Friday, September 26, 2008

Week 15 - JV's

JV'S Mexican Food
Morena Blvd.

Eater #1 - Beef taco, Beans, Horchata
The beans at JVs are pretty damn good... and hot. The taco was huge, the lettuce, cheese and tomatoes were nice, but the beef was just OK. Not a bad joint overall.

damn it was a perfect day to sit outside and eat tacos. 

Eater #5 - Super salad
JVS Mexican Food is a little taco shop in the corner of a tiny strip mall. I got a "Super Salad." It had large pieces of pollo asada on top of shredded lettuce and tomatoes. On top of the pollo was guacamole, sour cream and cheese. It was so good and just the right size. I would love to go back there on a perfect day like today. 

Eater #6 - Quesadilla
This quesadilla was just simple. Nothing special about it. But it was the best simple quesadilla I have ever had. It was the perfect hangover quesadilla. The tortilla was crispy and a little flaky and it had the perfect amount of cheese on it. Not an inch thick and not very greasy at all. The only thing I would add is a side of sour cream. I will be sure to go get this quesadilla the next time I am hungover. Maybe November 2nd.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Week 14 - Ranchos Cocina

Ranchos Cocina
Ocean Beach on Sunset Cliffs

Eater #1 Civiche tostada, beans, Negra Modelo
I was suprised at how big the place was on the inside. The place looked killer, There was a section of the wall dedicated to "Fridas". The salsa that came with the chips was a little scooby, but I ate it anyways. Once the waiter brought the tray with all of our food I knew that I was in the right place (actually after I got my beer I was in the right place) from the smell. The civiche was damn good - the fish was nice and firm, after a splash of tapatio it was so good. Lots of lemon juice. The beans at Rancho Cocina are the real deal - I know that they specialize in vegitarian dishes, but these tasted like there was lard in them (the right way to make re-frys).

Eater #2 - Huevos rancheros
Vegans cook good meat
Huevos rancheros muy bueno
Next time sit on deck.

Eater #3 - MIA, somewhere in a book

Eater #4 - Potato rolled tacos
One word? Yum. This taco shop seemed quaint with the burlap ceiling tiles and vine stenciled archways. Yet it opened into a massive dining area with covered patio, all wonderfully decorated. The space allowed diners to eat without being bumped by other guests or over hearing needless conversations. Something that is hard to avoid in OB. The menu is expansive and we've decided to give this place more attention as the year continues. I ate the potato taquitos, and LOVED them. Three taquitos covered in guacamole, sour cream, cheese, tomatoes, and lettuce. We all know size matters, and you won't be disappointed here. The tacos and burritos were huge and yummy, especially for the price. The staff was gracious, attentive, and courteous. I can't wait for our next visit here!

Eater #5 - MIA (pending?)

Eater #6 - Vegan Burrito
Decor and environment was nice. Lots to look at. There is a lot on the menu to choose from. I had the vegan burrito, which had black beans, rice, guac, and lettuce on a wheat tortilla. It was huge. I only ate 1/4 of it. It came with some sort of shredded veggies on the side. I think they were more for looks though. I didn't eat them. The chips were good, but the salsa was too hot for me. It took too long to get our food and to pay the bill, but maybe that was because they had to do 6 separate bills. I would go there again.

Eater #7 - Pineapple tamale and eggplant enchilada
Atmosphere: It's decor consisted of a mix-match of everything from mirrors, to chairs, to their bowls, to the wall color. The decorator knew it wasn't going to match but this is way it's supposed to be. Laid back, fun colors, polite and attentive staff, and there's a hint of Mexican culture mixed with everything in their very large dining area.
Food: The chips were crisp and the salsa delicious. Spicy, chunks of tomato, taste of hot pepper ... lots of flavor. The menu contained an abundance of choices. Starting with your basic taco ... all the way to the vegan enchilada. It truly is a vegetarian's Mexican food restaurant dream. I ordered the pineapple tamale and eggplant enchilada. Portions sizes are large, so you're getting your money's worth here. The pineapple tamale contained the sweetness of pineapple juice mixed with masa and topped with warm pineapple. Add a little salsa ... and the mixture of flavors was a perfect combination. The vegan enchilada contained diced up chunks of flavorful seasoned eggplant all wrapped up in a wheat tortilla, topped with melted white cheese. Pure Yumminess!!!
When are we going back???


