The Quick: Baja Sol

If memory serves it was back in early February that I brought news of this Oakdale area mexicanish eatery being closed for mysterious reasons. Well it appears that it’s back in business since about April 1st, which sadly wasn’t a joke. Now perhaps it was cause I’ve recently come back from a state that has real Mexican food, or maybe I’m just never impressed when the main selling point is free salsa and chips. Last I checked I could get free chips and salsa anywhere. I suppose restaurants should start marketing the fact that they have ice and napkins available. Whatever the reason my heart was all aflutter but that was just from the spicy sauce slathered all over my food.

The place looked much the same as it did before with the exception that now you slap a number on your table, and your food is brought to you. You’re still going to get hit with the musical stylings of  The Fray and other mundane songs used as staples for mediocre television shows, which is disappointing when expecting some good old Latin music. The slop the food on your table method was quite an improvement than the previous method of grabbing the person with the most minuscule grasp of the English language and have them belt out your order number when it was ready.  I always felt like Chelsea Handler’s Chuy was going to whip my ass if I didn’t come a running before he had to call my number out a third time.  I could go on with stories of having to juke and dive my way through the hords of chippy chippy piggies at the salsa bar just so I can reach the order pick up counter.

For the Grand Reopening I went with a couple of tacos de carnitas, and a chicken burrito. The tacos as you can see above came with a choice of side. The choices were rice, more freaking chips, or jalapeno coleslaw. Knowing I could get chips a few feet away, and not know what the heck jalapeno slaw was, I went for the rice. Here’s a tip if you really love the Baja Sol rice, go to your grocery store and hit that ethic aisle. Grab almost any quick cooking orange looking rice and there you have it, it’s the same crap. My polished pallet tells me it’s probably Old El Paso Mexican rice in a bag. The grand total was about fifteen bucks which could probably feed a whole town in Baja California and feed them better food. Now don’t get me wrong, they occasionally have a burrito there that’s pretty tasty, but damned if I could remember what it was called. The carnitas were dry and had a slight BBQ smoky flavor which sucked cause I wanted Carnitas. Had I wanted BBQ pork I would have gone to Famous Daves. As for the chicken burrito, the parts that weren’t overflowing with black beans and burnt chicken bits were tasty. Too bad they shoved that damn rice into the burrito too. I’m shocked it wasn’t chips. At any rate make up your own damn mind on the place, here’s the quick.

The Good:

  • The location isn’t a bad one since Oakdale seems to have a better grasp on where to put places than Woodbury does. It’s nestled near a couple of shops and a Red Lobster and Olive Garden. So if you’re on a date and don’t want to blow your money on the other two spots you can slip in to this upscale Taco Bell clone and come out a champ.
  • They have a variety of salsas for those not packing Tapatio wherever they go.

The Bad:

  • The Rice by itself is barely edible.
  • The price doesn’t quite match the quality.
  • The variety of salsa is pretty lackluster if you’re used to a place like Pro’s Ranch market or any restaurant in the west coast where they even have whole peppers, and different types of guacamole.
  • You quickly get the feeling that everything has to be smothered in some type of salsa to actually have taste.
  • I didn’t see beer at this one, or patio furniture. Once the temp gets up there that’s what’s gonna bring people in.

The WTF:

  • No fault to the establishment, but the ferocity at which people hit the salsa bar is chaotic. I actually saw a person dip a chip into different sauces.
  • District Del Sol is not too far away, why not go to any restaurant there.
  • They have wacky music and sports up on the TV screens, pick a demographic.
  • Why not go to El Burrito Mercado instead?
  • If you get the churro dessert be advised that they are not really the size of a pinky finger. Below is what a churro is supposed to look like.

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