El Jaripeo Restaurant
1259 South Redwood Road
3 stars out of 5
My review follows up the other side of the table, on our visit to the new El Jariepo Restaurant, located where La Hacienda used to reside. I have fond feelings of the building used, and the old murals inside. However, this is a review of El Jariepo, so i’ll try not to let it’s past inhabitants relinquish any ill feelings towards El J.
The interior, is straight up mid-west diner. It’s a pleasant combination of colors. Yellow, brown. Big new mural on the wall. It’s not a looker. Let’s get that out of the way up front. It might even be considered intimidating to some. But don’t let it’s exterior, or interior push you away from this little treasure.
I don’t know much history on anything Oaxacan. I do know, that it usually means it’s going to be good, though.
I was blessed with a wonderful friendly (and in english, which was unexpected) greeting from a cool dude probably in his 20′s, and a bowl of chips and salsa. Of course, Kelly had told me the story of reading about the dude in the Slayer t-shirt. It turns out of course, that this is the same guy. Dude. Friendly, helpful, excited and a great waiter. I wish i remembered your name. As, you should be addressed, because you kicked so much ass you were actually wearing a Slayer tshirt today, as well, underneath your “uniform”.
I looked at the menu. I was pleased. The previous owners, after La Hacienda, were a group called Guelaguetza. These previous occupants were VERY much, if not the same in feel as the current cooks. The last mole i had tasted similar, if not the same as the last restaurant. Oh, and i must tell you what i ordered.
1 carne asada torilla taco
1 chorizo tortilla taco
1 Burrito Zapoteco
The Horchata: This is different stuff, folks. It’s delicious and soothing, but it’s not your cool down splash of sweet that you might be used to. The horchata we have here is THICK. It was topped with fruit, nuts and some sort of fruit jelly. It was also not very cold, despite the presence of ice. This may be the drink’s fault. Loved it, however. You must try this if you think you’ve ever tried “different” horchata. This is the stuff.
Carne Asada Taco: Standard street taco fare. I found the meat to be a bit too dry, and a bit too processed, with smaller pieces than what i would have liked. Accompanied with onions, cilantro, tomato and slices of radish, this was a tasty taco. The tortilla was fantastic. In fact, it blew away the rest of the taco. Good stuff, but you can do better.
Chorizo Taco: See above… really not much to expand upon, other than the meat was even more dry and chopped up… I can’t wait to tell you about “The Special Place” that Rose Park is blessed with… anyway!
The Burrito Zapoteco: WOW! This thing is freaking HUGE. Hopefully, by the time you read this i will have pictures uploaded. Basically, this was a massive burrito in a tasty, massive tortilla. The filling consisted of roasted cactus, chicken, rice and was covered in an amazing, almost too rich, mole. It was like chocolate sauce. It needed salt… It was good!?! I’m confused here as i really enjoyed it, but it could have been better. I think i may even have the suggestion! If the mole were used sparingly, it would actually add to this, overall. The meal was fantastic, and i ate every bit that i could, sans mole, and a bit of tortilla. Oh, and i must also tell of you the wonderful cheese that is sprinkled on top! Let’s focus on the cactus here, because really, this is the shining star of glory and hope in this burrito. The chicken is okay, but i have had so much better. The cactus, however is special and tasty and a unique suprise of splosions of taste blasting all over your mouth. It took me about half-burrito to get to it, but once i found it, i was in love. I want to try more cactus dishes here.
Overall: This place is cheap in price and is just on the border of something special when it comes to it’s food. The torillas and chips are FANTASTIC. The ambiance is chill and friendly and the food is pretty unique. I think overall, the Red Iguana has a definite plus over this place, but you can’t say you’ve tried em’ all until you try this little jem. I think i would like to return and try some of the other dishes. What i tasted of what Kelly ordered was quite different. There was an overall feeling of bland.. but there is salt at the table! The salt helps! Really, i’m not joking. I liked this restaurant, but i was not blown away. I have a review in progress on one of the best restaurants i’ve ever been to, and i hope putting these two places side by side will explain the trancendental feeling of an amazing meal. It was okay, it just wasn’t the best food-sex i’ve had.