Friday, September 12, 2008

Week 13 - Clayton’s Mexican Take-Out

Clayton’s Mexican Take-Out
Coronado - on Orange at 10th

Eater #1 - Shredded Beef Taco, Nachos
The place was tiny - just a little more than a walkup and order. I was impressed by the look of the produce, one of the cooks carried a load of fresh cilantro and onions through from a side door... and the smell of the cooking carne asada was pretty damn good. The tacos were OK, greasy and the beef was a wet lump in the bottom of the shell, but the lettuce and tomatoes were nice. The nachos were simply cheddar and chips, exactly what I wanted.
Good salsa - the red was pretty thick & spicy and the green was perfect - a little spice and alot of tomatillo flavor.
The fact that they only take a card if you spend $7 or more was a pain in the ass.
I'll probably go back, but only if I find myself starving after messing around with my kids at East Park.
Eater #2 - MIA
Eater #5 - Carne asada taco, rice.
Mexican Take Out was a cute little "to go" taco shop. It was in the middle of beautiful Coronado and since it's not a sit down restaurant, you are forced to eat at the park, on a bench or at the beach & enjoy the scenery. The carne asada taco was huge and full of flavor. The side of rice was the smallest side of rice I've ever seen, but it was good. I would definitely eat there again if I was in the area, but I wouldn't go out of my way to eat there again.
Eater #7 Chicken rolled tacos and guacamole
Atmosphere: Place your order at the door, take a step to the left and your food will be handed to you ... well, maybe 5-10 minutes later. It's purely a take-out joint, so don't plan on eating and dining ... but there's a park down a few blocks.
Food: For how long it took to make the tacos, I'm not sure I was completely impressed. But they were rolled tacos ... how impressed should I be? They were topped with chopped tomatoes, cheese, lettuce, and guacamole. The cheese was not melted. And the tomatoes might as well not have been on the tacos. Filled w/ shredded chicken ... but it wasn't overflowing. Guacamole was ok.
But the hot sauce was probably the tastiest part of the whole meal.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Week 12 - Las Cuatro Milpas

Las Cuatro Milpas
Barrio Logan - Near Chicano Park.

Eater #1 - Taco, rolled tacos and a tortilla (plus a couple of stolen bites off eater #4's beans)
My buddy Mike would bring us takeout from Las Cuatro Milpas every once in a while. It’s been a few years now since I worked with him, and I had forgotten how damn good the tortillas and beans are there. This is the real shit man – tortillas and beans made with lard and love the way my mom and grandma used to make ‘em.

I had never eaten in the restaurant, though. There was a line – but while waiting you get to peek in the window and get a pre-view of what’s cooking. The self-service water from the little sink in the back was a nice touch.

The rolled tacos were nice and fat, slathered in Mexican cream and cotija cheese, the salsa was really spicy and flavorful… but I can’t get over the tortillas. Thick, hot and oh so good… I could have just had those for lunch, maybe with a little butter.

It was worth the wait.

Eater #2 - 3 Pork tacos, rice and beans, tortillas
Taco Friday Haiku
Three pork tacos beans
Could not eat all beans, tacos yes
Tasty the food was.

Eater #3 - MIA in the OC

Eater #4 - Chicken taco, rice and beans, tortillas
LOVE the atmosphere and the smiling faces. I stepped a bit out of my comfort zone as I stepped into this run-down establishment hidden in Barrio Logan. Actually we had to wait in the line that stretched from the entrance down the sidewalk first. I instantly felt at ease when the woman behind the counter greeted me with a smile and took my order. Even though there was a language barrier, I ordered my chicken taco, rice & beans, and diet coke without a hitch. The chicken was yummy and moist, the rice very authentic and the servings were huge and wonderfully priced. BEST tortillas I've ever had. I'd go back again, worth the wait.

Eater #5 - Rice and brans, tortillas
Las Cuatro Milpas is a great Mexican Food Restaurant. The location is in a rough area of town, but the staff was friendly and eager to get you to your table with yummy food. I ordered a side of beans and rice. The beans were tasty, but the rice was a little dry. I loved the 'home made' tortillas.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Week 11 - Alambres

Alambres - Gaslamp, San Diego.

