mmm-yoso!!! is a blog about food and travel. Today, Kirk is traveling, Cathy is busy eating, and Ed (from Yuma) is blogging.
"You eaten at Mad Tacos?" It was my friend and former colleague, Dawn.
"What? Where?" She then explained that it had won some awards and was supposed to be really good, and asked if I wanted to join her and a couple other folks there for lunch on an upcoming Friday.
The answer to "Where?" was a little complicated as well, because Mad Tacos is inside a pharmacy, Sant Drugs, that has had a lunch counter ever since the days when lunch counters and soda fountains were commonplace in drugstores and five and dimes: This is what an old-fashioned lunch counter looks like:
Here is the view in the other direction:
With such limited seating, and being open only weekdays from 8:30-6 pm, how can they stay in business? This pic is part of the answer to that question:
Every time I've eaten there, people have come in for takeout, sometimes a lot of takeout.
So why is this little place really busy? I think because the food is really good and the prices are really cheap.
Case in point – Friday is fish taco day, so this taco cost $1 on a Friday (prices as of May, 2016):
There is nothing skimpy about that taco. There are numerous chunks of breaded fish and a lot of toppings including spiced mayo. And if you like your fish tacos to have some crunch, you won't find a better one in town, crackling crunchy.
What's more, the two house salsas are excellent:
The one on the left is the guacamole sauce, smooth and creamy from the avocado, with a lime tang and a spicy zip. Really excellent on the fish tacos, but also great on some of the meats, like asada.
The sauce on the right is a complex, smoky, dried chili salsa. This is not a chip dipping salsa, it is a spicing up flavor booster, perfect for a lot of things like these tostadas (regularly 2 for $5, but Thursdays $1 apiece):
So good. Underneath the cotija cheese, pickled red onions, chopped lettuce and tomato, and spicy mayo, lurked pieces of carnitas and a nice smear of frijoles. Even the crunchy tortilla was first rate, substantial enough that I could eat most of the tostadas with my hands and get no fallout on my shirt.
And if you look carefully at the salsa, you can see numerous tiny flakes, flecks, and bits, many red, but others green, black, white, yellow, and translucent. The complexity of a pointillist painting.
Maybe the most amazing lunch special is rolled taco Monday. Potato tacos at $.50 apiece. So this is a $3 plate:
The quality is also superb. The mashed potato is copious and flavorful, and the shell is deep fried crispy.
As I was leaving that day, I mentioned to Mannie (the head cook and proprietor) that his rolled tacos were better than my previous favorites at Buen Taquito up the street.
"Yeah," he said, "they don't flavor the mashed potatoes and their salsa is real basic." A spot on evaluation, and he could’ve added that his are larger in addition to better tasting. But his answer showed that he knows the competition, pays attention, and focuses on quality.
That's also evident in this bacon wrapped hot dog ($4):
While not as overloaded as some bacon dogs, the grilled and charred onions, chopped tomatoes, spiced mayo, mustard, and ketchup are enough, and the real focus here is on the quarter pound sausage:
That's a good hot dog. It has the right texture, excellent flavors, and abundant juiciness.
The quality also shows up in the plate of 3 tacos (choice of pastor, asada, carnitas, pollo, or pescado), a good value at $6:
In the photo, I’ve got a pastor, a fish, and an asada taco. There was a lot of asada:
and I was particularly impressed with the seasonings and grilling of the pastor:
Similarly, the chicken at Mad Tacos is not just bland generic white meat, but is nicely spiced and grilled. Look at this quesadilla ($4):
About as good as a quesadilla can be. The grilling of the tortilla is perfect, the cheese melted creamy, the chicken flavorful, and the roasted green chili strips abundant.
One day I decided to try takeout, so I called in an order for a chicken burrito ($6). When I walked to the counter, everything was almost ready, so Mannie could assemble it quickly, and my burrito was perfectly fresh and nicely packaged:
That burrito was also very tasty:
I realize that a lot of folks don't like lettuce in their burritos, but here the lettuce, pico de gallo, refritos, and abundant guac sauce complemented the warm spicy chicken chunks.
