When Jim Knudson bit into his first taco during dinner at a friend's house in 1949, he knew he had tasted something special. He added the item?which many diners were pronouncing "tay-co"?to the menu at his restaurant in Grass Valley, California. Determined to introduce the food to as many people as possible, Jim and his wife, Margaret, converted a 16-foot trailer into a kitchen on wheels. They adopted the nickname Jim had earned from one of his longtime customers and drove up to Lake Tahoe, where Jimboy's Tacos found its first permanent home.
Locals, tourists, and even members of the Rat Pack flocked to the tiny taco stand for the uniquely seasoned, parmesan-dusted ground-beef taco, the anchor of a growing menu. The family eventually relocated to Roseville, California, where they set up a small taco stand and began branching out to other locations in and around Sacramento.
Today, Jim Knudson?s daughter Karen, the current president of the company, carries on the legacy of taco obsession at more than 40 locations in northern California and Nevada. Guests who arrive early for breakfast might glimpse the cooks slowly simmering beans, mashing avocados into guacamole, and preparing their signature ground beef with trans-fat-free oil. In addition to classic corn-tortilla tacos, the menu holds the mega-size flour-tortilla El Gordo, golden-fried taquitos, and even a taco burger that fuses Mexican and American culinary traditions.
As its name suggests, this restaurant lures patrons in with its popular tacos and zealous support for Mexico’s Santos Laguna football club. When ordering the regular or fried-tortilla tacos, patrons choose from 10 types of meat, including al pastor, chorizo, and lengua. Plates arrive out of the kitchen loaded with generously portioned burritos, quesadillas, tortas, and huevos rancheros as diners converse about Club Santos Laguna’s tournament chances and which players has the handsomest eyebrows.
Three Sisters spins recipes honed over time into authentic, homemade Mexican meals. Along with the menu's traditional burritos and tacos, chefs call into existence more inventive eats, such as the vegetarian desert tamales, which they stuff with veggies, pasilla cream, and a sprig of mint. Patrons sup inside the eatery, take in the breeze around outdoor tables, or enjoy the meals at home with delivery, pickup, or teleportation.
Stepping into 524 Mexican Restaurant is like entering a sunset—golden walls melt into rich burgundy and orange accents as heat rises from classic Mexican cuisine—slow cooked carnitas, carne asada steaks, and warm enchiladas. Red wall sconces radiate light upward, illuminating waiters who unload starters, such as bean and cheese dip, and pour traditional soup into the mouths of the eatery’s wall-mounted masks.
There’s no stopping the aging process, short of becoming a vampire or finding the elusive soda fountain of eternal youth. But at Celia's Face & Body, licensed aesthetician Kelley offsets the physical signs of aging with facials that use ingredients such as warm paraffin masks and organic-fruit acids to improve skin’s texture. A line of Yon-Ka Paris products uses marine extracts, fruit acids, and essential oils to further rejuvenate epidermises. Luxurious facial packages can include aromatherapy back scrubs or neck-and-shoulder massages.
Beyond facials, Kelley pampers clients with bodywork sessions such as the citrus body buff, which exfoliates bods with citrus body masks more effectively than running through a lawn sprinkler filled with salt and OJ. The certified massage therapist also soothes achy muscles with massages that can incorporate deep-tissue and hot-stone massage techniques.
A small menu of healthfully prepared favorites is accented by mouthwatering daily specials at Palenque, where fresh ingredients flourish and home-style recipes are always en vogue. The enchiladas verdes come filled with either chicken or cheese and are adorned with homemade tomatillo sauce, offering a flavorful throne for cheese, onions, and sour cream ($9.50). Lead-footed drivers on the burrito superhighway can cruise into tasty tunnels of beans, cheese, rice, and salsa, with their choice of al pastor, asada, carnitas, or chicken in the coveted passenger seat ($5.10). Refresh with a Mexican beer ($3.25) or two as you chat with friends, or venture out to converse with one of Palenque's affable staffers and potentially find your long-lost giggle twin.