for that since the price is already pretty low.  The 2nd thing was that it seemed like a fairly dry sandwich.  I’m not sure if that is normal or not, or if I should be utilizing some of the condiments on the table.  I remember the first banh mi sandwich I had and it was incredible, but that’s probably an exception because it was from a food truck and I’m sure they punched it up with some craziness.

ETR 244 DT Noodle 008 2016-07-09 14-50-09

The service was polite and attentive, despite not much being needed for my simple lunch. I suspect I will return to try their pho.

Website: None

(Scanned) Menu: Click Here