Taqueria Mi Pueblo

The favorable buzz about Taqueria Mi Pueblo has been building for quite a while, culminating in its being named best Mexican restaurant in the recently published 2012 Press Democrat Best of Sonoma County readers' poll.

Lots of people like the place – or places, as it has now opened shops in San Anselmo, Novato, Cotati and two in Petaluma. At the restaurant on Petaluma Boulevard North, it seems the secret to its success comes down to the following five factors.

First, you can get an excellent margarita grande, with a generous spike of tequila, with or without salt rim, with slushy or cracked ice. It is the perfect way to end a hard day's work and prepare for a hearty meal.

Second, the portions are generous. The tacos are jam-packed with ingredients and on Saturdays and Sundays, the corn tortillas are hand-made, Mexico City style. Choose from shrimp, fish, al pastor, carnitas, chile verde, carne asada, ground beef, lengua, cabeza, pollo asada, shredded chicken, chorizo, or shredded beef. As with all the dishes here, you get enough food to fill your tummy with maybe some left over for lunch tomorrow.

Third, it's for everyone. It's so nice to see the tapestry of different ethnicities enjoying themselves – family members from babies just a few months old to people who could easily be someone's great-grandparent, plus everyone in between. It seems like half of Petaluma is there, filling the booths and tables, crammed standing-room-only into the waiting area, dads holding babies, babies clutching moms, all creating a loud hubbub that, combined with all the bright Mexican colors and neon signs and murals, fills the room with vibrant life.

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