Eater #1 - 3 Carnitas Tacos, rice and beans.
The Mexican music blaring from the crappy, tinny speakers was the only bad thing that I have to say. The finely chopped carnitas was excellent, flavorful and well presented. Good beans, too (I’m a sucker for good beans).
Nice place, I’ll defiantly go back… but maybe not on a Friday.
Eater #2 - Al Pastor Burrito
This place was great. I was glad the place wasn't packed with tourists on such a nice day in paradise. Instead I got to enjoy my period of gustation in peace. The "huge" pastor burrito, though not huge, was huge in taste. I rate it the second best pastor this side of the border. I wish I got beer and my only gripe is trying to find parking downtown. Mahalo. God save the Queen.
Eater #3 - Pastor Tacos - Dos Equis
tacos al pastor: GOOD - The meat is laid out on a three tortillas and you put it together yourself with the cilantro, onion, beans, and rice that are served on the plate. The al pastor was great!!
Beans: GOOD
Rice: eh, okay.
Beer: GOOD - $3.50 for a Dos Equis, for downtown thats pretty good.
Eater #5 - Ensalada Alambres
Alambres is a great place to eat and relax. The Ensalada Alambres was excellent! The salad was made up of crispy romaine lettuce with Feta Cheese, Strawberries, Apples & delicious house dressing. The prices were pretty reasonable and there were a lot of different items to choose from on the menu. I probably wouldn't go back on a Friday, but I would definitely go back.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Week 10 - Don Lucio's Taco Shop II‎

Don Lucio's Taco Shop II‎
Mira Mesa

Eater #1 - Horchata and a Beef Taco
Too sick to eat - bailed home. The Horchata was rancid. The joint was funky. The only reason we went there was to bring lunch to Eater #6's casa - she is down after having Hip Dysplasia surgery.

Eater #2 - some kinda combo
Shitty soggy rolled tacos and the beans must have been imported from the Fumunda region of Mexico. The best thing about them is they had a credit card machine.

Eater #4 - Chicken Taco - Mexican Coke
Soggy fall apart chicken taco. No real veggies, more soggy. Long wait, scary decor...BUT they did sell coke in a bottle.

Eater #5 - Chicken Taco, beans and Rice
I thought the Pollo Asado Taco was pretty bland. The beans were awful, but the rice was pretty good. I liked that they had a credit card machine. The place was kinda dingy and smelly. The lady overcharged my credit card for my taco, but later gave me $1.25 cash.

Eater #6 - Some kinda taco, Mexican Coke
my taco tasted good, but was mushy. Where is this place so I know not to go there. ;)

No Pictures. Unless Eater #6 agrees to posting pix of her scar!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Week 9

El Sol
North Park

Eater #1 – Shrimp Taco and Carnitas Taco, Horchata
El Sol is a little hole in the wall on University near Florida. You wouldn’t expect the damn good tacos that are to be had by looking at the outside of the building. The shrimp taco was stuffed with nice big shrimp, cheese, onions and bell peppers – all seasoned with black pepper and other spices – it was really rich, and I loved it. The carnitas were pretty good, the pork was a little tough, not soft and stringy like I like it, but the quacamole was perfect – good guacamole goes a long way. The waiter was a nice guy, but the service was a little slow – but what do you expect when the food is that well prepared? Another nice touch was the “real” plates, glasses and silverware. El Sol could have easily been a paper plate and plastic fork kinda joint.

I’m going back, I’ll bet that the pollo kills.

Eater #2 - m i a
Eater #4 - m i a

Friday, June 27, 2008

Week 8 - El Comal

El Comal
North Park

Eater #1 – Azteca Taco, Adobada Quesadilla, Horchata
The place looked great, brightly painted walls and a well stocked bar. The food looked great. The cactus tasted OK, kinda smoky… but the chips were greasy. The beef was marginal - no real flavor, . The salsa’s were really good, expecially the green – way spicy and flavorful.

If you have never had a traditional quesadilla – these are not what you expect. Deep fried with queso blanco, sour cream (I think) and cotjia cheese. El Comal had a few different ones, I ordered one stuffed with Adobado. The pork was tender and spicy – but I couldn’t get over the grease. I can still smell the canola oil that they drenched it in.

Oh well.