So is everything at Mad Tacos really great? Well, truth be told, the french fries ($3), are pretty ordinary:
Not bad, but not great. Otherwise most things here are real good eats and real good value. Thanks, Dawn.
I shouldn't have worried about how business was.....the place was pretty busy even at 1030 in the morning!
I went with two old favorites of mine; the Gobernador and a Tacos de Marlyn.
Which came with the free cup of consommé. My experience with the broth is a mixed bag. On days when it's on, it's tangy, rich, full of shrimp-seafood flavor. It truly has the "aaah" factor. On other days, it's weak, with flavors not balancing out. On this day, it was spot on. Just plain delicious with a squeeze of lime to cut the brininess.
The Gobernador was a bit of a disappointment.
It had a nice amount of plump shrimp, but was missing the right complement of griddled onions and peppers which add flavor and balance to the taco. There also wasn't enough cheese melted on the tortilla, an important touch which keeps it from breaking apart. It wasn't bad, just not at the level I'd expect from El Pescador. Overall, I still prefer the versions with tomato in it as it adds a nice touch of acid.
The Taco de Marlyn on the other hand was almost a work of art.
The smoked fish was moist, just tender enough, with a ton of flavor. Adding cilantro and a squeeze of lime brings all the saltiness into line. This was a much larger portion than I recalled and not fishy like other versions I've had.
mmm-yoso!!! is a foodblog focusing on San Diego and the world. Kirk posts most, Cathy posts often, and today Ed (from Yuma) posts this.
Every year the Yuman food truck culture spawns more spots. Here's a couple:
Angie, Tina's manager at work, was raving about a fantastic seafood molcajete at a place on Ave B, just a little south of 8th Street. So a couple of weeks later Tina and I found the place, Mariscos Güero, tucked behind another truck on the east side of B:
There are a few tables and folding chairs sheltered under canvas with windbreaks on all sides. On the truck there’s a menu with no prices (though prices are fair):
On our first visit, in the evening, there were few customers (and the nice folks at the truck said they would be closing evenings once the main season was over). At weekday lunch, the place can be quite busy:
On our first visit, Tina and I had a molcajete:
It was packed with cooked shrimp, octopus, and surimi. The seafood was mixed with large slices of red onion and cucumber pieces, all topped with generous wedges of avocado. The sauce was exceptional –flavors of seafood, lime, chili spice, and even a touch of soy sauce. Overall very good.
We also ordered a ceviche tostada:
Also very good. The sweetness of the fresh raw and cooked shrimp came through the lime. The fresh chopped onions and cucumbers and crunchy tortilla gave textural balance.
On my next visit, I ordered two fish and one shrimp taco:
Here's a close-up of a fish taco:
The tortilla, cabbage, and tomato were fresh and fine, but the crema was awfully thin and lacking in flavor. While the breading on the seafoods was not crunchy, neither the fish nor shrimp were overcooked so they tasted fresh and moist.
On my last visit, it was time for a campechana:
That's huge. And it is filled with a lot of good stuff:
When I ordered the mixed seafood cocktail, I was asked if I wanted it with "blood clam." "Sure," I answered, "con todo." I hadn't run across a campechana with blood clam (also known as concha negra, black clam) since Tio Juan’s disappeared from 8th Street. Here is one of them:
In any case, I am still alive and feeling good, so I guess I dodged another bullet (picture smiley face of your choice here). I also had the joy of consuming a really wonderful campechana. The octopus and shrimp were not overcooked. The surimi had a pleasant sweetness that I liked. But the mollusks were the stars: the abundant octopus had a perfect chewiness and octopus flavor; the clams had a different chew and were distinctly clammy; and the few fresh bay scallops were tender and lightly flavored. The cocktail juice tasted of cooking water, tomato sauce, (Clamoto?), lime juice, and a hint of soy. With a little bit of salsa it was perfect for my palate.
