>> Sonora Grill | Eat the World Los Angeles

Monday, 9 March 2020

Sonora Grill

MÉXICO 🇲🇽
(SONORA)

The northern Mexican state of Sonora shares its entire international border with Arizona, a geography that has lead to direct routes of exchange. Tucson and Phoenix are full of Sonoran people and restaurants, the most iconic dishes are part of the everyday lives of even for people with completely different family trees.

In California, the state is just starting to get its rightful recognition. There are small businesses around greater Los Angeles specializing in the street foods of Hermosillo and the seafood of Sonora's long coast, but its rising familiarity around town is probably growing most thanks to downtown's hugely successful Sonoratown.


At that perpetually busy restaurant you will find a focus on the grilled meats and flour tortillas that make up an important part of the diet in a state often too hot and dry for growing corn. During a conversation with the owner of Sonora Grill, her initial thought was that these first-time customers with big eyes and love for flour tortillas must come from Tucson, a place Jackie Tran of Tucson Foodie described as spoiled for them.

Sonora Grill has the guts of a fast casual restaurant but the bones of a fun bar. Place your orders and pay up at the front counter, grab a seat at the bar or one of many tables and the food will arrive shortly thereafter. Grab one of the many gigantic bottles of Castillo salsa picante Sonora on your way to sitting down.


By chance, this visit took place on a Tuesday, when it was noticed that many of their customers came in for their amazing Taco Tuesday deals. Unfortunately this promotion does not include those thin beautiful flour tortillas, but if you come in for those do not hesitate to pay the regular price because they are very worth the upgrade.

A Sonoran-style taco ($2.75 each, above) is still a great deal, served large with plenty of meat, onions, cilantro, and a mild green salsa. You can get them filled with either carne asada or chicken, both of which are cooked over a mesquite-fired grill. The kitchen does excellent work with both meats.


Many folks have a first introduction to the food of Sonora with the bacon-wrapped hot dogs ubiquitous on the streets of Sonora and now Arizona. The Sonoran hot dog ($3.50, above) is also a specialty here, and placed in the all-important fluffy white bread bun.

Biting in is at first like putting a delicious pillow into your mouth, and reveals so many components in addition to that bacon-wrapped dog. Pinto beans start to spill out on the plate or table or your pants, as well as onions and tomatoes, mustard, mayo, and their jalapeño salsa.


In further conversations with the owner, she confirmed the massive importance of this bread for the beloved dish and talked about most of the recipes for the restaurant coming from her family. It is unclear if the bacon-wrapped burrito (called "El Chapo") was also part of this heritage or an experiment of the Moreno Valley.

If you do find yourself in the mood for a burrito, but one more in line with Sonoran traditions using massive homemade flour tortillas (known as sobaqueras), you can test drive the very economical bean and cheese burrito ($4.50, below) and save your money for beer.



This is a good time to start using that smoky red salsa Sonora, which has a tangy flavor that goes very well with the smoothness of the burrito's three ingredients.

As the sun starts to set and Sonora Grill fills up, sports from the East Coast are already live and the area's many young Mexican Americans give the place a real neighborhood vibe. Maybe it is time to head back up to the register for some more beer orders, as they specialize in locally produced craft beers and have about two dozen draft lines as well.

🇲🇽🇲🇽🇲🇽
MORENO VALLEY Riverside County
23962 Alessandro Blvd

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