#278: LaLupita

12:10pm, 5/21/2022

https://www.lalupitamexicanfood.com/

Today I popped over to this little Mexican joint on Atkinson and Church/Vineyard for lunch. I think that this is about as hole-in-the-wall as you get in Roseville. Much like my visit to the neighboring El Abajeno Tacos back in 2012 it felt like I was transported hundreds of miles away, south of the border. As I finished taking a couple pictures outside the door was opened by a friendly gentleman who beckoned me to enter.

I stepped inside and there was a flurry of Spanish by a bunch of people nearby, who were wondering what I was taking photos for. I wish I had learned even a little bit of the language, but luckily one employee stepped up to translate. They were curious but welcoming as far as I could tell. The conversation was essentially over and I was left standing in the entry-way unsure if this was a counter-service or table-service sort of place.

The interior is clean and brightly colored, if a bit on the older side compared to most places in Roseville. It was comfortable. Through archways to either the left or right are larger rooms with most of the seating. The counter was unmanned and I decided to unload my cameras at a table in the room to the left. As I was finishing laying out everything, and thinking I should go order at the counter, the same interpreter from a moment earlier approached to take my order. To be clear I don’t think this is normally a table-service kind of place, they just saw an idiot come in and were trying their best to accommodate him.

Anyway, I knew I was looking for some tacos, having briefly seen some photos before I headed over that looked delicious. Mentioning tacos he told me their most popular item was the quesabirria tacos, and rattled off a few other items like burritos and enchiladas. I settled quickly on the tacos and also got an horchata[$3.75] to wash them down. Price-wise, hard to say on the tacos. I paid in cash and don’t have a receipt but the total was something like $14.92 after tax. Individual tacos are $3.95 on the menu, but this came with three so it worked out to be about $3.34-ish per taco.

Within a few minutes the man that had opened the door for me came by to drop off my horchata. Every single interaction with this guy was hilarious because he spoke 98% Spanish and always had way more to say than I ever had a chance to pick up on. When he later returned with my plate of tacos he decided to be a bit more deliberate and picked out two of the condiments already at the table, putting them next to the plate and then telling me that one of these was either really good or really spicy (maybe both!). Language barrier aside, I got the general drift on this and checked them out when it was time to dig in.

The horchata was refreshing, sweet and flavorful. It was pretty great. The tacos came with a small bowl of a deep rich-looking red broth. Having never ordered these in my life before I didn’t realize this is essentially the French Dip of the taco world, which is a shame because I didn’t dip my tacos in it at all. I did taste it and it was delicious, rich and savory. I’ll have to return to give this a proper try. The tacos, on their own, were nothing short of incredible. I’ve had tacos on the brain for a month or so after a co-worker introduced me to this fantastic new taco truck that’s been showing up in Rancho Cordova recently (Bibi’s). First I took a couple bites without adding any condiments. The base taco is, wow, super flavorful. Melt-in-your-mouth tender meat (goat I assume, based on most descriptions) with a layer of cheese on the tortilla for just the right amount in every bite. Onions and cilantro rounded it out. The tortillas had a nice, light crisp to them.

I used a little bit of the bottled sauce that was recommended. This was a very thin, fast-flowing sauce and I didn’t feel like it added much to the tacos. Next I grabbed the little cup with it’s tiny spoon and stirred up the sediment within until it was a more uniform consistency, then drizzled a little of this into my next couple bites. Now we’re talking. This added a deep roasted chili flavor with heat that left my lips tingling. I proceeded to use this generously on the rest of my tacos.

I had sort of expected to like this place, even not knowing what I was walking in to. Expectations were met and exceeded greatly. Despite the communication challenges that have hit me hard, on this street in particular 😂, the service was very friendly and inviting and the tacos were simply outstanding. This is the type of place I can see myself taking out-of-town visitors to for some solid tacos. Easy 5/5 here.

Note that this restaurant is only open on the weekends (Fri-Sun).

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https://goo.gl/maps/aynn78cg5GCsA1Nv5

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