Across eight locations in Northern California, Arteagas Food Centers bring a taste of Latin America to their respective communities with fresh produce, meats, and authentic cremerias. Patrons can pick up a variety of Latin ingredients, American-brand products, or meat cuts for their next barbecue, including ribs, carne asada, chicken, and seafood. Throughout the year, live bands and comedians combine with free events such as a Dia de Los Muertos party and a scavenger hunt to entertain guests while they shop. Arteagas gives back to the community by offering free health care testing and a connection to more than 40 nonprofits. Three locations even host a full taqueria, where diners can sit down for freshly prepared hot foods such as barbacoa, burritos, tacos, and chile verde.
At El Amigo, where a spacious, brightly colored indoors is met with an outdoor patio, patrons can feast on classic Mexican cuisine. Enchiladas arrive drenched in green or red salsas, or succulent mole sauce. Breaded pieces of fish fill tacos with coleslaw and chipotle sauce, while marinated chicken arrives with rice, beans, and pico de gallo. Soft French bread carries beef and chicken in tortas, as margaritas quench any underlying thirsts.
In 1982, Alfonso Castaneda opened Dona Esther Restaurant, which he named after his grandmother in honor of her life and love of cooking. Popular dishes include carne asada made with rib-eye steak and the Dona Esther Special, a combination platter that hides its plate beneath a piping-hot chicken enchilada, taco, and burrito and bed of rice and beans. Customers looking for something more comforting than a mariachi band that lulls them to sleep can always order a steaming, fragrant bowl of menudo—a traditional Mexican soup seasoned with onion, cilantro, and crushed red pepper. But if music's your thing, live musicians fill the room on Saturday nights and during the Sunday brunch buffet. The traditional tunes add to an atmosphere epitomized by rustic carvings and paintings, as well as lush greenery that spills out of pots in search of salsa.
From the pinto beans plucked from the field to the whole wheat rolled into tortillas, every ingredient at Vivas Organic Mexican Food is organic and free of preservatives. The all-natural feast starts during breakfast, with plates of huevos rancheros and burritos packed with chorizo and cage-free eggs. Later in the day, chefs ladle mango sauce atop tilapia tacos and roast pasilla chiles stuffed with cheese.
Each meal is highly customizable?guests choose the meat that goes into their burritos, tacos, and quesadillas, as well as the type of tortilla they want: flour, whole wheat, spinach, or wrapping paper brought from home. They enjoy these dishes in a dining room that evokes a sunny courtyard, complete with faux shutters and a burbling fountain.
The culinary team at Nuevo Southwest Grill concocts a menu of Mexican-American fusion cuisine that spurs taste buds onward through a land of tortilla vistas dotted with grilled veggies. Prepare palates for future forkfuls with the flavorsome crab-and-fish-cake appetizer, garnished with a fiery jalapeño tartar ($7.95). The sazonado grilled chicken breast arrives glazed with a zesty chipotle orange sauce and topped with goat cheese and mushrooms ($13.95). Lunchtime victuals, such as the burrito stuffed with salmon ($8.25), quells stomachs before they bellow like Luciano Pavarotti after stubbing his big toe. Served until 2 p.m. on weekends, Nuevo’s brunch engages freshly woken bellies with buttermilk pancakes topped with fresh fruit ($6.95).