Califonia Bountiful

Taco time!

July/August 2021 California Bountiful magazine

Homemade tortillas and sangria make it a party

Homemade tortillas form the basis for chef Hank Guerrero's tacos. Photo: © 2021 Lori Eanes

For chef Hank Guerrero, part of the allure of cooking is "watching families gather and have a good time and make memories."

That's how he, as a child growing up in Dixon, got hooked.

"I'd be helping my dad outside and when he would get tired of me messing with him, he would send me inside and my mom would make me help her cook," Guerrero said. "It was just awesome watching her make rice or certain meats for dinner. I was like, 'Whoa!' It's almost like magic, you're transforming things."

Since January, after stints in the Bay Area, the self-taught chef is back in his Solano County hometown transforming local, seasonal ingredients into breakfast, lunch and dinner at The Barn and Pantry. One of the customers' weekly favorites: Thirsty Thursdays, when tacos star on the menu. But not just any tacos. These are made with tortillas from Guerrero's grandfather's recipe.

"The tortillas are really easy to make and they're fun to do at home. It's something that kids usually get excited to help with," he said.

The father of 9-year-old twins—a girl and a boy—speaks from experience.

"My son, he's super into cooking food, so I let him help me with dinner. And he loves making the tamales or tortillas," he said.

Guerrero recalls cooking at a family birthday party a few years ago, with his son helping with the tacos.

"He was 7 or 8, and he actually did a good job. I just had him flipping the tortillas on the flat top," he said. "That's when I realized, 'Oh man, now I'm cooking with him like I was cooking with my mom.'"

Barbara Arciero


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