Taqueria San Pedro
This taco stand on 8th Street has long been a favorite of Tina and me. Though they quit serving hotdogs, their carne asada and other tacos, as well as the attractive ramada area, made it a good place for a quick dinner.
We had noticed, however, that the place seemed to be deteriorating slowly – the leather seats becoming ragged and torn. Then one evening San Pedro was not open. No sign and no sign of life. Oh well, we shrugged, that's the world of taco trucks.
A couple of months ago, we were cruising 8th Street and saw billows of fragrant looking smoke rising from the back of a lot. "Oh My God," Tina exclaimed, "it's San Pedro!" And so it was:
Pedro himself was still there being grillmaster. But the interior had been renovated – now more closed off and refurnished:
Wow. Fancy tables and chairs, a tiled floor, even a heater. The menu, still very small, is on every napkin dispenser:
After we ordered, the first thing brought over was a cup of frijoles:
Good, simple pinto beans in a light broth. Good by themselves, but made even better by adding some of the condiments:
Notice the spicy and the roasted salsa. The guacamole sauce was thinner than eight years ago, and many of the other items were nothing special. However, we really enjoyed the mild and fresh pico de gallo:
and loved the roasted jalapenos, mellowed and sweetened by the grill:
Then came volcanes:
Basically, a volcan is just a vampira except that the cheese goes atop the carne asada rather than between the meat and the desiccated corn tortilla. This was excellent, crunchy and toothsome with meaty asada.
The taco San Pedro is another Sonoran specialty, matching cheese, roasted green chile pepper, and quality asada:
This night, the cabeza was decent but nothing special:
What was our favorite? The tripa:
Tripa is difficult to get right. Sometimes too musty, often too rubbery, and usually too flavorless. This one, however, was perfect. Crunchy in places with a little char, and what was not crunchy was tender chewy. Porky good. Yum.
Our third stop in the Hipster Taco tour. Over the last few months, I made a couple of stops at Tacos Perla. I'm kind of late to the show here, so you may want to just check out Kirbie's or CC'sposts instead. Located near the hipster ramen haven, Underbelly, Tacos Perla occupies a nice spot on the corner of 30th and Upas.
Being an old fart, I love the black and white movies projected on the rear of the small dining room.
On one of my visits they were showing Fun in Acapulco....my late Mom was a big Elvis fan, though not as big as my best friends mother who went To Elvis's Aloha from Hawaii concert in 1973. I still kid that tough talking cigarette smoking "Tita" about going all goo-goo and gaga and crying because she loved Elvis so much. Anyway, I grew up listening to Elvis, and "No Room to Rhumba in a Sports Car" was a big favorite along with Wooden Heart. Which I got to sing when I was in a oldies band waaaay back when.....waaaay back when. But that's another story.
One of the draws to Tacos Perla is the short, but quite interesting collection of salsas. It's nice that they have a pairing list as well.
On my first visit I went with three tacos that interested me. At that time it was a pretty pricy proposition, $4.95 for "non-traditional" tacos and $3.95 for "traditional" style tacos. Not a huge list of items to choose from, but that's not important if everything is well prepared and flavors to match.
As you can tell, I also added a side of Chapulines (crickets) for 75 cents. It had been a while since I'd had chapulines, which really have little flavor (when prepped well), but adds a nice crunch to things.
I really enjoy a good Al Pastor/Adobada, so I started with that.
I found the adobada to be a bit gummy and tough. So I decided to add the crickets to this. Not my favorite version of adobada as I found the flavors lacking, especially in sweet and savory tones.
The tortillas struck me as well. Liked the rather rustic homemade feel, but it was a bit too crumbly and there was a tad of sweetness that I could detect as well.
The Ocho ($4.95) was no-brainer for me since I love most edible Cephalopods.
The achiote based seasoning didn't interfere with the pure flavor of the shrimp. The jack cheese added just the right amount of milkiness and salt to this for me. The recommended "pico de gallo" was a perfect match, good acid-tangy-pungent flavors that didn't mess about with this.
I did return two more times, I'll spare you the second visit, which was kind of basically the same to see if I held the same opinion, with the addition of a carne asada taco, which ended up having quite a bit more gristle that I anticipated. That Del Mar still came out on top.
