Getting to Midtown’s Cantina Alley in Midtown Sacramento is a bit of an adventure tucked in an alley between J and K streets. But you can’t miss the vibrant entrance and eager line outside. We headed there before 6pm on a Saturday figuring we’d never get in any later and the wait already confirmed we were in for a treat.
Most of the seating is in a covered, open-air patio ready to accommodate the weather year round with an eclectic mix of art, furniture, and even a VW bus converted into a bar. We got seated in the middle of all the action by the bar which made for great people watching and entertainment.
At first glance, there aren’t a lot of vegan options on the menu, so we simply asked our server to bring us one of every vegan option starting with a spicy chili peanuts for an appetizer served in place of the usual pork rinds.
Along with great food, Midtown’s Cantina Alley seems famous for it’s outrageous selection of cocktails. We opted for margaritas, the usual for him and watermelon for me.
Both were amazing with fresh juices and ingredients, the watermelon had a hint of watermelon juice with a spicy kick. I appreciated these weren’t overly sweet and had a complex flavor depth.
First we tried the vegan Elote, street corn rolled in house made crema and Mexican spices.
I am a fan of corn in pretty much any form, but this was delicious with a creamy and kicky coating.
Next was the Crispy Papa Taco, deep fried potato taco with salsa verde, cabbage, radish, and vegan cotija cheese.
This taco was such a fantastic blend of textures and flavors with a crispy and hearty shell.
Then we moved on to the Taco Del Monte, portabella mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers sauteed in a balsamic reduction sauce and topped with cabbage, salsa, and avocado.
The texture and flavors worked for me with these and I’m picky about mushroom dishes. The mushroom texture and flavor was perfectly balanced with the other veggies and balsamic while the salsa and cabbage added more to make it such a great combo.
Finally we tried the vegan sopes which was a new experience that I loved.
Hearty corn dough topped with refried pinto beans, portabella mushrooms, bell peppers, cabbage, cilantro paste, salsa verde, and vegan crema, and avocado. I loved the flavor and texture of the corn dough and it was a delicious treat topped with beans and a poppy cilantro flavor with a blend of textures.
Midtown’s Cantina Alley is such a strong participant in the Sacramento Vegan Chef Challenge, and I’m grateful to discover their unique and authentic vegan creations that are worth a road trip to Sacramento for.