Casa Torres, Tacos in Sylmar

WAY out in San Fernando Valley, where the 118 meets the 210 on Glenoaks.

I was out scouting for patio tile and I asked the guy, 'What's good around here?'  He didn't even hesitate for a moment before answering, 'Casa Torres'.

It reminded me of Paco's in Mar Vista except they had cool stuff like Birria Jalisco Style and lots and lots of seafood. I predictably ordered a crispy chicken taco/enchilada combo. It was $8 or so.


It's cavernous inside and not too exciting on the decor front and their separate bar area is definitely a little seedy, BUT.... I still liked it.

Very big place and they have a way cool tortilla making automatic machine!

Here is the link to their yelp page :: http://www.yelp.com/biz/casa-torres-sylmar


The Summit for Old School Dive Tacos in Ojai CA

Great tacos at a burger joint? Sure why not. They already have the ground beef and the chicken breast.

The Summit is a cool little stand/diner/cafe on the 126 on the way to Santa Paula from Ojai. It's about 10 min. from Boccali's, so even if you are not on your way out and are staying in Ojai, it's a pretty short ride. A little curvy, a nice view of the valley below with lots of hiking too.

I ate at the Summit, I want to say, about 10 years ago. I found it by accident. 'Ooooh! What's THAT cool place?" I had burger lovin' visitors and they get good Yelp/internet buzz so off we went. The whole way I was thinking... 'I'm pretty sure they have tacos... Are they crispy? That's the part I can't remember...'

When we got there everyone ordered burgers. They have salmon, chicken and turkey in addition to beef. No one was that floored. Good, but not INSANE etc. I had a regular burger (no cheese etc.) and I thought it was very tasty... but sure, it was no Father's Office or anything but it wasn't supposed to be.

My taco however was AWESOME. Freshly, lightly fried on the grill. Tasty ground beef mixture, shredded lettuce, yellow cheese. I had to ask for it, but the house salsa was great too.  $2.50 per taco and they have chicken and ground beef as the 2 choices.

They are open pretty early for breakfast... 8am? They stay open until 3pm each day.

I will probably go back for lunch today. It was THAT good.

Yea Summit!

PS. People rave about the shakes but the strawberry one we had was a dayglo pink and didn't really taste like strawberries... Maybe chocolate is better! Go for the tacos!


Don Lalo's Shrimp Tacos, Ojai CA

I have long been complaining about the lack of good tacos in Ojai. It seems like every place on the main drag is designed for the unsuspecting tourist willing to hope that the food will be good, only to leave disappointed, never to return.

As I am housesitting up here for the month of July I have had more time to search the neighborhoods. Last week I found a gem, Don Lalo's. It is on a side street, a place you would never randomly drive by, because it is squirreled away in the backside of Ojai.

Don Lalo's is at 585 Roblar street, right near a pretty good pizza place called Papa Lennon's. They have been doing very well and the owner, Angel is a charmer. Sadly, only 5 people have bothered to give them Yelp support, but that's how it can be in a small town.

Right away I loved their cool cowboy sign. I tried the shrimp taco on Angel's recommendation and it was uniquely delicious and perfectly spicy. Sauteed in a red sauce with lots of onions it was so tasty. They also have tasty crispy tacos, but Angel admits that he has to do the shells in advance and so they are not the same as those that are deep fried with the filling inside right before serving.

No matter. Plenty of great stuff to choose from including amazing breakfast items (they open at 7am!) and a chile relleno burrito. YUMEE. Everything is fresh and clean and Angel doesn't believe in salsa bars because they carry too much bacteria for his A rating health department compliant tastes.

He has applied for a liquor license, and soon they will be serving beer and wine. It's a lovely place to come and eat and chat.

Give it a try and tell him the Taco Maven sent you.

Spencer McKenzie's Fish Company, Ventura CA


In Downtown Ventura, at the intersection of Thompson and Ash are two places for Tacos. One is Corrales and the other is Spencer Makenzie's. Both of them have multiple locations around Ventura. 

The taco menu at Corrales didn't look THAT exciting, but OH the choices at Spencer Makenzie's. The Gourmetdar bell was clanging.

Too many choices! But I could only eat 2 so I tried the special (god it was huge) Calamari Taco for $5.25 and the absolutely perfect ground beef hard shell taco for $2.75. 

They dust the shell with parmesan and the filling was GREAT.

They have four exotic sauces; a habanero which is slightly sweet, a green, a carribean and an asian style chili sauce. I didn't try the carribean and maybe that's the one I should have had because the other two reds were too sweet for me.

They have something called 'Brooklyn Style' where you get both Spencer's sauce and the chili sauce on top. It was cool, but a little too much going on in the end for me personally.

I'm sure their fish tacos are great. They will batter or grill, flour or corn. Really nice people, a small outdoor patio and tons of room inside around a long counter top.

I heard from several people there that the place across the street, Corrales, is good in a 'down and dirty' sort of way. 

Seemingly, you can't go wrong at this intersection in Downtown Ventura.