So yesterday I did a "Breakfast of Champions" post, I guess it just makes sense to do Champions Mariscos right after it.
Last week I making the drive up Morena Boulevard, something that I do countless times during the week. In the parking lot to the side of Toys 'R Us, where the ill fated Morena Farmers Market used to be was a lonchera.....
I hadn't seen this one before. Yet, I had stuff to do and couldn't drop by. I kept my fingers crossed that this wasn't just a one time deal. So this past weekend, I managed to stop by. Not once, but twice.
Champion Mariscos? I don't ever recall seeing or hearing about this truck. It was kind of weird approaching the lone truck in the middle of a large parking lot, with no one else around. I checked out the menu, the prices seemed in line for most items. The woman handling the counter was quite friendly. I asked her how long they had been here....."since monday" and what they're hours were, "every day 10 to 6".
I have a usual "routine" of items I order from just about any mariscos truck and I'm just too old to change that habit.
Like any decent mariscos truck, things start off with a cup of consomme.....
On the light side, kind of salty, but not terrible.
I went with the Fish Taco, which was a 99 cent special and a taco gobernador ($4.25).
So let me just get my pet peeves out of the way. The fish taco's batter was kind of mushy, in fact the fish was unusually bland, yet very moist edging on mushy as well. I'm thinking this was probably swali. The under ripe tomatoes add a bit of texture but not any of that nice acid to the taco. Other than that....it's 99 cents, who am I to be a nit-picker, right? There was a ton of shrimp on the gobernador. The tortilla had been lined with melted cheese so it wouldn't turn to mush. The shrimp was cooked decently, but I sorely missed the acid of some sauteed tomatoes and the flavor of bell peppers in this. Still, there was a decent amount of shrimp in this.
So I decided to make a return visit. The consomme was much better this time around. Nice shrimp-fish flavor, with hints of celery.
I decided to just go for it and started with an Enchilado Shrimp Taco....spicy shrimp($4.25). At first I was just going to do a taco de camaron, but I really didn't care for the batter, nor the frying technique on my previous visit.
Good quantity of shrimp, well cooked, though not very spicy. Same tomatoes and mediocre tortillas. Not bad.
I also got the taco de marlyn...or in this case marlin ($4.00):
Unlike other versions, the smoked fish wasn't too salty, but it did lack a distict smokey flavor. The tortilla was nicely griddles, but there was just too much cheese on this. I like the way these trucks make prep the tortilla on the gobernador or marlyn, using cheese as a base to preserve the texture of the tortilla. There's a very mild milky background that you barely notice. Here there was just too much of that. This was not bad by any means, but nowhere near the league of the good mariscos trucks in San Diego.
One thing about my posts you have to understand. It's not in my DNA to drop my standards "just because I'm happy something is close by". Just as I'm not just happy because we actually have XLB in San Diego, I can't say the food here is fantabulous, just because it's the only one. That said, I hope if you live nearby you check them out. I don't want to be negative, but Mariscos German couldn't make it in the neighborhood and sadly, we couldn't even support a Farmer's Market! La Playita closed recently and Playa Azul a couple of years ago. So unless you just want Taco Shop fare, this might be one of your few shots at something different.
Champions Mariscos Truck - In the parking lot of Toys 'R Us on Morena Boulevard