One hit wonder at El Metate Taqueria

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One hit wonder at El Metate Taqueria

Outside of El Metate Taqueria

Outside of El Metate Taqueria

Outside of El Metate Taqueria

Outside of El Metate Taqueria

Shayan Mandegarian, Staff Writer

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Located between a highway 101 off-ramp, a bar, and some apartment buildings is El Metate Taqueria.

On the outside it looks like just another Latin-American restaurant that is drive-by worthy, but on the inside that all changes.

Upon walking in, three things stand out: the colorful furniture, open kitchen, and the beverage refrigerator.

Firstly, the colorful furniture at El Metate is truly unique, with each chair and table covered in detailed depictions of Latin-American scenes, each one of them unique in scenery and colors. Also, there are paintings on the walls made by famous Latin-American painters showing scenes that match the themes shown on the furniture.

One of the colorful tables

One of the colorful tables

Second, the open kitchen. Right behind the cashier is where most of the cooking happens at El Metate. Occasionally there will be a flip of vegetables and meats flying through the air or a flame jets out of the stove as meals are prepared, it can be quite fascinating to watch and listen to. On the down side, sometimes it can get loud and will drown out conversations for a couple seconds.

Third, the drink fridge. It doesn’t sound like much, but the drink selection is generous at El Metate with a wide selection of domestic and imported beverages and even traditional fruit flavored waters to choose from.

One of the other factors of El Metate that becomes apparent after a while is the spotty service. Unfortunately, most of the servers here are below par and will be dismissive and border line rude, but some of them are nice especially to regulars.

As a regular at El Metate, there is a step-by-step pattern to always follow here. Step one, buy drinks and food at the counter. Step two, grab chips and dip from the bar. Step three, sit and enjoy.

Salsa bar

Salsa bar

Latin-American foods tend to be very meat heavy, and this is easily seen at El Metate, but there is one dish that is worth coming back for every time, the vegetarian burrito.

There is two customizable portions of the veggie burrito, the filling and the tortilla. Choices for the tortilla include flour, wheat, and spinach, and choices for the fillings can be customized to personal liking.

Veggie burrito with spinach tortilla

Veggie burrito with spinach tortilla

The filling includes the typical pinto beans, lettuce, guacamole, pico de gallo, and rice. But upon request, grilled onions, bell peppers, and black beans can be added, and it is certainly recommended to request this addition.

Opened veggie burrito with grilled vegetables and flour tortilla

Opened veggie burrito with grilled vegetables and flour tortilla

Another thing El Metate is full of is sounds. Sounds from the Mexican channels on the three TVs on the walls, sounds from the open kitchen, sounds from the cars outside, sounds from the jukebox, and sounds from the people around. But even with all this sound around, conversations are easily held and El Metate is still an excellent place to bring friends or family to for a fun, casual meal.

While some choices may be limited for the vegetarian crowd, there’s a huge selection of different meat and seafood dishes that will appeal to any meat eater’s palette.

Overall, El Metate has its ups and downs, but the positives outweigh the negatives and makes it a great place for any lunch or dinner out on a weekend.

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