mmm-yoso!!! is a food blog. We thank you for stopping by to read. On this lovely Friday of a very busy October weekend, Kirk is working a lot of stressful overtime, while Ed (from Yuma) is gearing up for a busy weekend of research for future postings and Cathy is relaxing in front of the computer and writing this post.
For the past few decades, I've been more than interested in condiments. Numerous varieties of ethnic cooking are common here and so many ingredients are available.
Living in San Diego County, the varieties of sauces and salsas used in and on and with Mexican food are numerous.Walk into any generic grocer and the choices are overwhelming...
Walk into a Mexican Market and the choices increase exponentially.
Step into any taco shop and the fresh made vats of salsas and condiments are unique in flavor and selection.Have a seat at primarily mariscos (seafood) restaurant and the hot sauce selection on each table leads to some interesting flavor points if you become curious about what makes each differ from the other.Depending on what you order, at certain establishments, the 'proper' salsa/sauce (made in the restaurant) will be brought out to the table. One of our favorite Mexican places, Maritza's (it's in Clairmont; I'll have a post ready soon) makes a special chopped green salsa, served only with carnitas, which are prepared and served only on Wednesdays. It's multi flavored with a medium heat, a little salty and compliments the chunky seared pork absolutely perfectly.Then there is mole: complex flavored, multi ingredient sauces with flavors unique to various regions of Mexico. The above breakfast (over eggs) mole is from Vanessa's Deli and has a distinct sweetness.These three moles served over chicken enchiladas from Rana's (again, I have a post forthcoming) are each wildly unique: the red mole is poblano chili based and, like the other two, is made with more than 20 ingredients, the white mole has pecans in its base while the green mole uses fresh herbs, tomatillos and sunflower seeds. Each is wonderful on its own and when I can't decide..well the 'Tricolor' plate is my choice.The enchilada suizas at Ponce's is my usual choice. Suiza means 'Swiss' and the sauce is cream based, thick and with a mild green salsa mixed in for this version.Similarly, the Karina's sauce is green and creamy, but more of a culiché sauce: cream, poblano chilis and garlic dominate the flavors.Sometimes, I crave a rich flavored, chili pepper and tomato based red enchilada sauce on top of cheese filled corn tortillas. The above is from my neighborhood taco shop; each taco shop makes a unique version.
Then, there are this days when I can't decide and everything sounds good. The wonderful Mexican people have a solution on their menus - Divorciados!
Huevos divorciados (divorced eggs) is a Mexican breakfast made with two fried eggs, separated in the above version by refried beans and potatoes (I've sometimes had chilaquiles as the separation food item). One egg is covered in salsa roja (red sauce) and the other egg covered in salsa verde (green sauce), giving each egg a distinct flavor. (The above Divorciados Plate is a breakfast item at El Portal ). Dropping in at Carnitas Uruapan, there is a white board of daily specials and lately 'Carne Divorciados' has been an available special.
The top plate has the red sauce covering chicharron (fried pork rinds) and the green sauce covering pork pieces.
The second plate has the green sauce covering chicharron and the red sauce covering beef rib meat (they were out of cooked pork at the time of our order). You can see how different the sauces are from the same kitchen on different days.
Finding new flavors makes me happy, finding divorciados means I don't have to make many decisions on some days...
I believe I first read about Salud on Mary's Food Blog, then some friends told me they really like the place. They described it as sort of hipster tacos put together by the San Diego Taco Company. I had wanted to check out Border X Brewing Company, so decided to make it a two-fer. Unnfortunately, Border X was closed...but at least Salud was open. Man, I hadn't been in this part of Barrio Logan since this location was Porkyland over 9 years ago!
The interior is nice and bright with high ceilings making the dining area seem wide open and airy. The folks here are very friendly. You order at the counter then have a seat with a number....
The menu is simple, with tacos, bowls, quesadillas, and such.
Loved this mural.....
