Dining Out: Our Lady of Guadalupe

As far as I know, there is only one Sacramento church that has gained the attention of the food critics on Yelp.

And that church is Our Lady of Guadalupe on the corner of 7th and T Street, across from Southside Park. The Catholic Church hosts a Mexican food market on Sunday mornings just a few blocks from the extravagant farmers’ market that bustles under I-80.

The Hispanic-based parish pitches tents in front of a beautiful, stone church where friendly people take their time ladling pools of bright red tamale sauce over fresh, steaming pork tamales, topping them with a liberal spread of fresh crème for a total of $2.00. Other tents have tacos, burritos, and, of course, bacon-wrapped hot dogs. What fun would Sunday be without a heart attack?

Cans of cold soda and bottled waters are pulled from buckets of melting ice and handed to kids in their Sunday best. It’s a picnic. A popcorn machine lights up near the back, next to the cafeteria that smells like powdered sugar and dough. Women and men banter with each other from inside the kitchen and send out paper plates topped with fried sopapillas.
You don’t have to be a churchgoer to stop by and scarf a plate (or two, or three) of authentic food on a bench in the sun. You don’t have to want to be a churchgoer, either. Nobody seemed especially interested in converting anybody else; church had already ended and men stood guard next to their portable wooden kiosks, hoping to sell a DVD or a piece of kitsch.

Go ahead and ignore the trinkets, what you really want is the food. Yelp-ers have been gossiping about this place for a while, most likely due to an influx of farmers’ market attendees led astray from their bags of peaches by the scent of enchiladas and the fluidity of foreign language. Not to mention, the relief of a smaller, quieter crowd.   

If you’re looking for something fancy, this isn’t your place. But if you’d like to disappear in the microcosmic little-Mexico and fill your belly with its homemade, slow simmered flavors it’s worth taking the charming five minute walk across Southside Park on your way home from the farmers’ market. You can cross the street and spread a blanket on the park lawn, take a seat on a bench or shelter in the cafeteria.

The market opens around late morning and usually lasts well into the afternoon. Bring cash and dress down- you’ll most likely drip sauce on your jeans.     

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