California Burrito and Carne Asada Fries Near SD Gaslamp! - Comic Con Report!
Once again, the California Board comes though!
It all started a few weeks ago when my brother and I was discussing our upcoming trip the San Diego Comic Con and he asked me if I had heard of Carne Asada fries. A friend had told him about them, and he wanted to confirm that his pal just wasn’t yanking his chain. I laughed and told him about this beast as well as the California Burrito. Like me, as a L.A. raised Chicano, he was a repulsed by the idea but then later started to become strangely intrigued. So a few days later he asked me to look up a place that we could try it while we were there at the Con... and so that lead to a post and a suggestion for Valentine’s Taco Shop located on Market on the corner of 9th. Walking distance from a Con Shuttle Stop.
To be completely honest, we’d only show up to this place on a houndish pursuit. Valentines is like the ultimate hole in the wall. Well worn booths, ackward use of space, a menu high above the counter. Further as we all know, it was absolutely STEAMING this weekend and this place has NO AC. The folks there probably thought we were crazy coming in the gawd awful heat. Nevertheless, the call for Carne Asada fries was too strong... And so we ordered a couple of soft drinks with huge cups of ice and began to explore the menu...
* Carne Asada Fries. While, I had HEARD of this beast, I never actually ordered them. I admit being a Nacho snob and initially the thought of it was just SO wrong. But in my research I stumbled across a couple of blog pictures of this dish and slowly, I began to turn. The ones we got aren’t nearly as huge as in the pictures, but a good portion. The fries are on the thicker side and so they really held their own under the toppings (A mound of Guacamole, Mound of Sour cream, lots of shredded ‘yellow’ cheese’ and a generous display of Carne Asada on top.) The Carne Asada was EXCELLENT, wonderfully spiced and flavorful. One of the best tasting that I’ve had in a while. As for the dish itself... I admit, I’m a convert!! As noted the potatoes were done perfect, so they stayed crisp on the outside, but when chewed, the soft pototoey insides really turned this into a comfort food. It turned out to be a really a different but yummy ‘nacho’ experience... :)
* California Burrito: Although I had told Bro about this, he still seemed shouted in amazement when he opened it up and found French fries inside... And even after enjoying the Carne Asada Fries, he still approached the Burrito version with a bit of caution. And upon first bite, he liked it a lot. SO preferred this version better than the stand alone fires because there seemed to be a better blending of flavors as you take big burrito bites and the toasty flour tortilla made it seem more “Mexican” than instead a loaded potato.
* Carnitas Tacos: Thankfully SO seemed to sense my worry about the fries and burrito and ordered one of my favorite things in the world. Carnitas Tacos. And these were EXCELLENT. They were HUGE and full of meat, done double tortilla style (So we made four tacos instead of just two) and the Carnitas, like the Asada were done with care. Huge chunks of flavorful pork and with the fried edge. TRUE Carnitas. I was one happy girl.
Valentine also had several helados (As well the venerable ChocoTaco) and other Mexican sweets, but sadly we had to run off to a Panel so we left in a bit of a rush. Still, we all were just thrilled with out new Comic Con find. Hopefully if the weather doesn’t beat us down like it did this year because we’ll be back!! :)
Valentine’s Taco Shop:
Great report. Sounds like you found better Mexican food than I did at Comic-Con -- I had time to go only on Thursday, had to drive instead of the train so I could attend an afternoon panel, check out the floor (and buy some Poke-merchandise for POPJr.), go to an evening event at Candelas, and then drive home. After searching endlessly for parking and braving the entry red tape -- it gets worse every year -- I had to make do with a Mrs. Fields cookie until after the show closed for the night. By the time I arrived at Candelas I was famished, but all the same the food didn't knock me out--there was a nice mussel appetizer but otherwise nothing was memorable. Attentive service, at least, and an attractive setting but the place was absolutely steaming inside--not their fault and very unusual for San Diego, I suppose. A plate of carne asada fries woulda hit the spot, I think!