Also enjoyed the salsa bar....nice variety, well made salsas, though in the end I choose the traditional Chile de Arbol Salsa.
I order three tacos, $2.50 each....so $7.50 for three tacos. I gotta say, they were pretty sloppy.
The fried tortilla for the birria (this version is pork) was superb, light, crusty, really nice. This was basically a mes. The birria was pretty bland, really lacking any chile flavor, richness, or anything else notable. It's not even close to say; what Fernandez and even milder than Tacos Revolucion's version. Too bad, that tortilla was excellent.
The obviously hand made tortilla used for the Taco de Al Pastor was also excellent.
The al pastor was nice and crisp, but the flavor was really lacking......there was also a slight bitterness to the meat as well. Not my favorite thing.
I really enjoyed the Taco de Barrio, which didn't look like much, but was quite good.
Loved the combinations of textures, the creamy, almost too salty, but delicious frijoles, the tender stewed beef, the pieces of nopales, the nice smooth crema, and a really good hand made flour tortilla. Very nice topped off with that salsa that added the heat and the acid to harmonize all the flavors. Very nice!
The next weekend, I had to head down to National City for something, so decided to drop by Salud again to try some other tacos. I again got three.
A much nicer presentation this time. As with the previous visit, the tortillas were all excellent.
The carnitas was also pretty mild in flavor, though the texture was good, I'd want something a bit more "pork forward". The avocado crema was quite nice.
I enjoyed everything but the flavor of the fish; which was on the muddy side on the fish taco.
The nice crunchy batter, the cabbage and pico de gallo, and of course the tortilla worked well together, though it won't make me forget about my favorite versions of fish tacos in San Diego.
And of course, another Taco de Barrio, which was just as satisfying as my previous one. Really satisfying, if a tad on the salty side.
To me, not a place to go out of the way for. Though I'd gladly drop in if/when I ever make it to Border X Brewing or if for some reason I'm back in the neighborhood.
You've heard those arguments, right? You stop in a bar for a beer and two knuckleheads gentlemen at the bar are doing the "who is better" thing......Ryan or Koufax, Montana or Elway, Kikaida or Kamen Rider? Kikaida or Kamen Rider??? Believe it or not....two guys at my favorite watering hole "back home" almost came to blows over that one! So there I was, listening to these two guys go at each other over Al Pastor....interesting! It became a lot less interesting after I found out that they were comparing JV's and Lalo's. No offense, but there's a lot better to be had here. Still, it made for some fine entertainment and it had been a while since I'd been to either place, 8 years since JV's and a whopping 9 1/2 years since Lalo's. So why not? I started with.....
JV's Mexican Food:
I'd say this place is timeless. As in the sign has kind of faded and the prices have gone up, but the place looks basically the same as I recalled.
I've always had friendly service here and on this visit it was the same. What was different was that they have "street tacos".
Three Al Pastor Tacos go for a wallet friendly $4.50.
As before, the Al Pastor lacks that trompo crusted texture and is less sweet than I prefer....actually, it's a bit on the bland side. The tortillas are typical, not terrible, but nothing special. The salsas are decent and this all works together adequately. It's not terrible, JV's will never be the first that comes to mind, when it comes to Al Pastor.....but it's decent rather cheap easts.
JV's Mexican Food 1112 Morena Blvd San Diego, CA 92110
I think the guy here was having a bit of a bad day....he couldn't wait to get rid of me....
The same $4.50 got me this - two small Al Pastor tacos.
Liked the guacamole, the tortillas weren't very good. The al pastor lacked color and the texture was on the mushy side and quite bland. The salsas here are pretty good, the picante is truly spicy. Yet I can't help thinking that time hasn't been real friendly to Lalo's.
Lalo’s Tacos Etc 1266 University Ave San Diego, CA 92103
In the end, I really can't recommend either location for Al Pastor; though perhaps JV's might be a ahead.
