Just at the cusp of my Mexican Restaurant Experimentation, I ended up eating at a Los Vaqueros Mexican Restaurant in Livermore yesterday. And all I can say is that it is worth driving out of your way to go eat there.
We were discussing thin chips. These were paper thin and CRISPY, not greasy. The waitress brought TWO little bowls of salsa so neither my companion nor I had to worry about a double-dipper. The salsa was a little more like cocktail sauce, in that it was a little sweet and tangy, but acceptable.
All the menu items seemed like uniquely crafted ensembles of Mexican food with great creativity. The special was some sort of duck taco with pomegranite and other unusual items. We ordered the appetizer of some cheese shrimp things. Imagine a shrimp split and stuffed with cheese, wrapped in bacon, just a splash of batter, and deep-fried with a drizzle of spicy cheese-sauce. About 8 of these beauties surrounded a bed of dressed, shredded lettuce topped with guacamole.
We both ordered the Carnitas Tintas Tacos. Instead of the standard rice 'n beans, one could choose amongst such sides as spinach salad with apples and bleu cheese, lightly cooked zuccini in a spiced tomato sauce, some kind of seasoned fries, drunken beans, spanish rice, and I forget what else. I had the spinach salad and the zuccini.
The plate was beautiful and appetizing. The 3 small tacos were opened up and full of the saucy meat and shredded lettuce and pickled onion slices. They were topped with Mexican queso. All the flavors in my order were robust and complementary.
On our way out, we peeked into the bar. At another time, with another group of people, I would have really enjoyed trying that out. While the color scheme in the restaurant was gold, yellow, orange, the bar was cool blue; roomy and cozy at the same time.
Alas! I cannot choose this restaurant to be my favorite because it is totally out of my area, and I'll be lucky to be able to swing by there a couple times a year. But it's nice to have a standard to weigh against!
On 580 going West, take the exit for North Vasco Road in Livermore. It is only about an eighth of a mile off the freeway, just past the Der Weinerschnitzel.
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