I really have no idea what Cathy and Kirk are doing today, but they are not posting at mmm-yoso, because Ed (from Yuma) has a post here instead. But before the actual post begins, Ed wants to give a shout out to the fabulous Tamale Festival in Somerton (just a few miles S of Yuma on Hwy 95) which this year will take place on Saturday, Dec 20, 2014. Over 40 different tamale vendors - real artisan tamales, some of the very best I have ever eaten. Come Go!
This is the prime season for dining out – out-of-doors, actually – in Yuma. Here are two places well worth a visit.
El Buen Taquito
Some things change – some things stay the same. El Buen Taquito has been part of the Yuma dining scene for a long time, well before my first post about it. Now EBT has relocated to 8th Street almost across from Food City, and it is only partially a taco truck these days:
As you can see, there is now a semi-enclosed space as well as restrooms; the cooking is done in the separate truck.
Currently, there is no identifier on the building because the signage for the new location is a small billboard facing west at the edge of the lot:
On the other hand, the menu is basically the same:
You go up to the window, place your order, get a number, and sit at one of the tables inside or out. Your food will arrive shortly.
Tina and I started with the consommé:
As previously, this was really good. Both of us appreciated that this broth was more complex than we anticipated – with herbal and citrusy notes that enhanced its beefiness.
Tina ordered two flautas, a taco dorado, and a tostada:
I received two sopes:
and five flautas:
EBT is the king of crunch. The simple potato rolled tacos were magnificent, perfectly deep-fried (who knows in what?). The mild shredded beef flavored the crispy folded taco and the tostada. My sopes lacked the crackle of the other items, but the corn cakes had a nice chew. I found the whole meal to be filling and satisfying. EBT doesn't do a lot, but what it does, it does well.
El Buen Taquiyo seems open from before lunch into the later evening every day, and it always seems to have customers.
Mariscos El Delfin
This is the second year for this small restaurant that occupies the space that previously contained the El Navegante truck (1019 Ave B):
Seafood is not just the specialty here, it is just about the only thing served. The truck seems to be a one-woman operation, and her English is not fluent, but this modest seafood stand with two plastic tables is doing a good job.
Recently I stopped in for her combination coctele – containing pulpo and Camaron (octopus and shrimp) ($10):
The sundae glass nearly overflowing with seafood. The octopus was perfectly prepared, not gooey nor leathery, just fresh and chewy tasting:
The shrimp fresh and perfectly cooked:
As well as sauces sitting on the table, Delfin has a first-rate HOT house salsa that can perk up anything: While the seafood was perfectly prepared, the cocktail liquid was dominated by lime flavors and a bit one-dimensional. I also prefer a wider range of ingredients such as the campechanas at Juanita's or Mariscos Mar Azul.
On the other hand, right now Mariscos El Delfin is making my favorite fish tacos in town:
The fish filets are fresh and hot and flavorful. While the breading could be crunchier, the taco is otherwise wonderful and perfectly balanced.
The shrimp tacos likewise:
Tina and I were also amazed by the ceviche:
While not containing a lot of pescado, the freshness of all of the ingredients impressed. The balance between the citric tang and the crisp sweetness of the veggies was the perfect backdrop for the fish. No way overpowering, but just about right in every way.
Mariscos El Delfin is open 10 AM to 5 PM every day of the week except Monday.
On a recent weekend, I drove down to the parking lot of RTA/Toys R Us in Chula Vista. It had been a while since I had a chance to check out the Mariscos el Pescador truck, once our favorite. Unfortunately, when I arrived at 10am, there was already a line......good for them, bad for me, as I wasn't willing to stand in line. Instead, I headed to the other end of the parking lot. To the El Gallito Tortas Ahogadas truck.
I remember first coming here when they actually had a lonchera, which has since turned into a trailer. As you can see, they really push on the fact that Andrew Zimmern has been here......I hope it has brought them a ton of customers, though I'm thinking, the serious torta ahogada lovers, those who love the real deal from Guadalajara wouldn't really care.....
I had a traditional torta ahogadas at heat level "9". This is what I got.
On this visit, the pork in the sandwich was moist and nicely flavored. The chili de arbol sauce, while singular in tone, delivered a slow crescendo of heat.... it truly grows on you. The birote, the "roll" was much harder and less crusty than I recalled....it was once my favorite part of the sandwich.