So what about that Kikaida versus Kamen Rider argument? I guess in this case it would be Rainbowman. So how's that for a nostalgic walk back to "small kid time"?
Thanks for stopping by to read mmm-yoso!!! Kirk is still on vacation, as is Ed (from Yuma). Cathy is busy with people who want to be on vacation while writing a post a day...about another few meals enjoyed.
I really try to cover different foods and parts of the County each day when I keep the blog going while Kirk is on vacation and realize I skipped the South County area entirely this time. Bad me.
Here's a post showing a few visits to one of our favorite places in Chula Vista.Look to the far left..the blue and red signage on the building frontage pushed back a bit. "Manna Restaurant" Pancake House-Chinese Fast Food. THAT's why we pulled into this parking lot.
Manna was very crowded that first time with people waiting to get in the door. Vanessa's Deli and Water Store had two empty tables. That's how it started. We now come to this parking lot and pick either Manna or Vanessa's for a meal. Here is a link to a recent post about Manna from fellow blogger, cc. (My post about Manna is forthcoming.)Asking if we had to order and pay first, we found out there is table service (and a quite large menu with many photos; more items than shown in the menu in above photo).After our orders were taken, I noticed both an ice cream area and a small freezer filled with ice cream Novelties in front of it (to the left in the above photo) and (straight ahead in the photo) at the wall was the Water Store area.Soon, two salsas and a small Vampiro ($4.49) were brought out. Beet, carrot, celery, apple, orange and lime, freshly juiced, filtered and poured into the cup: no ice. That's how it's done right.The #3 Combo ($10.99). This three item plate included a chile relleño, lomo enchilada and chicken sope along with rice, beans and tortillas. This was all very good. The sauces, salsa and guacamole stood out with their brisk fresh flavors. The lomo torta ($5.25) was served on a very freshly toasted, large torta roll, with a layer of beans, beef tenderloin (very flavorful); fresh avocado, along with lettuce and tomato made this a wonderful sandwich.
Vanessa's serves breakfast all day and we've taken advantage of that.Huevos Enmola ($6.99) (eggs in mole sauce). So wonderful and a different breakfast. Two over easy eggs on top of two corn tortillas, covered in a (slightly sweet) fresh and smooth mole, accompanied by beans and potatoes.Vanes Pan France (French toast topped with strawberries and cream)($6.75) Of course, strawberries and cream are a standard item in any fruiteria...but topping French toast- so special!
Oh, that's not burned toast; squaw bread is used here (another idea I can't believe I hadn't thought of). It's heartier and still, there is a good crust formed on the edges and the inside is still light and fluffy. Healthy decadence!Being a fruiteria, you know at least one order here has had to be a small pico de gallo ($6.25). Mango, orange, cucumber, jicama, watermelon, papaya, pineapple, topped with squeezed lime, chili powder and salt (homemade Tajin) brings all the flavors together.
Fresh, quality, satisfying. So glad we accidentally found it. Hope your weekend will be good!
Vanessa's Deli and Water Store 600 F Street (at Broadway), Suites E and F Chula Vista 91910 (619) 585-8102 Mon-Sat 7:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sun 7:30-7:30
This past weekend, I found that I had completed most of my "honey-do" list quite early. I decided to head down to CV for some tacos. I dropped by my favorite loncheras, but found that all of them were quite crowded. Driving on Broadway, I noticed a familiar name:
You might recall my post on the Mariscos Tijuana Jr truck last year. I wondered if this was the same folks? This is the old location of Don Rafa, which has since moved. So I parked and walked on in. I was greeted by a very cheerful young man and a young lady. I was asked if I'd be eating in or taking out....they also apologized for not having any English menus. Really nice folks.
I told them not to worry, I'd do fine with the menus. I asked them if this was the same Tijuana Jr that had the lonchera....he smiled and said "yes.......we sold the truck and opened this place because we want more families..." He pointed outside to the Bounce House with kids having a great time. "You see......we like that noise!"
In a moment some chips (routine) and salsas made its way to my table.
