Friday, January 22, 2016


First let me talk a little about Estrada's restaurant.  This restaurant when it closed in Visalia, California, was at the time the longest running restaurant in California. It was written in wills that the recipes would NEVER be written down, only passed from one family member to the next by word of mouth.  There was a family member who would make items for special friends for special occasions after the restaurant closed, but sadly he passed away more than a year ago.

I think that we all like the food we grew up eating whether this be Mexican, Chinese, etc. this is the taste we hunger for when we find a new place. Estrada's was not your typical Mexican restaurant - on the menu it stated "Early California food." My friend Nancy and I decided that we would each work on the recipes and to try and recreate the taste of our childhood as we both remember going to this restaurant in the old white house in Visalia, California before they moved to their last location on Mooney Boulevard.  I remember going in to town (was raised on a ranch in between Visalia and Tulare, California) we would call and order tamales and beans and go to the back door to get the goods and pay.  Nancy has a cute story about the sizzling tostadas - she not only always had two but wanted her mother to call and order ahead of time so they would be ready upon their arrival! They were and still are very unique. I will post the recipe for them later as well as Nancy's cooks notes.

Where did we get the recipes?  Mostly online - I have been part of a message string for a few years - like minded people looking for the recipes.  The postings that have been the most beneficial have come from people who worked at the restaurant over the years.  A big breakthrough was finding the recipe for their red sauce because that meant that it was then pretty easy to recreate the enchiladas and the macaroni. Macaroni, yes - remember their food was early California food.

The one thing that seems to be universal about the recipes we have recreated is simplicity.  Here is the recipe for the chicken:


That's it - here are the instructions:

Salt & pepper the chicken on both sides, season the flour with salt and pepper. Cover the chicken with the seasoned flour mixture and fry in lard in a cast iron frying pan till done.

I do not normally fry chicken, except for a picnic and I will usually brine the chicken overnight, but I did exactly as the recipe called for - salt and pepper both front and back, coat with the flour and fry.  I put the flour into a plastic bag and shook each piece individually.
Instead of a cast iron frying pan I chose to use my cast iron enamel pot with the higher sides so as to not make such a mess frying, high sides cut down on the splatter - and safety - not getting burned by splatter.

Here it is - and it tastes exactly like their chicken.  I knew it would be when I was cooking because I could smell that familiar scent of their chicken.

Lard??? Everyone has to make up their own mind about using this particular ingredient.  Both medically (lard does have less saturated fat than butter) and just as a product that has been so maligned over the years.  This ingredient has made a come back with foodies in recent years and they recommend leaf lard as the best (very expensive and hard to find). I did read an article that stated the start of the downfall of this ingredient was advertisements for items like Crisco saying that lard was unhealthy and that their product was healthier.  I say all things in moderation and if I make this chicken a couple of times a year to take on a picnic, I think that is OK.

Thank you for stopping by.



  2. Easy as pie, give it a try! Thank you for stopping by! Jj