Santa Cruz Good Times

Apr 16th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

A Trip to My Land

din mitierasoupThe flavors at Freedom's Taqueria Mi Tiera are worth the ride

On a busy section of Freedom Boulevard, a Taco Bell and Wendy's are intermixed with an auto repair business and strip malls. It's a changing neighborhood, a mixture of old and new. Across the street from Taqueria mi Tiera, which has been open for 20 years, sits the historic Pioneer Cemetery. Next door is La Mana Panaderia, while further down the block a shiny Mi Puebla grocery store offers its own baked goods.

Inside the taqueria, a variety of less common hot sauces are dispersed amongst the tables. Valentina is smooth and orange-red with a sweet touch, while Castillo, a vibrant green salsa habanera, packs a wallop.

A white stripe of paint encircles the room, above it the walls are bright orange, below it, blue. They hold a few remembrances; photos, hats of vaqueros, and a diorama of a covered wagon camp.

The menu posted on the wall includes the familiar items, including tortas on wide toasted buns, chimichangas, enchiladas and tostadas. Fajitas ($8.99 to $14.59) arrive sizzling with a variety of sweet peppers.

At the pick-up counter were fresh, roasted jalapeños and dried red chilies, cooked in oil until black and crisp and then sprinkled with salt.

In the Fish Taco ($2.99), a deep-fried piece of white fish was topped simply with lettuce and sour cream, waiting to be doused with hot sauce or dressed with one of the accompaniments from the salsa bar—perhaps a bit of cilantro, some lime, the smoky sauce with blackened bits of roasted chilies, or cabbage mixed with cilantro, tomatoes, and onions. The red salsa labeled "picoso" was searing indeed.

The Carnitas Taco ($1.85) held chunks of tender pulled pork with cilantro and whole pinto beans on two fresh corn tortillas. The al pastor was similarly presented, but the small, smoky chunks of pork were bathed in a sauce of ground red chilies. A grilled or roasted chicken (pollo asado) version costs a few cents more.

The Shrimp Quesadilla ($5.99), in a large flour tortilla which was folded into a plump rectangle, held big, firm shrimp, some refried beans, cilantro, tomatoes and sweet onions, and oozed with melting cheese.

The Super Burrito ($4.59), weighing in at over a pound, contained nicely seasoned, tender pork chile verde, with sour cream, Spanish rice, pinto beans, and thick ribbons of melted cheese.

A number of soups are offered, including chicken, 7 Mare (seven seas seafood soup), and beef. The Caldo Cameron ($9.99) was served in what I consider an enormous bowl. The steaming broth was flecked with cilantro and held lightly cooked summer squash, sweet carrot, potato, and more than a dozen of the large, plump shrimp.

Taqueria Mi Tiera, 1471 Freedom Blvd., Watsonville, 722-2022. Serving beer and sangria. Open daily from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Aries Solar Festival

Sunday is Palm Sunday. Symbolizing victory and triumph, paradise, sacrifice and martyrdom, the Pisces World Teacher entered Jerusalem (City of Peace) on a donkey (signifying humility).


Sugar: The New Tobacco?

Proposed bill would require warning labels on sugary drinks Will soda and other saccharine libations soon come with a health warning? They will if it’s up to our state senator, Bill Monning (D-Carmel). On Feb. 27, Monning proposed first-of-its-kind legislation that would require a consumer warning label be placed on sugar-sweetened beverages sold in California. SB 1000, also known as the Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Safety Warning Act, was proposed to provide vital information to consumers about the harmful effects of consuming sugary drinks, such as sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.


Animal Magnetism

Bear, mouse dare to be friends in charming ‘Ernest and Celestine’ It’s not exactly Romeo and Juliet. It’s not even a romance, although it is a love story about two individuals separated by prejudice who find the courage to form an unshakable bond despite the rules and traditions that keep them apart.


Printer's Devil

Iconic editor Buz Bezore, who died last month at the age of 68, left a huge mark on Santa Cruz journalism   Eventually, it’s all a blur. You live long enough, and maybe a little too hard at times, so that when you hit the rewind button of faded memory, it moves so fast that you can hardly sort and gather the details. One scene skips to the next, and to the next, without proper editing or sequencing. Chronologies get distorted. Which came first: stealing the chickens or coloring the eggs?
Sign up for Tomorrow's Good Times Today
Upcoming arts & events

Latest Comments


Foodie File: Yan Flower

Yan Belleville has owned Yan Flower, an affordable Chinese restaurant in Downtown Santa Cruz, with her husband Raymond for eight years, and it’s a family affair. Her brother, sister, sister-in-law, and cousins work there too. Locals know the joint for its massive lunch specials starting at $4.


How would you feel about a tech industry boom in Santa Cruz?

I feel like it would ruin the small old-town feeling of Santa Cruz. It wouldn’t be the same Surf City kind of vacation town that it is. Antoinette BennettSanta Cruz | Construction Management


Best of Santa Cruz County

The 2013 Santa Cruz County Readers' Poll and Critics’ Picks It’s our biggest issue of the year, and in it, your votes—more than 6,500 of them—determined the winners of The Best of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll. New to the long list of local restaurants, shops and other notables that captured your interest: Best Beer Selection, Best Locally Owned Business, Best Customer Service and Best Marijuana Dispensary. In the meantime, many readers were ever so chatty online about potential new categories. Some of the suggestions that stood out: Best Teen Program and Best Web Design/Designer. But what about: Dog Park, Church, Hotel, Local Farm, Therapist (I second that!) or Sports Bar—not to be confused with Bra. Our favorite suggestion: Best Act of Kindness—one reader noted Café Gratitude and the free meals it offered to the Santa Cruz Police Department in the aftermath of recent crimes. Perhaps some of these can be woven into next year’s ballot, so stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy the following pages and take note of our Critics’ Picks, too, beginning on page 91. A big thanks for voting—and for reading—and an even bigger congratulations to all of the winners. Enjoy.  -Greg Archer, EditorBest of Santa Cruz County Readers’ Poll INDEX


Comanche Cellars

Pinot Noir 2010 I first tasted Comanche Cellars Pinot when a friend brought a bottle to share over lunch at Center Street Grill in Santa Cruz. Upon trying it, I knew I had to find out more about it.