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Las Casuela’s, Manteca

Las Casuela’s is a local Mexican American chain serving up massive plates of food for a good price with lots of kitchy, gimmicky food and drinks. And yes, there are vats of blended margaritas ready to pour at a moments notice. They’re a big player in town and the crowd is evidence they’re doing something very well.

It’s a big menu, but I narrowed my choice to the “taco truck” area of the menu; four, yes four tacos of carne asada combined with chorizo, bacon and grilled onions, topped with cilantro and lime and fresh salsa, aka Tacos Don Jorge. No beans, no rice, just a lot of tacos. I’m liking this, simply because I’m not going to eat beans and rice anyway.

But wait, as my plate of tortilla chips arrives, I’m brought not only salsa but refried beans to dip my chips in. I’m pretty sure no one walks away hungry from Las Casuela’s. The salsa for the chips has heat, but lacks flavor or depth, sort of like Pace picante with Tabasco in it. Boring.

When my tacos arrive after a fairly significant wait, it’s a massive plate of beef and pork. Literally, the entire platter is spilling over with four tortillas and a carpet of beef, pork and condiments. As I mentioned, no way anyone walks away hungry from this place. As I dig to find the edges of each corn tortilla and take my first bites, I have to say I’m reasonably impressed with this concoction. I find carne asada a bit dry usually, however, with fat from the bacon and chorizo lending a hand to moisten the asada, the tacos find a nice balance. I will say the asada beef is a little chewy, a little sinewy. I actually took two of the tacos home with me to eat for lunch as leftovers.

Getting past all the lights, drink specials, and book of menu items, the Tacos Don Jorge are pretty good. I’d love to see a version done by a taco truck or with a better quality of beef, say cabeza tacos with bacon and chorizo.

Las Casuelas on Urbanspoon

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