Eater #2 - Adobada Taco, Beef Gordita
El Comal in North Park San Di-fucking-ego was a great looking little spot tucked in between condos and old houses. The place from the outside looked like it could have been a dry cleaners. But once you walk in the bright colored walls and full bar shelved full of tequila grabs your attention like a little kid selling gum in Rosarito pulling at your shirt, you have to say "No gracias" since it's still a work day. The waitress delivered three tasty salsas ranging from a mild red to a spicy green. Just about everything besides the goat meat on the menu sounded good, but I finally settled on the adobada taco and a beef 'gordita' that was like a shredded beef meat bun in a tortilla. The texture of the tortilla was great, it was soft, thick, and little crispy, crispy on the outside, like a sunburned fat chick. I enjoyed the food and the atmosphere was great besides the 6' 2'' 250lbs sheman sitting behind me eye fucking what I hope was my taco. , I think it would be a neat place for a happy hour taco and vodka. Mahalo. God save the Queen.


Friday, June 20, 2008

Week 7 - Chiquita's

Home Ave near 805 and 94

Eater #1 - Carne Asada Taco with Guacamole and Civiche Tostada
Chiquita’s is one of my favorite restaurants. I have been there many times before. The only disappointment today was that I didn’t order a beer. Damn, a Negra Modello would have been just the thing after a shitty week like this one was.

The chips, salsa and hot carrots came first. They pull the chips screaming out of the hot oil, a dash of salt and they are in front of you… tasty, but too hot to touch. The salsa was “salsa fresca” with plenty of cilantro. Good carrots, too.

I love good civiche, and Chiquita’s is the best. The fish was firm and flavorful, mixed with nice tomatoes and other stuff. If you haven’t tried chiviche, do. Don’t be a sissy. The carne asada was perfect. Thin slices of seasoned beef , tomatoes, lettuce, cotija cheese and Chiquita’s quacamole. The tacos are pretty damn big here, 2 would have killed me.

Kicking it by the fountain on the patio, eating tacos… that is the way to start a weekend.
Eater #2 - Combo: chili rellano, cheese enchilada and carne asada taco
Uh, when you say next door, do you mean Chili's or Flingers? Neither I mean the patio at Chiquita's. When you walk in you're greeted by a full bar with all local looking riff raff, no Zoneys. (Go home Zoneys!) Rather than walking straight to the patio I walked straight to the pisser, where they had a witty piece of prose next to the urinal.
On a beautiful sunny day like today I thought, "Fuck I don't want to go back to the office!", but the patio at Chiquita's eased my worries as I slouched into the iron chair. The combo I had was a chili rellano, cheese enchilada and carne asada taco. All three were well above par and the green creamy chili rellano sauce was the first of its kind for me and was a pleasant surprise, and was the best part of the dish.
I would definitely go back and I put Chiquita's towards the top of the Taco Friday list. Mahalo. God save the Queen.
(is it time to start the weekend yet)

Eater #3 - Combo: chili rellano, chicken enchilada and carne asada taco
I agree that the slightly creamy light green sauce on the chile rellano was a very yummy surprise and probably my favorite part. Although the chicken enchilada was very good too, it was all smothered with a bit too much cheese, but it all tasted good. The carne asada taco was sub-par, especially in comparison to the yumminess of everything else. The meat was chewy, and it was overall pretty bland. But, the rest of the food was so filling I didn't eat the taco and was still overly filled. I think its a bit lame that their 'combos' don't come with beans and rice, and that you have to order chips - even though they bring you salsa (and spicy carrots) automatically, like you are going to just sit there and stare at the salsa with nothing to eat it with.
Sadly there was no witty prose, or funny pictures in the women's bathroom there is a full size mirror which can (sometimes?) be nice.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Week 6 - El Borrego

El Borrego “The Sheep” Taco Shop
Near Pearson Ford at Fairmont and El Cajon

Eater #1 - Lamb taco, lamb rolled taco, quesadilla, horchata.
I was pleasantly surprised when I walked in the door at El Borrego. Clean, inviting atmosphere. While I waited I had time to check out the Mexican handcrafts that decorated the walls. The woman behind the counter was very sweet, we expected to order at the counter, but she shooed us back to our table and took our order there.

The presentation was excellent. She placed a big earthenware bowl full of cilantro, limes and onions on the table and then brought the food.

The rice was killer, the “salad” of tomatoes, pickled peppers and queso blanco was damn good. The lamb taco, rolled taco and the quesadilla were not good at all. It might be that I just don’t like lamb, but it was like eating carnitas that had gone strange. The sour cream on the rolled taco was all soupy. The meat was nicely prepared, but I couldn’t get past the taste.