I consider eating this "dipped sandwich" a challenge, packing extra napkins..... always thinking it was some kind of personal short-coming, I felt some vindication on this day as I saw several locals struggling with the sandwich....somehow it made me feel better.
This ended up being quite the "wake-up call" for a late breakfast. The woman working here was so very nice, even checking on me to make sure I hadn't dropped dead while eating my sandwich, then offering more hot sauce!
So, if you're in the area and looking for something more than some caffeine on a late morning.....perhaps you should have a tortas ahogadas, heat level 9. I'm sure it'll eventually get your attention.
El Gallito Tortas Ahogadas 1008 Industrial Blvd Chula Vista, CA 91911
Not everything makes it into a post, I've deleted many photos for posts that never got started....that Mariscos place where I got ill, that very good fine meal with no lighting....though unless we're travelling, I usually don't even break out the camera for those type of meals. And the one's I just never got around to.... I've done these "Never Made the Cut" posts before. Here's another batch.....
Recently, "Kha" sent me an email for some Hawaii recommendations, which included some requests for the North Shore.......
One of the places was Mackey's Shrimp Truck.......I sent him a photo and realized I never posted on the place.
Which made me realize that I had photos from meals during our travels that I never posted on. Too much time had passed.....
Sometimes I even had a very good meal, but the lighting was just too bad......like this revisit to The Old Fashioned.
Pickled Pork Hock...pickled egg.....
Nice burger.....and cheese curds of course....
And an adorable Server.......
But that lighting....ick......
I just plumb forgot about our revisit to Fresh Catch....
We enjoyed the poke much more this time around....
The Missus loved the really aged poi.....which was a surprise.....it was really funky.
This last one is from Tunis. It was a surprisingly decent meal......
This was pretty inexpensive as well.... in the Airport in Tunis! Airport staff and flight crew were on the other tables....so I guess this is the place!
So that's it....another Clearing Out the Memory Card post! Have a great weekend!
I'd been wanting to try out the Mariscos Truck in Hipster Land for a while......that would be Mariscos Nine Seas which is located in the parking lot of Gala Foods and across the street from South Park Abbey.
I really like the "seating area", chairs to sit and stools for tables.....kind of neat.
I also quickly noticed that the menu was basically in English, amking it very gringo friendly. No pretense at the customer base it seems. That Baja Trio seemed like a decent way of tasting a decent range of items, the shrimp, fish taco, and the smoked fish, so I decided on that. It did take me a while to order....for some reason, even when I tried calling into the window; the woman working didn't hear me. It wasn't until one of the guys walked out the door and noticed me that I got my order taken.
Anyway, I had my seat until my tacos were ready. I did notice that the guys who came after me were given consomme; but I wasn't, kind of strange. I'm sure I could have asked for it, but since I had three tacos coming, if they were good, I'd be back......
I wasn't a big fan of the tortillas which were crumbly and bland. The best of the bunch was the shrimp; which were plump and juicy and handled the simple batter quite well. The flavoring was simple, though bland. The fish taco was decently flavored, the batter a bit too light, and the fish kind of slimy, what's with all the watery crema nowadays. Also, even tohugh it was 11am nad they open at 930, they seemed ill prepared....I had to ask for napkins, salsa, there was no cebollas, no limes.......
Tacos de Marlyn is one of my favorites....I love the combination of smoke, saltiness, and the flavor of the fish. This however, was probably the worst version I've ever had....it lacked a decent smoke flavor and was terribly fishy....I'm no shrinking violet; I've eaten fish curd and what they call "fish poo", but this just didn't taste right. I went back to the truck and asked for a "salsa picante" something spicy to see if that would fix tihngs....it didn't...I dumped it.
I'm guessing a lot of folks love this truck.....I'll pass.
The Mariscos Nine Seas Truck 3030 Grape St San Diego, CA 92102
A couple of weeks back, occasional commenter "Buddha" who I've known since the "Chowhound Days" shot me an email telling me that he believes the best fish tacos are now being served from a truck on the corner of J and Broadway in Chula Vista named Tijuana Jr. This past weekend, I finally had some time to drive down there are check them out.
