What: The carne asada tacos
Where: Casa Blanca Restaurant, 35850 Date Palm Drive, Suite A, Cathedral City; 66370 Pierson Blvd., Desert Hot Springs
How much: $7.49 (for three, with rice and beans) as a weekday lunch special; $1.99 a la carte; available in other special combos
Contact info: 328-2150 (Cathedral City); 251-5922 (Desert Hot Springs); www.casablancamenu.com
Why: The little pieces of steak are perfectly seasoned and prepared.
I’ve driven past the Casa Blanca Restaurant in Cathedral City many dozens of times (a good friend lives just around the corner), but I never stopped in—until recently.
Boy, have I been missing out.
I was in the area on business during the noon hour, and hunger was a-callin’, so I decided to stop in for a quick bite. Other than one other occupied table, I had the restaurant to myself. Since I’d never been to Casa Blanca before, I asked the server what she recommended. She said that everything is good (don’t they always say that?), and she recommended one of the weekday lunch specials. So, I picked the No. 1: three soft tacos with any available meat (I chose carne asada), plus rice and beans, for $7.49.
I somewhat sated my hunger by chowing down on the chips and salsa, but soon enough, the tacos you see above arrived at my table. They were pure simplicity—just tortilla, steak, white onion and cilantro. I added a bit of the tasty-but-could-be-spicier salsa to one taco, picked it up and bit in.
Having lived in Southern Arizona for a decade, and having a love for good Mexican food, I have sampled many carne asada tacos in my time—and these are among the best I’ve ever had. The key is in the steak: It was seasoned perfectly, with the seasonings complementing the meat, not overwhelming it. Further, the little pieces were just the right size—small enough to pick up a lot of char, but big enough to retain inner softness and juiciness, without any extreme chewiness.
How’s the rest of the food at Casa Blanca (which, in addition to the Cathedral City location, has its original location in Desert Hot Springs)? I can’t tell you. And I won’t be able to tell you after my next visit, either, because I am ordering these tacos again.