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
Here you are, at mmm-yoso!!!, a food blog. Kirk is extremely busy with necessary errands. Ed (from Yuma) is busy making plans. Cathy is blogging today, because she is, comparatively, not busy.
Election Day in November had me assigned by the Registrar of Voters to El Cajon, where I drove in circles, putting out fires and waiting for phone calls telling me of impending fires all day. Some of the areas I passed had interesting places to eat. Lupita Mexican Food and Fruiteria caught my eye. It shares the parking lot (around the corner) with the generically named 'Tortilla Salsa Market'. There are quite a few other businesses here also. (The signage you see from the street is 3rd photo from the end).The rather extensive menu offers the usual items. The quality is notable. The shrimp tostada ($4.19) was made with large shrimp, in a fresh salsa and served with a side of avocado. This was excellent.The al pastor burrito ($4.50) was freshly made, pretty average, quite large. I'd order it again; it's more interesting than a carne aside burrito.Ordering to eat in, a basket of thin corn chips is served, along with the house made salsas in squeeze bottles.
Above, a freshly squeezed "Popeye", medium size ($4.50) juice. Made with spinach, carrot, celery, cucumber and apple, it was just right. I like that it is just juice, no ice.
Carne asada tostada ($3.99) was quite large and very good. Tamarind raspado ($3.25)(16 oz) is nicely made here, from the whirring of the shaved ice machine in the back to the tamping of fresh tamarind pieces, each item I've ordered here has been carefully hand made and served with care. The ladies working here are very nice.Almost every visit, I've ordered a small fruit salad ($6.65) with everything (cottage cheese, raisins, granola, coconut and honey)...and have needed to take hime leftovers.Tortas here are made with a great bread which is brought up from Mexico. Above, the Lomo ($6.50) is my usual choice. Lettuce, tomato, onions, cheese avocado and a thin layer of beans surround the beef (and sometimes, pork) tenderloin, which is cured then chopped and heated for this sandwich.This is the signage you'll see from the street. Notice the bottom two lines: 'Sideways Bar'. Now, you may have noticed I've been doing quite a few posts under the "Pubs and Pub Grub" section of the blog. It seems that Sideways doesn't serve food, but the bar patrons walk to Lupita, order and pay. Then, one the order is ready, one of the ladies walks to deliver the food to the bar.
Consistently, one item seems to always be ordered. The double cheeseburger. So, you know, I had to...Behold, the double cheeseburger ($4.50). As you can see, two large patties, lettuce tomato and two different cheeses on a toasted bun. This was filling and quite good. I understand why it's an order for the bar patrons.
Another fruiteria which is locally owned and serves quality food.
Lupita Mexican Food and Fruiteria 1088 Estes (at Chase, one block East of Emerald) El Cajon 92021 (619)593-9500
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
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
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
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.
Recently, readers of mmm-yoso have been in Japan with Kirk and in Pasadena with Cathy, but today you get to come over to Yuma with Ed for tacos and more.
It is the fall, the time trees turn color and lose leaves, birds (including snowbirds) head for warmer climes, traffic thickens in town, and Yuma's taco trucks flourish.
Way back around November 2005, Kirk came to Yuma and sampled our taco truck cuisine and dubbed a cluster of trucks in an empty lot "a food court." In the fall of 2013, the newest taco court opened on a large concrete pad in a previously empty lot on the west side of Pacific Avenue just about a block south of 16th St. – not really very far from Yuma Palms shopping center:
There are a lot of parking places and tables and chairs:
And currently at least four different taco purveyors:
Let me apologize here for the limitations of this post. Some of the photos are lousy, and they are the best I had because of bad lighting and unskilled photographer. On top ot that, Tina and I have visited these trucks several times when I had no camera with me. So this post is more of a shout out than a report.
On our most recent visit, we tried Blancurri’s, one of the smaller vendors:
The special that evening was $1 pollo asado tacos:
Pretty good, but a little dry. Our favorite taco that night was what's called the mix chilada taco, a flavorful and spicy combination of carne asada and red chile chicharrones (sorry for the lousy picture):
The adobada torta was good as well, the tender pork chunks slightly spicy and the bolillo roll nicely grilled.
Arianna’s, which has been here since the marketplace area first opened, anchors the north side of the lot:
Tina and I have enjoyed the wide range of tacos here – including pastor and chicharones:
Or tripas and asada:
Tina especially enjoyed the nutty earthy flavor of the tripas and we both liked the chicharrones with red chile.