I placed my order and the young man asked me if I wanted some "soup". "You mean consommé?" "Yes..." "Of course!" The soup was on the mild side, but super scalding hot.
I'd ordered tres tacos. A Pescado (fish) - the version at the TJ Jr truck was good, so I wanted to see how it was in current state. A "marlin" smoked fish, and a Gobernador.
When the tacos arrived; the first thing I noticed was that the tortillas seemed different since my previous visit. These were much more fragrant and more hardy.
The fish taco was every bit as good as what I had at the truck. Shiny, crisp, lacquer batter....with even more fish than before. It was good with the lighter, almost thousand island dressing like salsa.
The tacos de marlin was interesting. I tasted the fish alone and it was really salty and fishy. Strangely, when I ate the taco, it just fit in nicely. Somehow the sodium had been balanced out and the fishiness had been over ruled by the pic de gallo, cabbage, and salsa.
The gobernador was better than what I had at the truck, though it's still not among my favorites. Though the tortilla held up nicely and the shrimp were cooked well; it just didn't have enough flavor or onions for me. Still, it's not bad at all.
As I got up to pay my check, and older woman came on over to me and asked me, "Please have some dessert....it's free......flan, cheesecake?" She was so sweet. Though I declined saying that I had more than enough to eat. This is a great indication of the folks here....really friendly and helpful. Now I have an option when all my favorite mariscos trucks are too busy.....or even when they're not.
Tijuana JR Tacos y Cockteles 631 Broadway Chula Vista, CA 91910
We slept in on our last morning....well, if you call sleeping until 730 sleeping in. Our food experiences in Utah seemed a bit disappointing, but we decided to give one last popular restaurant a shot. Since they didn't open until 10am, we decided to walk on over to Temple Square, the headquarters for the LDS.
It was nice and fairly crisp and we were enjoying the day as we passed the convention center.
We passed the Creek Shopping Center, with shops like Tiffany, Nordstrom, and the Apple Store....and closed on Sundays! I'm guessing it has something to do with being right across the street from Temple Square. We were greeted as we entered and asked if we'd be visiting "Music and the Spoken Word", which is the Sunday morning televised broadcast. We were interested, but told the nice folks that we would have to leave fairly quickly. We were told it was no problem since the rehearsal was going on. We were free to leave anytime before the 930 start.
Which is how we got to watch part of the choir's morning rehearsal in the Salt Lake Tabernacle. Quite impressive.
Speaking of impressive, the entire complex is dwarfed by the towering Salt Lake Temple.
The grounds features beautifully manicured gardens, a huge conference center, administrative buildings, several historic houses; the "Lion House" which used to be Brigham Young's residence. It had to be large because Brigham Young had 57 biological children, and the connected "Beehive House".
Temple Square is Utah's most visited tourist attraction, with as many visitors a Utah's 5 National Parks combined!
We saw a lot of folks taking photos....they all seemed overjoyed, almost giddy, at being here.
From the Beehive House, we headed North and got on North Temple Street and headed west. SLC's streets are set-up in a very simple (once you get sued to street with the same name with North/South/East/West) grid system. Our destination was on North Temple and was just under a mile and half walk. Things did seem a bit more "gritty" as we crossed over the I-15. A mere half block later we were at our destination; Red Iguana.
We arrived a few minutes before opening. The exterior looks a bit worn and shabby, but I had read that this is one of the most popular restaurants in the city....Mexican....in Salt Lake City? The place opened and we were told to sit anywhere our hearts desired. Our server; I'm hoping my memory isn't mailing me was named Stephanie. She was super outstanding, so very friendly, accommodating, and gracious.
Within a flash chips (not very good) and some salsa (nice and picante) found its way to our table.
We had come here to try the mole....but was having a difficult time deciding. So Stephanie said not to worry, they put together a sampler for us to try.