Nice people, nice place – I won’t be back.
- Oh, the bathroom was nice, too. Not funky at all, especially compared to other taco shops.

Eater #2 - Lamb taco, lamb rolled taco, quesadilla, horchata.
I don't like lamb. I liked the restaurant with the bright colors and decorations. The best part of the food was the rice. I gotta say it was the best taco shop rice I've had in a long time. Because all they had was barbacoa (lamb) the options were limited. The combo of a taco, rolled taco, quesadilla, rice and chili salad was the order of the day. I appreciate the effort and presentation, but lamb just aint my thing. I'm glad I tried it, but I wont be going back. Mahalo. God save the Queen.


Friday, May 30, 2008

Week 5 - Pokéz

Pokéz - Downtown San Diego

Eater #1: Veggie Taco, Beef Taco.
OK – All my blood is still in my stomach, the portions are HUGE. It’s nap time.
I ordered a couple of tacos, expecting, well, tacos. The Beef taco was regular size, loaded up with nice shredded beef, lettuce, tomatoes and a bunch of grated cheddar. The meat was good, but the taco shell was disappointing, similar to the boxed ones that you find in the white-guy section of the supermarket.
The veggie taco was killer… and it was a frickin monster. They made it in a fried flour tortilla, and it was loaded. Rice, beans, guacamole, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes – and all of it was good. It also came with a side of rice and beans. Good beans covered in jack.
I nabbed a taste of the chicken off of another eaters tostada salad – next time that is what I’m getting. I don’t know how they made it, but it was damn good.
I was kinda surprised, Pokéz is a sit down restaurant. The wait staff was a bunch of 20 somethings – all tatted up. Real cool place, the late 80s tunes were blaring, the walls covered in original, indie art.
I’m going back, next time for chicken tacos and beer… as long as they don’t come in those crappy shells.

Eater #2: Combo 5 - beef taco, cheese enchilada, chili rellano, rice and beans.
God damn salsa was pretty god damn good. The god damn #5 combo of beef taco, cheese enchilada and god damn chili rellano, rice and beans was 6.8 of 10. The chili god damn rellano really tied the plate together and salvage what would have been an average tasting combo. The atmosphere was god damn unique with the different art stylings and tattooed staff. With a big god damn group of people the wait for the food was god damn long and combined with the tasty aromas from the kitchen, it was god damn hell. But at least the god damn waitress kept the chips and salsa full. All and all a great god damn place and would definitely eat there again with so many tasty things to try on the menu. Fin...god damnit. God save the Queen

Eater #3: 1 beef taco, 1 cheese enchilada, beans and rice.
The rice was a bit bland, but the rest was all top notch! My combo wasn't actually on the menu but the server was more than happy to accommodate. Oh and they have a good selection of vegetarian/vegan dishes, which is a nice option. The service was a bit slow, but my theory is that if you are going to a Mexican food restaurant you go for the food, not the service. The two servers I saw were both really nice, it was just a little slow. The food was good, which is what really matters. I'll be back for sure.

Eater #4: 5 Potato Rolled Tacos
Yum!!! I've been to this fine establishment before....many years ago.... because it was the only place that could make vegan food taste good! So, feeling nostalgic, I ordered the potato rolled tacos with a side of rice, vegan style. Basically this just means that they don't put cheese on it and everything is plant yucky beef oil. The diced tomatoes, onions, and cilantro that covered the top of the tacos was fresh, crunchy, and full of flavor. The tacos themselves were very filling, covered in guacamole, and I could only eat 4 of the 5. Great music, wonderful staff, reasonable prices. Love this place.

Eater #5: Chicken Tostada Salad
Great location, great prices and an excellent menu. Walked up to the restaurant and was instantly drawn to all of the "art work" on the outside of the building. Band flyers and stickers flooded the walls. I was regrettably unaware that Burlesque shows were held in the downtown vicinity. Salsa was excellent on my yummy Chicken Tostada Salad. I scarfed it down in no time at all. The bathroom was interesting. Instead of a handle on the door, there is a hole with a man's body drawn around it, so you are looking through his butt. Graffiti and more "artwork" everywhere and there are signs to the "shitter" to make sure you don't miss after all of the greasy tacos go through your system. Had to ask for our check, so maybe dinner might workout better. If you're not in a hurry that is.

