Right before I left for my trip home, I met my good friend Candice for lunch. I was really swamped and having lunch with someone who's great company like Candice just makes the whole day better. With so much on my mind, I really drew blanks when it came to where we'd grab lunch. Luckily, one of Candice's friends recommended a place I'd driven past dozens of times on Clairemont Mesa Boulevard....a taco shop called Yesenia's.
I gotta say.....this place sure is a bright orange.....
Starting with some Aguachile.
First off, the slices of avocado looked like it was headed South. Not a bad sign, but somewhat ominous if you'll be eating raw shrimp "cooked" in lime. The shrimp indeed tasted a bit fishy, it hadn't gone bad yet, but it seemed headed in that direction. The marinade was very mild with regards to aguachile....I expect bracing citrus tones and a good deal of heat, but this was almost bland. To be perfectly fair, this tasted much better at the end of the meal when the shrimp had been in the marinade for about half an hour.
I really didn't care for the Chicken Mole either.
I liked the beans, though....nicely seasoned.
Things started looking up when we tried the menudo.
As far as I can recall, this was full on tripe and not much else. It was also the least funky menudo that I've ever had. The tripe was well prepared, light crunch, but not tough or hard. I wish the broth had been seasoned more aggressively.....it needed salt, hot sauce, and a good amount of oregano would have helped too. Nice tripe though.......
In my opinion, the last item was the best.......fish rolled tacos, something I'd usually not think of ordering.
It really didn't look like much, but the fish had a nice flavor which came through very clearly. The shell was nice and crisp and the fish moist. Cabbage instead of lettuce is a good choice, it added a mild earthy-bitterness to the whole deal. I'd have this again.......
The funniest little snippet of a conversation we had was when I asked what her friends favorite item here was.....Candice smiled and sheepishly replied, "Carne Asada fries......" Ha! It just cracked me up...... I did tell her that, if her foodie......or in this case beerie (??? what do you call those folks?) buddy really thought this was the best carne asada fries I'd check them out....really.
So.....being a man of my word, I returned after my trip, and stepped into the wonderful orange glow of Yesenia's.
And ordered up something I hadn't had in maybe....I dunno, five years???
Carne Asada fries ($6.55). The carne asada was fairly tough, though decently flavored...perhaps better than your friendly neigborhood 'berto's. The guac was decent, it added some creaminess to the whole deal....I'm still not a real big fan of sour cream on this. I really did like the fries, which were very competently fried......not greasy and crisp. For some reason, this didn't feel like the gut-busting, hollow-leg filling, burp fest that I recall CAFs being. I enjoyed the various salsas here as well.......
This location of Yesenia's gets really busy around noon and after looking over all the breakfast items, I read they open at like 530 in the morning. That said, I'm not sure if I'll return anytime soon.....though I'm now curious, since I've gotten a couple of CAF recommendations over the years......what shop makes the best CAFs???? Just for future reference of course......
Yesenia's Taco Shop
8199 Clairemont Mesa Blvd
San Diego, CA 92111