San Diego, Taco Lovers Unite and Drive

lamb head, lamb heads, roly poly lamb heads.

San Diego is it's own special taco mecca. Perhaps because of it's proximity to the border.

It's too big an area to tackle in one outing, but I did eat some fun tacos while vacationing in Coronado for a few days.

I finally made it to Aqui es Texcoco. Bill Esparza told me about it and it's been on my list for a while. The guys there are pretty hilarious and the tacos were declicious. They specialize in lamb barbacoa aka bbq lamb (borrego en espanol.) You can have it all sorts of ways. They even make a middle eastern pita bread taco with dill-yogurt sauce.

Def. worth a visit.

On the way there I totally got lost because another place opened, prob trying to ride Texcoco's coatails. The are called Asi es Jalisco. They have birria, but the goat variety. Once I realized I was lost, I felt bad not ordering anything so I got some rolled tacos. They were a little too oily and too chewy but I liked the filling. Who knows, maybe their birria is the bomb.

Coronado doesn't really have too many good choices for Mexican. American is the way to go there with gourmet hot dogs and several vintage diners. But I did stumble on some edible tacos at Clayton's Mexican To Go.

It's just a little window next to the diner of the same name, but they have tons of choices for tacos and burritos and I really enjoyed the shrimp and the ground beef. The tortillas had a nice consistency and never got soggy.

Top of my list for next time is a WAY trendy place called The Carnitas Snack Shack. It's just over the bridge from Coronado in North Park on University Blvd. DANG that place looks good but I just couldn't bust a move over there as I was stressed getting ready to drive down the Baja Peninsula again. But check out this pic from their website! Sheesh.

Taqueria Tepatitlan, Ventura CA

This place came to me from a Twitter tip. I tried several times to go, but always on a Monday and they are closed Monday. I don't know what is going on with that stretch of Ventura Ave. but it is a serious TACO MECCA. Taqueria Cuernavaca is there and a really cool taco truck at night that parks in front of Sam's Market and a few others you can't miss driving down the street.

FINALLY I got there on the right day and OMMFG. SO GREAT. First of all the owner/manager - not sure who he was exactly - but he took such good care of me. He thought of things I needed that I didn't even know I needed.

2nd of all, old school crispy tacos left me wanting more and more and more. My friend had the burrito - loved it. I went back with two authenticos and they are tough critics. They loved it.

The first time I went I ate in the cozy booth room. I didn't even realize they had a bar next door. Amazing beer selection on tap. Everything is just so dang good there.

On the 2nd night they had a special salsa that was like Pico de Gallo with avocado added. FANTASTIC. I'm told it's a variation on "flag salsa" or Salsa Bandera. Don't really care what the heck it's called, just give me more.

You gotta go. Just don't go on Monday cuz they're closed. It's a little hard to see because their windows are blacked out, but they do have a sign and are right across the street from Ortiz Taco

(lips smacking at the memory)


Taqueria Tepatitlan
362 N. Ventura Ave.
Ventura, CA 93001

Taco Roundup #5 - Tacos in Santa Rosa, Santa Barbara and Inglewood!

It's been a busy month for the Maven. I ate a lot of tacos. I pretty much eat one every day as you know. Of all the places I ate, only one really deserves it's own post (Tepatitlan) but these are worthy spots so if you are nearby, check 'em out!

SANTA ROSA - my friend Dana Reinhardt is a YA Author. I went with her to a speaking event and lo and behold it was across the street from a place I wanted to try last time I passed through the area. LA ROSA TEQUILERIA & GRILL is supafun.

They do have an increible selection of tequila and a damn good crispy taco which they busted out for me at 10:55 AM as they were opening even though it's a dinner menu item ONLY. Super crunchy and I liked the wavy shell. Nice eclectic decor.  They do lots of tequila pairing events. Fun peeps.

Shredded Beef Crispy Taco - Avail at Dinner Only

SANTA BARBARA - I convinced my taco pal Chris to try SU CASA which is around the block from her house. She had driven by it a bazillion times but out of habit always headed for EL ZARAPE, which is a great down and dirty quickie place.

The service here was great. They had a nice patio, good beer selection and generous portions. My tacos were good enough and the salsa was especially good. She has been back a few times since so that's a good sign!

Crispy Pastor and Soft Shrimp Tacos

INGLEWOOD - Doing an errand with a friend, I had about 15 min. to kill. Time for a Taco! I don't know why I was drawn to this place, but I really liked it. They were sweet, it was clean and they make their crispy tacos on the grill which I really like. Cheap, cheap, cheap and lots of Mexican families chowing down. 

MI ZACATECAS was the one I ate at, but there is another place down the street called just Zacatecas that get's a better Yelp review. Next time!

Griddle Crispy Tacos. Ground beef and Pastor.

CHULA VISTA - I had to drive down to San Diego to drop off some stuff that someone is driving down to Baja for me. Big stuff that doesn't fit in my car. We start talking about tacos and she tells me I  MUST go to this fish taco truck. So I do.

No longer in the location that YELP lists in the link, you get off at Main St., head N. and it's right on the corner at Main and Industrial in a parking lot. VERY fresh, lots of fans. The grilled shrimp was great and tons of mariscos too. Maybe a few too many tomatoes on top. The official name is MARISCOS Y TACOS EL KIKI.

Battered fish and grilled shrimp tacos

OJAI - Stick to where the Mexicans eat. That's the way to find good food in Ojai. Street tacos and mercados. Otherwise, it's all pretty mediocre there. I've been meaning to hit up this Panaderia for a year. But the smell of sweet stuff usually turns me away.

It's actually called DIAZ'S BAKERY though I never saw the sign. Last week I busted my move and these quickie cheapie tacos were GREAT. Tender, clean meat and some kick arse salsa. YUM YUM. They are right next to the healthfood market on Matillja. You can't miss 'em. Follow the donut smell.

Carnitas and Asada tacos with spicy salsa.

So as you can see, I've been all over but still managed to faithfully document my eats for your reading and eating pleasure.