I decided to drop by one more time after I heard that Tacos Perla had dropped their prices......great news since I thought almost fifteen bucks for three tacos was kind of pushing it for this type of ingredients put together in this manner, with this portion size.
So, I dropped by once again. This time things were a bit cheaper.
This left a bit to be desired in terms of flavor as it was very bland. Too many underseasoned components. The salsa, advertised as fire roasted pepper and papaya really lacked smokiness, heat, or even enough sweetness to really matter. Strange thing, the main thing I recall with this is how much I could mainly taste the tortilla.....
I tried the Carne Asada yet again. In terms of flavor it was much better; I swear, there's some soy sauce here?
It was still a bit to "gristlely" for my taste.
The surprise was the Taco de Pescado. Folks who've read this blog long enough know because of having to deal with quite a bit of mahimahi in a previous life, I'm a bit hesitant about ordering it as it attains a rather "sour" taste beyond 48 hours.
This was quite decent, perhaps edging on a bit too salty, but tempered by the mango salsa. I do prefer a more crisp batter for my fish tacos though.
So, in the end, I think the Missus is going to stick with City Tacos, though I'll keep tabs on Tacos Perla....I'm sure I'll visit again the future.
Over the last year, I went ahead and checked out several of our "hipster" taco shops. I've already posted on ¡Salud! and will probably get around to the rest eventually. Of these taco shops, the only one I took the Missus to was City Tacos; I think Salud has better tortillas, Perla is definitely tops in the salsa department, but I think City Tacos, which I recall first hearing about from Candice and then "CC" was the overall best of the lot. It's a small, cramped space, you order at the counter, pay, are given a placard with a number.....
The salsa bar is nice in that they encourage you to try the various salsas, though not quite inspiring on jicama first. I usually just go for the rojo, though there's one that's basically chili oil.....the Missus, She needs no salsa for the tacos She enjoys.
What's quite fascinating is that the Missus treats City Tacos as an alternative to Tiger! Tiger! when She wants to grab a beer at Toronado. So I'll let you know what the Missus enjoys here first.
Numero Uno would be the Puerco Agri Dulce....basically chunks of pork tenderloin with pineapple.
Disregarding the rather strange fried noodle thingy; which I guess is added for texture, the Missus loves the "sweet-sour" flavors of this taco. It's one of Her favorites. The tortilla on this is perfect as it just adds a bit of "breadiness".
As is the Chorizo Asado, which to me is pretty plain, but the Missus loves Her chorizo and also the milkiness of the cheese.
Number three, which could have easily have been numero uno (for the Missus, not me) is the Portobello con Vegetales.
The main reason is that we've never had it the same way twice.....once there wasn't any greens on it, the next time it was amazingly good (photo above), the cheese had been griddled to a wonderful crispy texture, the next time it was just melted. Personally, I'm not sold on veggie tacos, but give me something with that cheese crisp from the comal with black beans and corn....
I usually order the "Borrego", though those tacos have wildly varied as well.
I once got it ice cold, the last time I ordered it, there were some delicious fried veggies on top. The lamb is very tasty....I just wish for some consistency.
We also like the Carnitas when they have it.
Nicely porky....In spite of questioning the addition of mangos to this......it was tasty, even with the Missus's edict of "no salsa". The corn tortilla was perfect for this.
As a whole, we're not big fans of the seafood offerings here; I had the tacos de pescado (no photo) which was really fishy and not very tasty. The El Especial really wasn't much better.
Tough and rubbery octopus and squid, overly fishy flavors, just didn't do it for us.
The Mahi Adobo wasn't much more pleasant either....
It could be that in a "previous life" I had to deal with a ton of Mahimahi and understand how quickly it "sours"......but to me, this was too fishy and "sour". You can easily get a good tacos de marlyn from a Mariscos truck that would be much better than this.
