by Steffi Puerto
Growing up in the East Bay, specifically Oakland, I consider myself a foodie at heart. Food has always been significant to my identity, culture, relationships, and overall experience of enjoying life. My favorite memories have always been the ones where food has been involved.
I have lived in Humboldt County for a little over three years. Quickly, I was shocked to find out that the ethnic food here was hit or miss. I have spent a greater part of the last three years trying a variety of Mexican food that I enjoy best through my personal palate.
It seems like everyone has a variety of views on the best Mexican food in the area. Arcata residents who have come from every corner of California and even from out of state voice bold opinions of what they think is the best Mexican food. Some are valid, others should be reconsidered.
It’s one of my favorite questions to ask when I am hanging out with people, because I feel like I can get a good read on them based on their answers. Without a doubt, you’ll get a response like Rita’s or Hey Juans, which I personally would dismiss. Why would you actively participate in having olives, lettuce, and sour cream on your Mexican food?
So you might be wondering what Mexican food places I actually like. I have three excellent Mexican food trucks/restaurants that I would recommend to anyone who wants to enjoy some delicious food.
Let’s start off with Los Giles. It’s an Arcata classic. Personally, I hold Los Giles close to my heart because you can find them anywhere and everywhere. They satisfy your craving at local community or on-campus events, and even after a late night of drinking, outside Richard’s Goat. My go-to order usually consists of a California burrito de al pastor which is a burrito filled with sour cream, fries, pico de gallo, beans, rice, and the very sweet and savory al pastor. I also enjoy getting four tacos de carnitas con todo, which consists of diced onions, cilantro, and their green salsa and crispy carnitas. On the other hand, you can also never go wrong with an order of their famous steak fries: crinkle cut fries topped with sour cream, guacamole, pico de gallo, and cheese on top of their steak. Their food and ambiance are what make this place truly good.
Tacos del Gallo is a new gem that I discovered last spring. It’s a cute little black taco truck that parks outside of RMI outdoors right across from Eureka’s Broadway Theater. I personally love this place because it reminds me of the taco trucks from home. Thick grilled onions and slices of grilled jalapeños really add to the experience of enjoying my delicious street tacos. They also add a little bag of chips and homemade pico de gallo to really top it off. My go-to order would definitely have to be four tacos de al pastor with a delicious agua de tamarindo. They also have really good tortas, burritos, and a small yet delicious variety of agua frescas. The authenticity and friendliness of this food truck establishment are what truly make me enjoy my food.
Cocina Mariposa is another Eureka Mexican restaurant that I really enjoy visiting because they offer savory Michoacan style food and agua frescas of the day. They give you a side of bean dip and chips with your food. This location sits on the Eureka Municipal golf course. There’s the option to dine outdoors or inside as well as a to-go option.
I was introduced to this restaurant by my best friends who put me on to the place after hearing their various opinions and they were not wrong. I personally love to get al pastor street taco plate, a torta de carnitas, or a California burrito de al pastor. I enjoy that they offer an agua fresca of the day, because I know no matter which variety it is, it’ll be cold, refreshing, and sweet. I enjoy this place because it reminds me of summer: savory and vibrant flavors as well as enjoying it with the people I love the most.
Needless to say, these restaurants are my favorite in the county, because besides offering good food and service they are unique to themselves. I have enjoyed different aspects of food influences and vibe settings these places offer. It is what makes their establishments unique from one another. I would encourage anyone reading to try these restaurants out, by themselves or with a group of friends. Enjoy your food and the ambience of your company. Food is meant to be enjoyed and shared.
Follow them on Instagram @losgilestaqueria to stay up to date with their events
Tacos del Gallo
1240 Broadway St, Eureka, CA 95501
Monday – Saturday 10:00 am – 7:30 pm
4750 Fairway Dr, Eureka, CA 95503
Tuesday – Sunday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm
When are fries ever a part of Mexican food?
I happen to enjoy Amigas on 5th street in Eureka. It’s a small family owned business. They are the NICEST people I have ever met. I happen to favor carnitas and they don’t disappoint.
Fridays are 1.50 taco days. Enjoy 😉
The writer here, negatively states, “why would you actively participate in having olives, lettuce and sour cream on your mexican food.” Then the writer discusses their go to order as a Californian burrito, which…has sour cream, and amongst other items, fries, and unspoken is the cheese that usually accompanies it. As a former San Diegan, new to this area, I have eaten actual Mexican food in Mexico. But I do not turn up my nose at americanized mexican food in such a condescending attitude. In San Diego, as well as here there can be a wonderful fusion of deliciousness between the two.