Talavera Is Still My Favorite

Talavera signOkay, so I already knew I loved Talavera. It’s not like this is undercover, investigative journalism. I go there at least once a week, so when it was time to include it in my lunching journey down Solano, it was like coming home. It’s a casual, family place where you order at the counter and get your own flatware and napkins from under the salsa bar. The people who work there are all lovely, friendly folks.

Talavera tortaAlthough I could have used this as an opportunity to try something different, I ordered one of my favorites: a veggie tostada salad with black beans on a corn tortilla. Occasionally I get it with chicken, but usually I’m happy with just the lettuce, beans, salsa, Mexican cream, avocados, and the tangy dressing. But, inspired by George ordering a hibiscus drink, I got one of those too. This beautiful, sweet, garnet drink just may have to be added to my list of favorites! I sucked down half of it while we dove into our basket of fresh, crisp chips, accompanied by three different kinds of salsas. Dave got the sopas—one carnitas and one veggie—which he was quite fond of, opting out of his usual taquitos. (Which are not what I thought they would be the first time Dave ordered them. They’re just little tacos, not those skinny, crisp things they called  back at our college cafeteria…) George got the daily special, which I’ve noticed is almost always a torta of some sort. This time it was chorizo, and I loved it! It was sort of like a spicy sloppy joe. That might have to get added to my list too…

Since I keep referring to this list, I should share the other items on it: their quesadillas are to die for, which is not usually something that exciting at most other Mexican restaurants. But theirs is big and comes with three kinds of sauces—all of them good. Every once in a while Dave and I will split their chili relleno burrito, which is way too big (and probably too fattening!) to eat on your own. And if I’m feeling like I deserve a soda, I sometimes get a Mexican coke. And if I’m feeling extra worthy, I get a glass of their sangria, which is just as pretty as the hibiscus drink but of course has an alcoholic kick to it.hibiscus & watermelon sodas

Talavera on sunny days is especially wonderful because you can sit outside and watch Solano Avenue go by. I often see someone I know, either dining there or just walking by while on errands.  This time it was Alesia, who lives just around the corner. If you sit at one of the tables on the west side, you can watch the toddlers in Peralta Park surrounded by parents and nannies. Or, if you’re facing the other way, you see pets and their people enter VCA Albany either through the big door that says “CAT” or the one labeled “DOG.”

I could sit there all afternoon. If I didn’t have to work, that is…

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