When I arrived at 10am, they were already doing some serious business. The truck is located in the parking lot of a tire shop with very limited parking. I was lucky enough to snare a spot.
There's one guy manning the order window and another manning the window for payment making things easy.
Of course I went with a Taco de Pescado - the fish taco $1.25.
Good god, this thing was huge for a typical fish taco. Two large pieces of fish, moist, the batter is almost a laquer-tempura style, very crisp. Not to much flavor, the crema is watery, you'll need to add some sauce to this one, a squeeze of lime, and maybe the habenero onions. Still, this is a super deal for a $1.25 and I think it may be the best......I need to get back to Mariscos el Pescador and El Prieto for a comparison.
I also ordered a Gobernador, which had a ton of perfectly cooked shrimp.
This really didn't seem like the typical gobernador to me....though I loved the way the cheese had been melted and griddled in some spots. This thing literally fell to pieces in ten seconds. If this was indeed a gobernador, I really missed the onions, peppers, and seasonings. Still no complaints about pertion size, though this too was very mild in flavor.
I was more than satisfied as I left. I'll be back!
Thanks for the recommendation Jeff!
Mariscos Tijuana Jr 706 W J St Chula Vista, CA 91910
On site daily from 9am - 7pm
Since I was down in the South Bay, I thought I'd check on El Charco, which looks exactly the same as 5 months ago. I think the place is a goner.
Mariscos Godoy is now Maricos la Perla Negra:
As I headed to the I-5 down Palomar I took a quick glance to my right and was surprised. Mariscos Godoy was now Mariscos la Perla Negra:
Anyone know what happened?
A funny thing happened as I was waiting at the light to get back on Palomar; CC sent me a text telling me that Mariscos Godoy had closed! Man, that was kind of weird....I squinted my eyes looking out at Palomar Street....looking to see if I could spot her.....
Man, the last two weeks have been brutal....call me a soft San Diegan, but I've been feeling the heat and humidity. I told Cathy that I wish it would just storm like crazy so this weather would break. No such luck so far!
Well, regardless of the weather, you've got to eat, right? So here's some of what we had during the last two weeks.
It had been a while and I was craving some Ebi Kakiage cold noodles, so Izakaya Sakura it was.
This time it was the cold udon version, which hit the spot.
This really hit the spot!
Though I could have done without having to listen to Wilson Phillips Greatest Hits throughout my meal....
Izakaya Sakura 3904 Convoy St #121 San Diego, CA 92111
The Original Sab E Lee:
Spicy Thai food is a natural for us during hot muggy weather.....not sure why.
A quick look at the steam table made selecting what I wanted easy.
The Beef Mechado was much more tender than the last time I had it. The flavor was also better, much more tangy flavor and decent salt. It was on the greasy side though.
The sisig was not bad; nice pungent, sour, spice, salt..... would have been nice to have a bit of crispness in it since it was typical "SD Sisig", left-over lechon kawale. But overall; no complaints, better than I've had recently.
Manila Fast Food and Desserts 8979 Mira Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92126
Champions Mariscos Truck:
So, just as in the previous four weeks, I broke out the smoker during Labor Day weekend. I needed something fairly close by before I started the ribs, so I headed over to Champions Mariscos Truck in the parking lot of Toys R' Us on Morena.
Consomme might seem to be a bit much on a scortching day, but I can never turn it down. This was a bit too water for my taste, with a bit too much celery flavor. Not as good as my previous visits.
I went with the Arrachera y Camaron...the surf and turf taco. Not enough caramelization on the beef, but it was decently tender. The shrimp were moist and flavorful.
I decided to go with the Taco de Marlyn again.
Man, they really loaded this thing! Unlike my previous visit, it didn't seem to have too much queso...perhaps due to the amount of filling! All this "stuff" seemed to water down the flavor of the smoked fish though....but this wasn't too bad.
Champions Mariscos Truck - In the parking lot of Toys 'R Us on Morena Boulevard
So there you go....we may be overheatin', but we're still eatin'. Hope everyone is staying and keeping cool!
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
So there I was running low on petrol in City Heights. I decided to stop and fill up at the station on the corner of ECB and Fairmount and what do I see but a mariscos truck! I've passed this corner dozens, maybe hundreds of times and had never seen this truck before.
Since it was almost lunchtime and I was famished, this seemed like the perfect stop.....all the stars were aligned it seemed.
