Edgar Bonilla and Antonio Sanchez sit at one of the picnic tables stretched under a large tent. Edgar’s just lit a propane heater, and the warmth heats the chill from the morning air. Both bring their own energy to the table; Edgar’s bright, friendly, and warm. Antonio’s reserved, thoughtful, and competent. And they’re comfortable in each other’s company; they’ve worked together for over fifteen years in Napa restaurants. And they’ve come together to make some spectacular food at Los Compas.
“We decided to open up here,” Edgar begins, “because Middletown felt so lonely on weekends, where there were lots of people and not a lot of food.” He smiles brightly. “And why open up in Napa where there are so many restaurants when we could come to Lake County and meet a need?”
Edgar and Antonio are both passionate about good food, and they couldn’t be more excited to share their plans for Los Compas.
“We wanted something different,” Antonio says. He’s in an apron, head clean-shaven, tattooed arms resting on the table. “Not just beef and chicken tacos. We serve burgers, wings, soup of the day, vegetarian options, something for everyone.”
“This isn’t a boring taco truck,” Edgar adds. “When Antonio and I started, we said, ‘Let’s play with it. Let’s play with food.” Antonio smiles.
“Salsa’s a big thing for us,” Edgar continues. “A good salsa tells you a lot about a taco place. We’ve got our green salsa made with jalapeños, garlic, and onion. It’s a milder sauce. And for our red, we deep fry peppers and garlic and use roasted peppers and tomatoes. It’s got a smokiness and heat, and there’s the bounce of the onion.”
“We also serve breakfast on weekends from seven to eleven,” Antonio adds. “We have pancakes, French toast, and we just did eggs benedict. Everyone liked that.”
We chat for a couple more minutes, but it’s getting close to opening time, and Edgar and Antonio have work to do.
Kerly Loor, also known for the fantastic produce she grows at Dejulius Farms, works the register, a big smile on her face and a few happy words for each customer. Under the large tent, the heater’s pushed out the last of the morning chill. Edgar starts up some background music, and the food starts coming out. It’s one of the best perks to the Los Compas; unlike many taco trucks, there’s plenty of room to sit down, relax, and enjoy the meal.
A few minutes later, Edgar steps out of the truck, now in an apron. “Get ready for food nirvana,” he says as he sets down two plates of tacos and points to each one: “Al Pastor, Carnitas, Asada.” Green salsa tops some, red the other. Perfectly grilled onions and a jalapeño rest on one side, fresh and just-right crisp.
Each taco has its own appeal. Served on tortillas made locally by La Unica, the Asada taco’s marinated beef balances the salt with the salsa, a hearty, full flavor in each bite. The Al Pastor’s perfectly paired with the green salsa. The spice of the meat (marinated with spices including pineapple) and the tang of the jalapeño make each bite smooth, warm, and flavor-filled. And the carnitas tacos are some of the best I’ve ever had; the pork’s crispy and chewy, perfectly fried—other places leave it soft or over-fry it. Not at Los Compas. Each bite brings a mouthful of flavor: the crunch of raw onion, the heat and smokiness of the red salsa, the tang of cilantro. All come together to create a taco that’s juicy, flavorful, and doesn’t fall apart. It doesn’t matter what you order. Any taco at Los Compas fits the category of ‘food nirvana.’
Stuffed, but still curious, we picked up a burrito and some wings to take home to the kids. Both exceeded expectations. The burrito had a perfect blend of juiciness, meatiness, and freshness that still makes me salivate when I write about it. The wings were perfectly crisp and well-seasoned.
Los Compas knows how to make good food right and is well worth the stop on your way through Middletown.
Los Compas Taqueria
21208 Calistoga St, Middletown, CA 95461