What really shocked me was how much I enjoyed the version of Mole Amarillo, not quite the traditional version; this one had raisins and habaneros...sweet with heat. We whittled down the sauces to versions we liked....but was stuck on four. Again, making us half and halfs were not a problem. You gotta love the service.
We choose chicken; which was simple simmered bird. The first combo was half Mole Verde and Mole Poblano ($15.99).
The verde was nice and nutty, but was over-shadowed by the rich, sweet, and spicy mole poblano, which tasted closest to versions I've had before.
The second was Mole Negro and Mole Amarillo ($15.99).
The mole negro was fine, though not nearly as good as say......El Tejate. The unconventional mole Amarillo, sweet and spicy stood up well. It was by far our favorite.
The rice and beans (and the tortillas) were pretty routine and not very good.
And while the food fell short of amazing, it was good, easily our best meal during this trip. And the service was wonderful. Our server is a fairly recent transplant and we chatted about SLC's uniqueness, things that caught her off guard when she moved here. The affinity for sandwiches and burgers; how you can look down Main Street on some days and not see a single car..... She made our meal a pleasure.
Red Iguana 736 W North Temple Salt Lake City, UT 84116
We walked back to the Residence Inn and managed a short catnap before leaving for the airport.
Perhaps the food really didn't stand out on this trip. But the views, well they were priceless.
My visit to Taqueria Revolucion seems to have gotten me back on the taco trail. I'd been derailed for a while, but now that work is normalizing a bit, I'm able to travel a bit further afield. Craving tacos,I decided to check out Tacos el Poblano. I'd never been to this location, just the now defunct first US location on 3rd Avenue in Chula Vista. I once ran into the venerable Masa Asssasin there, who gave me the history of Tacos el Poblano, which was established in Tijuana back in 1974. Man, we miss you "MA".
So, I finally made it here.....like almost five years later. The drill here is interesting, it even confuses the Hispanic customers. You basically walk to the back counter area, which is divided up into three stations, adobada, birria (de res), and asada. You order from one or more folks depending on how many folks are manning the area and what type of protein you want. You pay at the cashier on your way out....also, if you want drinks, the cups and bottled items are located at the cashier so you need to ask for those.
I went with one of each; asada, adobada, and birria ($2 each).
The asada was disappointing, dry, tough, flavorless. Especially since this is what TeP has hung its hat on, the asada traditionally made from three different cuts of meat from a specific butcher.
The adobada was better, a bit more flavor, but still too dry and bland for me. I like my adobada to have a nice salty-savory-sweetness which the Missus says is "like good char siu". The guacamole does real well on this one.
The best of the bunch was the birria de res, which had some nice spice, but was still behind what I had at Fernandez and even Taqueria Revolucion.
The salsas were quite watery, but had a bit of oomph. I did expect a bit more considering the name and pedigree, but perhaps I caught them on an off day.
Tacos El Poblano 885 E H St Chula Vista, CA 91910 Hours: Daily 10am - 10pm
Aqui Es Texcoco 1043 Broadway Chula Vista, CA 91911
Oscar's Mexican Seafood (Hillcrest):
Was in the area after a meeting finished early, so I thought I'd drop by for a revisit. The Taco de Marlyn (Smoked fish taco) was actually better than before, though the flavor was still too mild and that tortilla wasn't very good.
The fried shrimp in the Fried Shrimp Taco was greasy and the batter started falling off and got gummy quickly.....and the tortilla also failed fast.
There's much better down south, but this is pretty much the only show in town.
Oscar’s Mexican Seafood 646 University Ave San Diego, CA 92103
Sieu Sieu BBQ:
Another place I haven't been to in a while. Is it just me or has Sieu Sieu aged faster than a second term President? The place is looking pretty beat.
That I think that the Chinese BBQ here is better than Sam Woo should provide me some consolation.....I guess. That rice was horrible by the way.