All the standard mariscos offerings were present on the menu posted at the rear of the vehicle. I did find it kind of strange that there were no prices posted, except for fish tacos which were a $1.25.
The woman manning the window looked familiar.....was this truck once one of the Mariscos German fleet? She always seemed a bit gruff before and this time was no different.
The consomme was decent, way too much celery for my liking, but not bad.
I ordered a fish taco and a gobernador, which came out to $6.25.
As fish tacos go, this was ok. All the usual suspects. The crema was mild and the tortilla routine. There was too much batter on the fish, which was on he gummy side. The fish tasted a bit off as well.
I hoped my Gobernador would be an improvement and while not as good as, say the original Mariscos German(no tomatoes), Beyer, or El Pescador, it was not bad.
The shrimp were plump and juicy, though the vegetables were undercooked for my taste. The cheese was perfectly melted and this was super hot, though it could have used more seasoning...oregano, salt, pepper. Still it wasn't too bad.
So I returned the following weekend for another try. Same gruff woman, though she must have a heart of gold as she gave the homeless guy a fish taco......me on the other hand, I just a "yes" as she looked down at me. This time I ordered the tacos de camarones and a taco de marlyn, which cost $7.50 total.
Quite a bit of shrimp in my taco, though this confirmed that I'm not a big fan of the gummy and not especially crisp batter. The tomtoes were green and not very good. The rest was decent.
The taco de marlyn....smoked fish taco was the best item I've had here.
The fish had a nice smokiness to it and while the versions at many places teeters on salty, this one isn't.
Again the peppers, celery, and onions weren't stir-fried long enough, making it them and raw tasting.
It was also a decent sized portion though another customer ordered the same thing while I was leaving and was only charged $6.50. Shades of Vietnam!!!
I'm hoping the pricing was a mistake. I wouldn't want to think the place does random pricing based on customers.
Overall, just ok, not quite in the same league as other trucks I've been too.
Mariscos Alex In the parking lot of Qwik Corner Service Station 4357 El Cajon Blvd San Diego, CA 92105
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.
I've been shopping at the Northgate Market on the corner of 54th and University quite a bit. The Missus bought a new juicer and has been some interesting concoctions, several of which use nopales. The most disturbing one was nopales and beets which looked like bloody snot....but I digress. One day, Instead of heading just getting back onto 54th and my way home, I took a right on University and saw a pretty busy taco truck.
The selling point seemed to be the 99 cent fish tacos...which is quite cheap since most trucks, including my favorite have raised prices north of a buck. The seating area is a very small - four chair and no table makeshift looking set-up. So you really will be eating on the hood of your car here! The folks here were very friendly. One of the women started chatting with me....talking about favorite taco trucks...hers being El Kiki, while lamenting the crazy price of gas. The menu is interesting, the top half is in Spanish, the bottom half is the English translation.
I went the cheap route, two Tacos de Pescado.
The batter was on the soft side, with a hint of sweetness, a bit too spongy for my taste. Not much fish in this at all, but what do you expect for 99 cents? The crema had no taste and the tortillas....eh...
So that was it, right? Well, maybe not. I went shopping again this past weekend and was just plain starving. I decided to try some of the other stuff at El Jefe.
By the way, if you're ever looking for the cebollas, limes, and salsas, they're behind the gobernador door!
Speaking of gobernador, I got one of those and one of the spicy shrimp tacos. These looked quite a bit more hefty.
Both of these had things in common, both had cheese melted on the base of the tortilla to prevent the tacos from disintegrating. Both had some kick, though the spicy shrimp was surprisingly spicy. Both were two tortilla jobs, you could tell much more care was taken with these. The gobernador was the better of the two, but nowhere as good as others. The shrimp in both tacos were on the overcooked side as well. The spicy shrimp taco was interesting....I wasn't fond of the very finely diced cabbage mixed with crema. Though it served to buffer the heat, it was like dumping coleslaw all over a taco.
The shrimp were spicy, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that they use habaneros for this. The overall flavor was pretty one dimensional.
I'd say that El Jefe, wasn't quite "the boss" of Mariscos trucks in San Diego. Probably not in my top five. But like the woman said, "the price of gas now is so high, we have to find alternatives to driving to South Bay."