The lost city of gold. The first time I heard of El Dorado was from the Howard Hawkes movie with John Wayne and James Caan. A classic shoot-em-up with a drunken sheriff, a grumpy sidekick, a young whipper-snapper and, of course, John Wayne. During an early part of the movie John Wayne and James Caan are riding through a saguaro covered part of the desert to the city of El Dorado, where they will subsequently save the day. I am not giving anything away, the movie was made in 1966 for God’s sake. During this ride, James Caan recites a bit of a poem that ends with “ . . . Ride boldly ride, to a place called El Dorado.” For some reason that one phrase has stuck with me for a lifetime. I guess, what kid inside of each of us does not want to find the Lost City of Gold?  This movie had nothing to do with food, or gold, but everything to do with John Wayne. Now, many of you may not know this but the Duke liked to travel to Cabo and often spent time in the Finisterra Hotel. In Cabo he and his friends would go fishing and bring their catch back to the hotel to have it prepared for their dinner. It is easy to believe then, the rumor that he was a big fan of Mexican food. As am I! As are you, no doubt.


Now we have some wonderful Mexican food here in V-Town and every time the topic comes up in conversation I get yet another suggestion as to where to go next. In truth, I do love a good taco truck and Vallejo is almost perfect for that. Unfortunately we do not have one on every corner yet but I am hopeful. As far as tacos and burritos go, I am a huge fan of lengue, or tongue if you are not fluent in Mexican cuisine. Lengue has a richness and texture that is not found in the other meats that are normally offered in a taco. Sure I have had pollo and carne asada tacos and both are great. I am even fond of al pastor but then again not so much for carnitas.  I find carnitas to be too . . . too.


All this being said, I do like to try out our many different venues for quick Mexican grub. I was often found at the truck located in the Grocery Outlet parking lot on Admiral Callaghan. I will admit that I enjoyed their cooking until I tried to get burritos one Sunday and found them, well actually I did not find them. It seems that they decided to take Sunday off. From that point on I started to expand my search area for my ‘almuerzo para enviar,’ my lunch to go.


Then I found it, the lost city of gold, El Dorado. Actually the name is El 2 De Oros and it is a small Mexican mercado located at 1417 Tennessee Street. I happened in one day and met a kind gentleman behind the deli counter. I say kind because he patiently listened as I tried to order a few burritos to go in my broken Spanish. He then repeated the order back to me in English to make sure he had heard it correctly. Whatever it is that good Mexican cooks do, they do it there at El 2 De Oros. Not too much rice, the lengue perfectly cooked, beans just salty enough and then that sauce, which for the life of me, I cannot seem to replicate. The only complaint that I have is that the burritos are just too big for me to finish completely. Such problems we should all have.


I have heard said that their Pezole and Menudo are also worth the trip, but I have not actually tried them . . . yet. It is a fun little market with fresh produce and some hard to find Mexican goods on the shelves. I believe that I even saw pickled vegetables the last time I was in. Oh! I almost forgot the lovely carniceria, the butcher shop, where you will find the thinnest slices of meat I have ever seen. Their butcher’s case is immaculate and stock full of all sorts of fresh meats. That alone is worth a trip in.


So to paraphrase the immortal words of James Caan, I strongly suggest that you ‘Ride boldly ride to a place called El 2 De Oros.’


Until next time,


Eat Well and Smile Often


Tommy Judt

One Reply to “EL DORADO”

  1. Love El Dorado. A favourite John Wayne Film. The Duke was born in Iowa not far from my home town. Given that, I wish El 2 De Oros wasn’t an ocean and country away much like all of your wonderful culinary experiences in Vtown. Mexican is my favourite I must say including carnitas.
    It too is on he list my friend

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