Taco Life

Taco tracking has its rewards out west and we ended up three-for-three on a recent journey. 

Placentia CA

There’s no shortage of great Mexican food in Orange County but for this post I went back to the place it all started for me: the 301 Cafe.

Placentia California 301 Cafe Mexican Food taco Placentia California 301 Cafe Mexican Food Placentia California 301 Cafe Mexican Food

The 301 Café in Placentia has been in business for over seventy-five years and they’re still going strong. 301 Café is where my appreciation for restaurant tacos began. My father and fellow aerospace workers would cash their checks and drink beer there in the early ’60s. My mother started taking us to meet them when my sister and I were three or four years old. Every once in a while I get by there and the place looks and feels the same as I remember. It’s a little quieter without a bunch of drunk young aerospace workers but a taco tastes the same as it did in the “good old days.” Check 301 Café on Google Maps  


Guadalupe is a small town of 7000 on Highway 1 west of Santa Maria. 

Guadalupe California La Simpatia Mexican Food

Guadalupe California La Simpatia Mexican Food taco

La Simpatia opened in the 1940s and is operated by a member of its founding family. People who’ve worked here for decades prepare food from original family recipes. The taco, chilé relleño, and enchilada I had for dinner was so good I went back the next day to eat the same thing. When you go here be sure to look at all the old pictures on the wall. Look at the cooks, the counters etc.,  and look at the pictures again. Be warned, La Simpatia is possibly the best Mexican food in California.  La Simpatia


Nicer and bigger than we expected, Yuma’s business district is clean, seems well used, and they’ve done a great job with their “Old Town” district. We were just overnighting on our way east and left too early to see much. We plan on spending a weekend there in the near future.

Yuma Arizona

Early morning in Downtown, everybody’s still asleep but joggers, and dog walkers.


Mi Rancho Yuma Arizona Mexican food Mi Rancho Yuma Arizona Mexican food taco

Mi Rancho serves great food all around in a crowded but fun atmosphere with a friendly/busy staff. The tacos are great as were the rice and beans. 


Robert G Fowler Yuma Arizona Aviator

Robert G Fowler landed the first airplane in Arizona as part of a cross-country adventure in 1911…ponder that for a second.



We didn’t eat any tacos in Tucson but we found a few places we’d like to cook them. Lori was born and spent her early childhood in Tucson. Growing up she enjoyed visiting her grandmother who lived there.

I lived in Tucson a short time as a kid and loved the place. It’s here we lived when I got my first motorcycle. We returned to Texas then California and I didn’t visit again except when we went to see Lori’s grandmother. 

This was a short but fun visit, we drove around and found Lori’s and her family’s old houses… and they all looked nice and well cared for.

Gallery in the SUN

DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun Tucson Arizona DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun Tucson Arizona DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun Tucson Arizona

DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun Tucson Arizona

We drove straight to DeGrazia’s Gallery in the Sun. DeGrazia built his home, gallery, and other structures with the help of friends over several years. He put it into a trust and it is open for the public to enjoy. If you’re in Tucson you owe it to yourself to check this place out. DeGrazia Gallery in the Sun


The Lodge on the Desert

Lodge on the Desert Tucson Arizona Lodge on the Desert Tucson Arizona

A google search for historic lodging revealed the Lodge on the Desert, it sounded interesting so we gave it a try. Lodge on the Desert started as a secluded retreat surrounded by open desert, and 80+ years later it’s a secluded retreat surrounded by Tucson. It’s a quiet beautifully landscaped space with comfortable casitas and suites with a nice pool, great restaurant, and very friendly staff. They’re in the middle of a big renovation right now but it didn’t have any negative impact on our stay. The energy and enthusiasm around the work was contagious! Lodge on the Desert


Winslow and other not so taco related stuff

We didn’t do much in Winslow. A meeting with Blake the plumber, more stain on a door, and a taco (three days in a row) from Brown Mug Café was about it. We’re counting on Masonic Lodge’s completion by the time you read this and hope to make a big push on the Motor Palace very, very soon. Swear to God, I mean it this time… 

Winslow Arizona Motor Palace

We finally saw the new paint job in sunlight.

Winslow Arizona Motor Palace

Bird print in the front window. Everyone’s pretty sure he survived.

Winslow Arizona Motor Palace Wurlitzer Organ

Sondra gave us the Wurlitzer organ from the church she bought and is renovating.

Winslow Arizona Motor Palace

Morning sun through glass block is a great way to wake up.

Winslow Arizona Motor Palace

We’re messing with local adobe clay to fill gaps between the stones. Looks like it will work.

Winslow Arizona Motor Palace

North wall

Winslow Arizona Motor Palace

West wall

Back at Two Crows

We lost our favorite tree during the recent storms, fortunately it just touched the roof’s south-east corner on its way down. No damage to the house but a thirty five-forty foot ancient Juniper is impossible to replace.

Ancient Juniper Yucca Valley

Ancient Juniper Yucca Valley Ancient Juniper Yucca Valley

Chile Relleno

We feel real bad about the juniper but the Chilé Relleños we made helped.

Jeep, CJ5, yucca valley

’til next time…

3 Responses to “TACO TRAIL

  • Love your blog you guys and the Taco trail story.
    The Palace is looking real nice.Wow

    • Brian

      Thanks for reading, hope you make it out to Winslow sometime when were done!

      • We’d loove to see the Palace when finished. It looked great already in June 2013 when we stopped by . But with the new coat of paint it looks spectacular now ! Well done guys.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.