Eater #6 - something with a chili relleno
If you ever wonder where the tattoed, pierced-in-the-most-ridiculous-of-places dickheads went to work after Tower Records closed down, visit Pokez on 10th St where they have been reincarnated to serve some tasty Mexican food.

After catching a whiff of one of the servers who wore a tank top to show off his bitchin' tats (and, who along the rest of the lot, served with the same indifference minus the cheekiness and gusto of a server at Dick's Last Resort) I chose to minimize the risk of infection from my possibly washed plastic cup by requesting a straw at the front counter. I'm sure the Pokez peeps are clean enough, but the body "art" made me naseous just thinking of the used and likely dirty needles that made their look possible. The sloppy paint thrown across canvasses and pocelain statuettes throughout the place (which might be considered "cool" by the artsy types) did not do anything to tell me this was going to be a fine dining experience.

It was the most delicious Mexican food prepared and served by shitheads that I've ever tasted.

I had the Number 14... a savory Chile Relleno that was unbreaded and cooked to a perfection which allowed the taste of the unknown, watery cheese-stuffed scrumptious chile to leave me wishing I ordered only that. The 14 came with the most succulent Carne Asada taco that, on a night of drinking Downtown, I would have consumed heartily. But earlier in the day I finished my lunch from Phil's BBQ from the day before, so I couldn't stomach the tortilla shell. Its flavor and Old Town Mexican Cafe texture was GREAT, but I didn't want to get filled on the massive double maize shell, being sober and all. Instead I dumped the contents out on the flavorful rice and beans. My gluttony was also sated by the chips and kick-ass salsa Tatoo Boy and Girl brought to the table while we waited 15 minutes for our lunch. Everything served was very good.

Reality: Very good food and the unwashed atmosphere made it feel like Lemon Grove hole-in-the-wall genuine Mexican cuisine. A great Downtown location.

What could be better: A walk up counter where you could pay individually and not have to worry about who owes what when the bill comes. Also, Pokez could use a self-serve salsa bar where you don't have to deal with Freddy or Fredericka Tattoo looking at you crosseyed when you ask for something.

On the outside looking in: I'm an asshole. Taking into account the complete douchebaggery of the art freaks and tatted up caricatures working at Pokez I'd give this place a solid "A" for really good food and a "C-" for atmosphere. The food was delicious and the best feeling was getting out of there. The same feeling as leaving a good shithole place in Mexicali except you exit into the streets of my beloved Downtown San Diego.


Friday, May 2, 2008

Week 4 - Tacos El Gordo

Tacos El Gordo - Chula Vista

Eater #1: 3 Tacos - Adobado, Cabesa, Asada - Horchata
From the few reviews I had some read, I high hopes for El Gordo’s and they did not disappoint. The menu features some tacos that I hadn’t expected.. like chorizo and brains. I remember eating cabesa when I was a kid, my grandfather would do whole beef head pit barbeque for large family parties. I had to try it!

The cabesa tacos at El Gordos were killer. The meat was tender and just a little spicy from the green salsa that was slathered over the top. The stuff just melts in your mouth. Next up was the asada taco – the meat had a smoky, peppery seasoning and perfect guacamole on top. Really good. I saved the adobado taco for desert. The spit that the adobado was cooked on was about 3 feet tall and 15 inches thick topped with a half a pineapple. The cook would soak the corn tortillas in the drippings from the spit before he filled the taco with the thin cut, red pork meat, a light green sauce, onions and cilantro. His hands moved too fast to see the entire process. Great, spicy flavor… damn it was good.

Hands down these were some of the best tacos I have ever eaten. If I was going to go crazy and try the brains – I’d do it at El Gordo.

Mas cabasa por favor.

Eater # 2 - 4 Adobado tacos
Tacos Mu Fuckin El Gordos. Al Pastor that I dub the best North of the border. The place smells appetizing from the time you step out of your ride and by the time you get to the order counter you’re ready to eat them out of business. Rather than do that I ordered 4 pastor tacos with the works (cilantro, onions, salsa, and creamy tangy green sauce). Fuck, now I want 3 more tacos just thinking about them. Mahalo & God save the Queen.

