Until this past weekend, I hadn't been back down to Chula Vista in a while. On Saturday I made a trip to Hogetsu Bakery and since I had a bit of time took a drive around. I saw at least three trucks that I hadn't seen before. One of them was of particular interest, so I made some time to return the next day. In the lot of the liquor store where Third becomes Beyer and intersects Main was this truck.
Just the barbacoa sign would usually be enough to lure me in. I did enjoy the sign for some of the more "interesting" tacos and though fish tacos were priced at a dollar on the sign, they were going for 75 cents on this day!
So I placed my order and received a cup of consomme of the barbacoa type. Hot and soothing.
And of course I had to try the Barbacoa de Res Taco. It was worth the $1.75 as there was quite a bit of meat.
Loved the fact they brushed one side of the tortilla with consomme and put it on the griddle....I still haven't bought into having beans in these though. The salsa roja had some kick and the lime added some nice acid, but as a whole, the barbacoa was a bit too mild in flavor for me.
Still, I was really here because I saw this sign on the previous day:
In this case Caguamanta, a soup made with re-hydrated, dried manta ray. I love the intense, briney, ocean flavor of mantarraya, ever since I first had it while visiting Ed in Yuma back in 2005. It's not something very common; Mariscos Godoy sometimes serves Manta Ray Machaca, but other then that it's pretty slim pickings....
I ordered a "chica", the small size, not cheap at three bucks. I had it with cilantro and onions with crackers instead of tortillas. It arrived steaming hot.
The broth was pretty straight-forward and nothing fancy. I loved the addition of avocado which added an interesting creaminess to the whole deal. I was surprised at the amount of shredded mantarraya in this little cup! The flavor is not what you think; think of less salty bacalao meets less intense dried scallop. I've been told that mantarraya is a good substitute for sea turtle dishes.....though I can't really say from experience if that is true. As Ed from Yuma says, there a "Manhattan Chowder-ry" flavor to this.
I ended up buying the large size....which was a bargain at six bucks for the Missus who loved it.
The woman who took my order was quite nice as was the rather serious looking young man who replaced her. It seems like this is a family operation. It's good to have some variety amongst all the taco trucks in the area and I hope they keep the mantarraya on the menu.
Barbacoa & Frutas El Vaquero Truck
On the corner of Main and Beyer.
Current hours are from "about" 830 to as late as 5pm. The nice woman told me that they are currently in this location daily, but are thinking of taking Sunday off.