The hot dogs are another specialty, bacon wrapped, nicely grilled, and served in a hot bun with the full range of condiments:
The Monster truck is located at the other end of the food court:
It features a somewhat different menu including some unusual choices:
For most of Monster's dishes, you get to choose between asada, pollo, or pastor, but the pellizcadas includes all three meats, whole beans, cabbage, and onion on a large soft thick corn tortilla:
Tina and I both enjoy the vampires here, the toasted corn tortillas adding crunch to the meats and condiments. Here is one with asada:
The pastor is also excellent:
The monster taco has a soft tortilla, abundant roasted green chili, and your choice of protein and condiments:
The tortas (in this case with chicken) are extra-large here:
But the true monster on the menu is the hotdog:
The extra-large bacon wrapped wiener is slathered with condiments and coupled with a grilled guero pepper and abundant grilled onions. Truly outstanding dog.
In any case, this is a convenient cluster of interesting mobile eateries, which allows folks to wander around and try different dishes. They all have excellent aguasfrescas. Most of the trucks seem open every evening (if not sooner), and we've enjoyed every visit. Take advantage of our nice weather, try some things here, and let us know what you liked.
Guzmán Marketplace (this seems to be the official name of the foodcourt), 1628 S. Pacific Ave., Yuma, Arizona.
It seems like more than a bit over two years ago that the Missus and I had a meal at Oscar's Mexican Seafood. While the meal was decent, we didn't find it especially great, at least in comparison with other Mariscos restaurants and trucks we eat at. I think the major draw was the location; there was nothing quite like it in the area. Since then, Oscar's has expanded. To PB and Hillcrest. I'd always been meaning to return and revisit, but having a location in Hillcrest is pretty easy since I'm in the area quite often for work.
One really great thing is that they open at 8am. I often have meetings at odd hours and the early opening was a big plus for getting me here....also, the parking here can be a nightmare during prime time.
Like the decor, though the regular seating is nd of uncomfortable. The menu is very gringo friendly...everything fully explained.
I decided on the Smoked Fish Taco (Taco de Marlyn - $4.25) and the Fresh Fish of the Day ($4.50) which was Yellowtail....actually I ordered a Battered Fish Taco ($1.99), but they just rang up the grilled fish....which I probably should have ordered anyway.
There was much to like about the Smoked Fish Taco, loved the way the queso was melted onto the tortilla (very routine mass-produced) to prevent breakage and add a mild milky edge. The fish was a bit too mild in terms of smokey flavor and even salt....I consider this "bacon of the sea". On the good side; it was less fishy than some versions I've had recently. I do think the portion was pretty small.....
I also thought these tacos were a bit under-dressed, though I do understand wanting to make the rather mild yellowtail the star of the show. The fish was a bit overcooked for me.....yellowtail can dry out pretty quickly. I also thought it needed to be seasoned a bit more. This was on the bland side and really needed more....also, there wasn't enough onion or anything else to give it some textural contrast.
A quick word about the salsas...the Chipotle is nice and mild....I thought that white salsa was crema...but whoa, I believe it's habanero based, which I really thought added a nice kick.
In total, not bad, perhaps priced on the high side....but of course, there's the location.
I had an odd hour meeting and another scheduled over lunch so I headed back to Oscar's before traveling back to the office. This time I did order the Battered Fish Taco ($1.99).
The batter was light, but could have been a bit more crisp it got soggy fairly quickly. The fish was moist, though the whole thing lacked flavor. Still, definitely worth a buck ninety-nine.
Curious about both the shrimp and non-seafood items, I ordered the Surf and Turf Taco ($4.50). This was a nice two-fisted taco.
The shrimp was well seasoned, cooked to the edge of being overcooked, but didn't go over that line. The skirt steak was too tough and chewy, which I don't mind if there some nice assertive flavors to obscure the texture, but that wasn't the case here. Overall, a decent taco.
I'll probably return to Oscar's because of the location and hours. I think I'll go with some shrimp tacos and maybe the Cucarachas which we enjoyed last time, but is now like $11.
Oscar’s Mexican Seafood 646 University Ave San Diego, CA 92103 Hours: Sun - Thurs 8am - 9pm Fri - Sat 8am - 10pm