Eater #3 - 2 Tacos - Asada, Adobado - Horchata
You can't be afraid of the big stack of pork on the spit. The guy has a sword (this was no knife!) about 18 inches long, and just slices off juicy tidbits of the adobada directly onto the mini tortillas that he just warmed on the griddle. Then throws on some cilantro and onions, slops the salsa on top of that, wraps it up in paper and hands you your plate. I also got a carne asada taco, so walking through the open kitchen he passed the guy making the cabeza tacos, and went to the guy making the asada tacos, which had salsa on it and was similarly wrapped in the paper. Once I got my horchata I was ready to go. I went to the salsa bar, but alas there is no salsa bar, just two bins - one with sliced limes and the other with sliced radishes.
The adobada was tasty, the salsa complemented it well - there was a couple of pieces of fat, but what else can you expect from pork. With a little lime juice the carne asada was just as tasty, and pretty tender - not tough and chewy like it can sometimes be. I could have had one more of these tiny tacos, but 2 was sufficient.

Final word: Good, authentic food. Other than the distance, I'd go back.

Eater #4 - 2 Quesadillas, Coke
El Taco Gordo.....a bright yellow building in the middle of, what I would consider, a questionable part of town. I was pleasantly surprised at the cleanliness and hospitality that awaited inside. I know, I have set up this blog as an over privileged-snob, but I promise you I am far from that; just a little sheltered on life experiences when it comes to various neighborhoods in San Diego. El Taco Gordo is just the place for someone that would like to try a piece of TJ without leaving the states. With no more than a handful of items on the menu, the variety they offer is incredible. Just think brains, stomach, tongue....the list goes on. Being one that does not partake in red meat (they don't have chicken or fish), I was pretty limited on my selections. The staff was very polite when I ordered my quesadillas and even tried to hide their shock at my request for no meat. The tortillas taste home-made and the 'secret sauce' that they included was yummy. They also have grilled onions and cacti for those more brave than I. This is not a place for Vegans though, be warned. Great drink selections, a Coke place, and every Mexican whipped drink you'd like. Overall....completely enjoyable and a great atmosphere to enjoy some tacos (if you eat beef and pork).

Friday, April 25, 2008

Week 3 - Porkyland

PorkyLand - Barrio Logan -

Eater #1: 3 Mini tacos - Buche, Al Pastor, Carnitas.
Ok – This week was supposed to be El Carrito, but the damn place is closed. We ended up at Porkyland… it’s on the same block as El Carrito and looked promising. Nice place. The walls were painted in bright colors and the people were friendly. You could see right into the open kitchen, were there was this huge (I guess) fire pit oven that was not being used. The salsa bar had red, green and salsa fresca. None of that damn roasted chipotle in sight (good). There was also a big bowl of cilantro mixed with onions and a bowl of cut up limes.

While waiting for Eater #2 to order I noticed something I’d never heard of on the menu. “Buche” - sounded like maybe it was some kinda sweet taco. I asked the girl behind the counter what it was. She says “It’s, uh, pork, umm” and rubbed her stomach. I had to try it. I ordered 3 mini tacos – Buche, Al Pastor and Carnitas.

The tacos looked really good when they arrived, just juicy enough without being too wet. It was just the meat in a tiny corn tortilla – you added what you wanted from the salsa bar – just the way it should be.

I dove into the Buche taco – ½ of it in 1 bite. Tender, flavorfull, chew a little more, distinct ass taste. I guess I’m a little too white for the Buche, I had to spit it into my napkin…but I’m betting that if I had grown up eating the stuff, it would have been excellent.

The Carnitas was next. Nice, shredded pork – it went really well with the green salsa, line juice and cilantro/ onions.

I love Al Pastor, and the ones at Porkyland were damn good. The meat was moist, the corn tortillas are good and it was seasoned perfectly – Go there for the Al Pastor – it kills.

Great day in San Diego to sit outside and eat tacos… just avoid the pig tummy.

Eater #2: 2 tacos Al Pastor, rice and beans. Coke.
Taco time plus 20 minutes and I have no rumbling in the bowels. That means quality tacos for Porkyland. The al-pastor combo with rice and beans is sitting nice and was a tasty treat for the 2 minutes it took to woof it down. The meat was tender, juicy, and the salsa verde complemented it well. The rice and beans need some more work rather than just opening a can of Rosarita. Not my first choice to go back too, but I would recommend the al-pastor taco. Mahalo & God save the Queen.


Friday, February 8, 2008

Week 2 - Cantina Mayahuel

Cantina Mayahuel – Near 30th and Adams, Normal Heights.

