The Sizzler taco basket from Taco Mama in Auburn.

When the word spread that Taco Mama was coming to Auburn, I set my sights on trying out the new Mexican spot. Mexican is generally my first choice when it comes to eating-out options, and I’m always looking for new options.

I walked up for lunch Wednesday in the middle of a busy day, but the thought of good food always puts me in a better mood. So when I was greeted by the friendly lady at the entrance, which is wide open and not like a regular door at all (I’m not really sure how they close that place), my attitude shifted from hurried to hungry.

She asked if I had ever eaten at Taco Mama, and was ready with some yummy-sounding suggestions when I said no, which was great because I’m incredibly indecisive and always want to try everything at new places.

I went with what she claimed was her favorite, The Sizzler taco basket. It came with two grilled steak tenderloin tacos topped with grilled onions, avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, red chile butter sauce and cheese. It also came with chips, salsa and a side, which I chose to be guacamole. I also went with her off-the-menu suggestion to get a side of chipotle ranch to dip the tacos in. All for $9.

Before I go on, you should know something that made this meal gold for me. When I go into preparing or ordering anything, my ultimate goal (often subconscious) is to get as many flavors in one meal as possible, which is also why I refuse to order the same things as my boyfriend when we go out to eat so I can snag a bite of his as well.

This dish was perfect for that.

The flavors were bright and fresh, and the grilled steak was amazing. It wasn’t dried out, but juicy like steak should be and often isn’t on Mexican food, and the grilled onions added a nice warm topping to accompany the cooler avocado and lettuce. And if you’re a fan of ranch, that chipotle ranch is flawless.

I was so full by the end of the tacos that I didn’t have room left for the chips, salsa and guac, but they made an excellent snack after work. The salsa was spicy, which I love; the chips were thin and salty, which I love; and the guac was thick and yummy, which I also love.

As far as the atmosphere, Taco Mama was much more festive than most order-at-the-counter Mexican options with orange string lights and plenty of décor and music to set the mood. The menu also boasted of their margaritas, which are made with real fruit juices and advertised that “any time is time for a margarita.”

My food came out quickly even though they were slammed for lunch, and everyone working was kind and helpful. They also have plenty of other food options, including burrito baskets, quesadillas, a couple salads and lots of sides.

Moral of the story. I’m already planning my next trip.

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