Because I like to make more than one visit before doing a post, I sometimes take too long. As was the case with El Trebol, a taco shop that a couple of folks had recommended to me at what I call the "gateway to PB". By the time I went to make my second visit, a shop by the name of Ta'cul had taken its place.
The configuration has been changed around a bit and the place is looking kind of rustic. But the young lady and the guy working the kitchen are quite nice.
I liked the menu; both mariscos and what I consider a bit different for this part of town, tacos guisados are available.
Your guisados can be ordered as "street tacos" or larger tacos and run at $2.25 a pop for the smaller sizes. The prices for tacos de mariscos are four bucks and up.
Well, since I was here and fascinated by the menu, I ordered Al Pastor and Cochinita Pibil street tacos, and in typical form for me when it comes to tacos de mariscos, a Gobernador ($4.95).
Service was rather "laid back" as some of the containers on the tables were missing napkin and such. It also took a while to get my tacos.
Even though I saw the trompo in the kitchen, it was not in use. The "al pastor" was heated on the plancha and laid to rest in a mild tasting corn tortilla. It had a very strong, earthy, lightly peppery achiote flavor which kind of overwhelmed everything. It was also quite dry and tough; lacking the different textures of something off the vertical spit. The guacamole helped a bit, as did the onions, but still this really lacked the mild sweetness and balanced flavor I enjoy in a tacos al pastor.
I was quite excited to be able to try the Cochinita Pibil, which I rarely see on menus here in San Diego.
While this was also on the dry side and the achiote flavor was also quite pronounced, there was a mild porkiness to the meat, and the time on the flat top helped add some textural contrast to it. The flavor really reminded me of a milder version of my carne guisada. I did expect a bit more complexity; citrus, cinnamon, garlic, and cloves......but this was better than the previous taco.
The Gobernador looked a bit skimpy, but at least the tortilla was nicely coated with melted cheese to preserve the integrity of the taco.
Not enough onions...peppers....and the shrimp was over cooked. This was the best of the three tacos, but it's hard to get super excited about this......since I usually expect this when I order a Gobernador.
And this for an Al Pastor.
But this is PB and all......
I really did like the friendly service and this time I returned rather quickly.
And ordered the Fried Shrimp ($5.00), Pulpo ($5.95), and a Birria (de res) street taco.
The fried shrimp taco, while being a bit on the greasy side was the better of the two. The shrimp had a nice oceany-briney flavor, the onions and lime helped to cut the greasiness a bit; the batter had a lacquer like crunchiness and the shrimp were moist this time around. The octopus had a nice texture, not too chewy, but really had no flavor and was over shadowed by the peppers and even the queso.
The best was saved for last. It took a while for my taco de birria to arrive. But it was worth the wait.
While this won't make me forget Fernandez or any number of places; most of them are in the South Bay. While the meat was on the stringy side; this had a nice beefiness to it with a decent richness. Definitely the best item I'd had on my two visits.
Due to the nice, friendly atmosphere, I may return for a some more birria and perhaps something else from the menu. Though it's not very high on my list. Also, all they had on my two visits were bottled salsas.
2015 Garnet Ave
San Diego, CA 92109
Open Daily 11am - 10pm
I wonder if this pooch was waiting for some tacos?