Eater #1: Shrimp Taco, Tasajo Taco, Chips and Salsa. Negra Modello.
The tacos are different here than what I am used to. Talking to another patron while waiting for them to open at noon, he explained that this is Mexican food from southern Mexico… They used cabbage instead of lettuce and smothered the tacos in chipotle, lime juice and other sauces. The shrimp tacos were good, nice plump shrimps and the right amount of other flavors. The beef tacos were good, but the meat was kinda too chewy… Like they used stuff that should have been made into stew. Overall I liked it.

Sitting on the sunny patio, drinking a Negra Modelo and eating good Mexican food. Damn I’m glad I live in San Diego.

Eater #2: Chicken Taco, (2) Tasajo Taco, Chips and Salsa. Negra Modello.
Right out of the gates Cantina Mayahuel earned one punto de taco for their wall of top-shelf tequila. After munching on some chips and salsa, I made the mistake of going too big and ordering two carne asada tacos (tasajo-style) and a chicken taco. Two tacos on my hungriest day would have been more than enough. The la diabla sauce for the tacos was pretty damn tasty and not nearly as sphincter scarring as it sounds. I would definitely go back and Cantina Mayahuel made a fine benchmark for the Taco Friday saga. I give them 3 puntos de taco out of 5. Mahalo & God save the Queen.

Eater# 3: Eater #2: Chicken Taco, Tasajo Taco, Chips and Salsa. Jamica.
Atmosphere: A small cozy restaurant, very cute, but the side patio tops it all.

Food: Chicken taco, good good stuff. Tasty flavorful chunks of white meat, tons of cabbage topped off with 3 sauces that I guess to be sour cream, a dark rich chili sauce, and one other that is somewhere in between the two. There was a tortilla disaster due to there being too much innards for the poor tortillas to handle, but that is a small issue.
Tesajo style beef taco was decent, but not as good. The meat had great flavor to it, but was tough and hard to chew, not a good cut of meat. Oh yeah, and it had a hair peeking out of the end of it, but hey this is life and shit happens.
Libation: Jamica, not as sweet as I normally like, but it was good and it tasted fresh which is always a plus.

Overall: I tend to like my food hair free, but other than that this was a good spot to relax and have some tacos, and you can bet my next visit will include a margarita with tequila from one of the several shelves of offerings.

Week 1 – Lucha Libre Taco Shop

Lucha Libre Taco Shop
Bottom of the hill on Washington, across from Gelato Vera

Eater #1: TJ Hotdog, Adobado Taco and a taste of the Champion Nachos. Horchata.
The TJ ‘dog was killer. I haven’t had one since I was an under-age punk partying in Tijuana. There is nothing better than a hotdog wrapped in bacon smothered in grilled onions and bell peppers. Lucha Libre makes their own pineapple salsa and the the adobado taco had some on it – really tasty. The carne asada in the Champion Nachos was perfect. Nice strips of grilled beef, seasoned just right. Good beans, too.

The atmosphere was cool – pink walls, the chairs have lucha libre masks in the upholstery. The owner said that they will have a liquor license soon – I’m betting that this place will rock at night.

Eater #2: TJ Hotdog, Carne Asada Taco.
As the medley of flavors from hot dog, bacon, peppers, and onions, combined with carne asada and guacamole, prance beautifully around my mouth from my most recent burp, I can’t help but think: “I ate a TJ dog hours ago and I don’t have the brown pee?” All I have to add is if Lucha gets a liquor license and I can order a bucket of beer, I won’t be waiting in the San Ysidro border line anymore to get my taco fix. Nice performance Lucha Libre, 3.5 puntos de tacos. God save the Queen.

Eater #3: Chicken and vegetable taco, carne asada fries

Atmosphere: A small little spot, but great décor. Very kitschy with the wrestling masks in all the seats, bright pink walls, and the 70’s lucha libre movies playing in the background.

Food: Chicken and vegetable taco, it had some clever name that I forget at this point. It was a good sized taco, and I was able to successfully transfer half of the contents onto the second tortilla and have two tacos. The veggies were grilled and very fresh. They made two of the best tacos I’ve had in recent memory.
They have a jammin salsa bar, with normal mild and hot, a sweet pineapple, and a few others that you just have to test out and try.
I mooched some carne asada from a friend’s carne asada fries and that was some of the best carne asada I have ever had. It was tender and juicy and seasoned to perfection.

Overall: This is a brand new restaurant and I think everyone should patron it because I really hope that they make it. Great spot!