Susan Hattie Steinsapir Recipes

Old California State Fair Tacos

By Andreas Ramos. Updated December, 2023

We went to the State Fair the last three hours of the last day. All of the livestock looked ready to go home two days ago. The carnies looked a lot tidier than I remember them. The technology exhibit in the Expo Center was so bare as to be embarrassing. T he county exhibits were way cool. Didn't see L.A. County but Riverside County was quite elaborate. It was funny, some of the smaller counties, the "cow" counties had fancier exhibits than did, say Marin County. Marin's was really lame-o. Santa Cruz county looked as if they should have held a bake sale to get a few more dollars for the display. But little counties such as Placer and Glenn had really nice exhibits with moving parts and everything.
There was tons of Fair food. Can't have a fair without it. We had eaten but I had room for something. Then, I spotted it. State Fair Tacos - the Original Since 1947. Yes!!! I thought they had gone with the old State Fair. No, still alive and well.
And, the tacos were a bargain - only $1.75 each. A coke cost that much at most stands. The taco was quite good. It really hit the nostalgia spot.
And, all of you are so lucky because I have the recipe!!! The Sacramento Bee published the recipe a while back. The ladies selling the tacos knew the Bee had done this. Someone came up to them when they were working the fair in Santa Rosa and said they ha d clipped the recipe, too.


  • 1 potato (about 4 inches long)
  • 1/4 head lettuce
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 6 green onions
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 small can green chilies
  • Salt and pepper
  • 12 - 14 white corn tortillas
  • Vegetable oil


  1. Boil or microwave the potato until it’s soft. Cool, remove the skin, mash so pieces are no bigger than 1/8 inch each. Set aside.
  2. Very thinly slice, as thinly as possible, the lettuce. Cut these thin strips into pieces about one inch long. Set aside.
  3. Crush the garlic, set aside.
  4. Slice green onions very thin. Use all of the white part and about 3/4 inch of the green part. Break the rings apart, place in a bowl. Brown the ground beef in a skillet. Break up the beef so it cooks into teeny tiny pieces. When completely cooked, drain any fat. Return to pan. Add the water, onion, chilies, garlic, salt and pepper. Stir completely to mix and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the lettuce and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the potato, stir and cook until the lettuce is very soft - about another 15 minutes. Add more water if necessary. The final consistency should be thick. Either steam the tortillas or fry them lightly. To fry lightly, heat 1/4 inch of oil to medium hot. Once hot, place tortilla in oil for 2 seconds. Flip using tongs and cook 2 seconds on other side. Blot dry with paper towels and keep warm until you've done all of the tortillas. Put tortilla on a plate.
  5. Spoon meat mixture onto tortilla and roll up. If you want, add some taco sauce before rolling. Eat and en joy!
  6. Makes about 12 - 14 tortillas.
  7. The recipe said that the lettuce was the thing. I noticed the lettuce and the potato. Instead of folding the taco, you're rolling it. It's a different taco. It sure isn't Mexican but it's mighty tasty.

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