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NY Times Taco Road Trip Along California Coast [Moved from S.F.]

It ends in San Francisco so hopefully I won't get deleted.


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  1. I've travelled the Highway One route Cindy Price reviewed many times. She found some places I want to try Next time. Still, she passed within a couple of minutes two real winners in tthe Monterey Peninsula area. Next time she should try Flor de Oxaca in Carmel (not a Carmel "cute" joint) and La Villa Taqueria in Seaside.

    1. Anyone on a taco excursion on Hwy 1 needs to take the 15 minute detour to Salinas!
      Gutierrez drive-in is a must, with legendary crispy carnitas. El Guero on Sanborn with it’s “carne en mole negro” is amazing. El Charrito market rocks. El Azteca Market also rocks (both on Market St.) Other good tacos can be found at Delicias on E. Alisal, Las Guacamayas on N. Main, and that is just the beginning.

      That poor New Yorker that passed Santa Cruz and ate at Vallarta instead of Morenos was not very well advised and didn’t do much research!

      1. LA to SF?!?!??? I guess SD doesn't rate on the NYT taco radar. Too bad. She missed all the taco places in Chula Vista not to mention the mother of all taco joints Mama Testsa http://www.mamatestataqueria.com/

        2 Replies
        1. re: DiningDiva

          Yeah, What about us. San Diego tacos rock.

          1. re: DiningDiva

            Unfortunately, she stopped in San Francisco. There's great tacos north of the Golden Gate too. All the way up Hwy. 101 to the Oregon state line.

          2. She missed the best "gringo" style taco at (what else?) the Taco Temple in Morro Bay.

            1. I realize that in criticising the NY Times I place myself in some very dubious company, but I'm enough of a provincial snob to wonder how a Times reporter who was raised on Taco Bell and Old El Paso could possibly know a good taco if it jumped from el mano de dios right into her mouth. Sorry.
              . . . jim strain in san diego.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jim Strain

                I rarely find that people out of the area ... reporters or not ... are able to distiguish the best of its class. Being not as familiar with the chow doesn't give as much credibility.

                From my own exploration of cuisines unfamiliar to me, I blush at my earlier enthusiastic reports of the first places I tried where the food was not as familiar to me and greatness was waiting at a future dinner.

                That being said, delicious is delicious. You don't need to be an expert. By the time the article was finished, having eaten 49 tacos ... there had to be SOME expertise gained one would hope.

                Still, in this thread on the SF board discussing the Bay Area tacos in the article, declaring this little place in Pescadero as the best tacos outside of Mexico makes me wonder. Will have to try the place and see, but the few reports on the SF board were mixed.


              2. She hit two in Santa Barbara, Lilly's, which I have not tried (I thought the line about Hannibal Lechter's shopping list was priceless) and Super Rica, which I have. Two good choices, I suppose.
                But she drove right by taco nirvana on her way to Super Rica - El Taqueria El Bajio - to me, it's really the best taqueria in Santa Barbara. Yes, even better than Super Rica. Maybe she can hit it on her return trip.
                Any of the El Sitio locations sprinkled around town would have merited a stop, as well.

                2 Replies
                1. re: peasoup

                  I disagree with peasoup on El Bajio. While sometimes the food there has been as good as or even superior to Super Rica, on other visits the food has been very poorly prepared. I think they have a real quality control problem in that kitchen. Super Rica, in contrast, is a model of consistency. Same with El Sitio, which I also enjoy, but whose offerings are more common and less interesting than Super Rica's.

                  1. re: Cheese Please

                    I would urge readers to try them both, preferably one right after the other. I've never had a bad meal at Bajio - it also appears, to me, cleaner and better run.

                2. this list and topic sound eerily familiar, especially the phrase 'wasteland' referring to the Santa Lucia coast. Rudell's Smokehouse in Cayucos? I responded with this rec to a query about a tour of the coast several months ago.


                  1. Hard to believe they passed up Tres Amigos in Half Moon Bay. (My husband tells me they are related to the Vallarta folks, but I cannot confirm that.)

                    1. Three Amigos in Half Moon Bay is my all time favorite taco in the world.

                      1. I want to put in my 2 cents worth for Mi Fiesta Market in Carpinteria, right across the street from Bob's garage on Carp. av. Just don't let them give you the chips out of the bag, ask for a couple of the corn tortillas they use for the Tostadas.
                        Their Carnitas is outstanding and my friend Milo always orders the lengua(tongue).

                        1. Thanks so much for posting this. My friend who also grew up here but now lives on the east coast mentioned this article but did not offer to send it to me.
                          What a list, we have our work cut out for us!

                          When I moved back to Santa Barbara the first thing most people from LA said was "oh wow, you'll get to go to Super Rica when ever you want" longingly.
                          I second peasoup's vote for adding El Bajio, they have the best hard tacos!