Overall, we've figured out what we (the Missus) enjoys from City Tacos and it's a nice stop for us in the area when the Missus is craving some tacos. One of the women who work here is very nice. We've even taken the tacos to go....they put them in a pastry box, you know, like when you order a dozen donuts, and ate them at Poseidon.
City Tacos 3028 University Ave San Diego, CA 92104
Kirk and Cathy are really busy today, so another post by Ed (from Yuma).
When the long defunct Indian restaurant on 4th Ave. was transformed into a taco shop, the change was instantly apparent:
So of course I had to drop in and see what was going on. On my first visit, if memory serves, they were serving only quesadillas, or pastor, asada, or cabeza tacos, so I ordered three tacos. I was pleasantly surprised when a wheel of condiments showed up on my table:
The guacamole sauce was pretty standard, as was the salsa, cabbage, onion/cilantro, and lime wedges. I enjoyed the thick slices of cucumber which I dipped in the guacamole sauce and topped with a little salsa. My taco shop appetizer.
Looking around, I could tell that the new owners had painted the inside as well as the outside, cleaned the place up, and put in new furniture:
The tacos were decent, if nothing really special:
All the meats, even the very red pastor, were lightly seasoned – the basic flavors coming through.
On my next few visits, it was clear that the restaurant was thriving with customers in the front, back, and side room:
No longer was the young son of the family wandering around amazed at the restaurant and the customers. Many more choices were written on a whiteboard:
Covered with fresh chopped lettuce and tomato and sprinkled with crumbly cotija cheese, a beef and frijoles sope was tasty as well:
The beefy rolled tacos (topped with cabbage) had plenty of crunch:
And I could wash everything down with real Mexican Coca-Cola:
Since this is an independent family restaurant, there is some variation from visit to visit. For example, most of the time the chicken taco looks like this:
But one day, the chicken had lingered longer on the grill and had a more interesting crispy texture:
On that same visit, the cabeza was really outstanding, muy rico:
And of course, all of these things came with that same condiment wheel.
And Tacos El Zamy continues to get better. The whiteboard has been replaced by this electronic menu:
And the wheel of condiments comes with an extra spicy salsa on the side:
One thing that hasn't changed is the friendly and personal service. I have always been well treated. For example, when I recently ordered three tacos, my friendly server reminded me that at El Zamy 4 tacos are only $5. I couldn't resist what was basically a $.50 taco, so this platter soon showed up at my table:
The cabeza, chicken, and pastor were pretty much the same as before, but the birria (de res) was wonderful – rich and savory.
I couldn't quit thinking about that birria, so on my most recent visit I ordered the birria plate (after all, this post wouldn't be complete without trying one of the plates, right?):
The wheel of condiments and the warm corn tortillas on the side were fine. And even though the rice was subpar and the beans a bit runny, the birria was really great. I left happy and satisfied.
In many ways, El Zamy is like a taco truck in a building, featuring many of the basic taco truck favorites done well. Unlike a taco truck, the restaurant offers protection from wind and weather. The ambience – such as it is – makes this the kind of place where a Yuman could give Cousin Fred and his wife Nancy from Nebraska a good quality authentic Yuma taco experience without subjecting them to plastic chairs, a dirt parking lot, and inclement weather. And the food is good and prepared with love.
Tacos El Zamy, 2071 S. 4th Ave, (928) 366-3269 or (928) 817-2461
Thanks for stopping to see which food ethnicity mmm-yoso!!! is writing about today. Our blog posts are a sort of ongoing diary of where and what we eat. Cathy is writing; Kirk is enjoying nice weather and Ed (from Yuma) is busy with other things (in Yuma).
