BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — In April, I had a wonderful meal at El Puesto Cocina y Cantina, a bright, busy restaurant on California Avenue serving inventive brunch items and classic Mexican dishes. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

But as much as I loved that meal, I felt the need to visit the original El Puesto on Brundage Lane. Sequels are fun, sometimes even better than the first (see: “The Empire Strikes Back”) but the original typically exudes something special, a quality making it worthwhile of replication.

That’s certainly the case with El Puesto. The food at the Brundage Lane location was of the same excellent quality. Service may be a bit slower, and seating is limited to outdoor tables, but there’s no denying it’s still a great time.

The pace, in fact, was a welcome change. Some restaurants bring the bill five minutes after the meal arrives; El Puesto lets you linger, savoring the experience.

The “mar y tierra,” the restaurant’s version of surf and turf, is a generous portion of grilled asada steak topped with sauteed shrimp with sides of rice and refried beans. It comes with two fresh tortillas, a grilled green onion and jalapeno.

Use the tortillas to make a couple tacos or to simply wipe up the compelling red sauce bathing the proteins, both of which were cooked just right.

Large handmade tacos at El Puesto.

I also tried the large handmade tacos filled with ground beef, cheese, shredded lettuce and onions. They’re giant — two filled the plate — and delicious, disappearing quickly despite their formidable size.

If there’s a drawback to this location, it’s the lack of indoor seating. Eating outdoors wasn’t an issue this past weekend as temperatures didn’t rise above the mid-80s, but I expect it’s a grueling experience during the scorching summer heat. Plan accordingly — light clothing and dining early in the day would be my recommendation — and have a few mugs of the restaurant’s refreshing cucumber lime agua fresca.