Sieu Sieu BBQ 7420 Clairemont Mesa Blvd San Diego, CA 92111
I noticed a "new" Mariscos Truck while driving down Convoy two weeks ago name El Puerto. I felt it was a bit too cold for tacos at that time, but what a difference a week makes. Looks like winter has made its way out of San Diego. Bright and sunny days are perfect for "lonchera lunching".....
So I parked the car.....the truck is located in the small space between Convoy Liquors (4383 Convoy Street) and Wienerschnitzel (4393 Convoy St)....you can't miss it. I walked up and took a look at the menu; much like Mariscos Nine Seas, things looked quite gringo friendly, which sends off alarms bells. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? Pretty straight forward stuff. I ordered a Fried Fish Taco ($1.50), A Fried Shrimp Taco ($2.50), and was overjoyed to see a Gobernador ($4.25) on the menu as well. It was a nice day, so I did as I would usually do....I ate on the hood of my car. Based on how things looked, I expected no consommé and got none.
The fish taco wasn't my favorite....a rather small piece of fish; the batter was on the greasy side and it did not hold up well. It was adequately moist, but tasted a bit more fishy than I like. The fried shrimp was the best of the bunch, the batter, while still on the greasy side held up well, the shrimp were mist and plump.
I've got to say, this was the strangest gobenador I've ever had, also the smallest. You can check out other versions on some of our older posts.
At least the tortillas....not great quality as they all fell apart, had a layer of melted cheese. Basically some stir fried shrimp and a few slices of green pepper (no onions, no tomatoes???) and a couple of slices of avocado. And here I thought the version at the Mariscos Tijuana Jr Truck was different.
The salsas were by the book, decent. The folks running the truck were very nice. Because my order was taking a bit long, they offered me my choice of beverage on the house.
Still, I'd rather drive down South for my Mariscos Fix.
Man, when was the last time I had honest to goodness tacos.......work has kept me busy, so trips outside my usual "range" had been put on hold. I'd heard about Taqueria Revolucion a few months back, but was too busy to check them out. I mentioned them to my coworker Karina who went to check them out the next weekend. She came back and told me the place was worth a visit.
Recently, I was craving some tacos....and of course Tacos el Gordo comes to mind, as did Fernandez Catering and a couple of others. But I thought why not take the time to drive a bit further to San Ysidro and check out the revolutionary taqueria?
The place is fairly nondescript, I almost passed it....
The interior is unassuming and quite plain, the menu simple, but solid and the young lady working quite hard to take orders, work the register, then deliver the goods to each table....and man, the burritos looked titanic.
But I'm a taco kind of guy and I ordered three along with some Consomme de Birria ($1.25).
I gotta say, this was my favorite item of the day. It was fairly thick, beefy, mildly spiced, with just enough salt and lime to keep me happy. Quite good.
I also ordered tres tacos.
The Adobada was decent, loved the way they did the tortillas, dipping them in the drippings. I prefer mine a bit sweeter, but he texture was nice, and it was satisfying.
I had originally wanted a Nopal Queso Taco, but they were out. So I quickly replaced it with Carne Asada. Which was better than I thought it would be.
It was stuffed with finely chopped beef, which had a pleasant chew. The flavor was nice....I swear, there's some soy sauce/maggi or something like that in here. Not too salty, light citrus tones; much better than I expected.
The Birria Quesataco was good. Though the birria was on the milder side, which played up to the queso, adding a nice milky component to the whole thing. The birria, though mild needed no salt and just a touch of lime from me.
I enjoyed the tortillas, perhaps a bit harder than preferred, but I believe they are made inhouse.
I enjoyed my meal and will probably be back if I'm in the area, especially for some of that consomme. I'd been craving some decent tacos for a while and this hit the spot. The owner, whose name is Emilio I believe, came out and stopped by to chat with all his customers.......mostly regulars it seems, but a few newbies as well. Very friendly guy.
After waiting for a few months, I finally got my taco fix.....
Taqueria Revolucion 362 E San Ysidro Blvd San Diego, CA 92173