When The Mister and I first moved to San Diego, we lived near this small nondescript strip mall, in the middle of a neighborhood. There was a great little market on the far end, 'Green Grocer', where we regularly shopped. After moving out, we still came back to shop at Green Grocer and noticed Maritza's moved in (around 1987). This was the same time that small taco shop (run by their in-laws) had opened across the street from (presently under reconstruction) K Sandwiches. Maritza and her husband still own and run this wonderful little shop.Nondescript was the word I used. There's a Liquor Store on the other end of this strip and some other shops in between.Walk up, order and pay and have a seat. Marita brings the food out to you.When you walk up to order look at the wall to your right, not just straight ahead. There are specials listed. The above 'Flying Saucer'($6.75) is a good choice when you just aren't sure. The shredded stewed beef, on top of refried beans on top of a crispy fried flour tortilla and topped with the generic lettuce, tomato, cheese, guacamole and sour cream is a good way to eat what you want...with drops of the wonderful multi flavored, spicy/medium heat house made salsa.The enchiladas are a similarly easy to try option...again the unique house made enchilada sauce is really good. I just wanted to take a photo of the sauce. These are cheese enchiladas ($3.25), my Friday standard order.Look at the order counter in the second photo, there's a paper taped to the beverage dispenser, in the center.
Sopes ($2.75)...hand made circles of fried dough (crispy on the exterior and soft and kind of fluffy on the interior) (so tasty of sweet corn) topped with refried beans and, in this case, carne asada. Standard toppings of lettuce, tomato, guacamole and cheese round this out. An order of one is very filling.
The carne asada here is the best of anywhere. Maritza's husband makes it himself, mixing the spices and marinating and it is just perfection.Here's a cross section of a carne asada burrito ($5.55). It is really, really flavorful steak. Scrolling back up to the second photo again, taped on the wall straight behind where you order is a sign: "Wednesdays Special Carnitas".
Again, Maritza's husband makes the carnitas and it's available until sold out. A great carnitas...fried pork, shredded and served with corn tortillas...and everything you see above, including the house made green salsa, seen on the far right in the above photo (and mentioned in my post about sauces and salsas and divorce.) The plate is $9.95 and a burrito is $4.95.
Maritza's is a local little shop and a treasure.
Maritza's Mexican Food 3582 Mount Acadia Boulevard (between Mount Burnham Drive and Mount Abbey Drive) San Diego 92111 (858)279-8866 open 11:30-8:30 Mon-Fri Closed Saturday and Sunday
Thank you for stopping by to read mmm-yoso!!!, a blog. This week has been hectic for Kirk; he's multitasking, with some sort of new surprise popping up hourly. Ed (from Yuma) has had a more or less relaxing sort of week (in Yuma) with routines guiding his day. Cathy's week has been filled with added surprises, necessitating periodic concentration; writing this blog post is a way for her to wind down.
On the West Side of Linda Vista Road, next to the Jack In The Box (at Fulton Street)...Note the signage on the building to your left ...rotisserie chicken, birria, carnitas. There is a menu on both of those open doors. Just walk inside.Sure, there's a whole wall of liquor as well as a refrigerator of cold beer and plenty of non-alcoholic beverages. There's also a small display case of Mexican baked sweets, as well as fruits and vegetables, a meat counter and a few aisles of various sundries. All the way in the back, you'll see-The menus up high.The steam trays in front of you.Condiments, sides and the stove (for warming tortillas) along the side.
Order and watch your meal being prepared. Grab a beverage or two. You'll pay at the cash register at the door. There is *no* seating.Usually, I'll get a quart of birria to go, but on this day, I asked for it as a combination plate ($6.49). I think it's the best birria, stewed until the beef is tender and with spicy, deep and complex flavors. The chef is always proud when I tell him it is my favorite.Here's a carnitas plate ($6.49) with no rice and all the sides that come with it. There is plenty here (you get six corn tortillas and there's always more meat than small tacos I make with the ingredients).The chicharrones guisados (stewed fried pork rinds in green sauce) made here is also one of the best. I asked for it to be made into two tacos. It's not listed on the menu, but I was only charged $3 for these.Here's another plate of carnitas from Krist. Different cooks, different results. All good.
Krist Liquor & Market 7152 Linda Vista Road San Diego 92111 (858)292-7986 Open Mon-Tue-Wed-Th & Sat 8 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri 8 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Since there is no seating at Krist, we either have to drive home to eat or head toward Mission Bay, where there is plenty of seating and a view of Fiesta Island.
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"?