Bety's, Karina's and more! - Encinitas
Great quesadillas on home-made oblong corn tortillas.
I had hongos and epazote with cotija cheese and a cheese and epazote one. Epazote was fresh and the tortilla really made the difference! I can't wait to get this again! Guests had milanese torta and fish tacos. I think the Baja style fish tacos here are the best so far, sorry Juanita's. Torta was decent, only complaint was the bread - too gringo style.
1464 Encinitas Boulevard
Encinitas, CA 92024
Karina's - Thanks to chowhound PommeDeGuerre for this great rec. I believe I have located the best ceviche in North County so far. My SO and I had shrimp ceviche, D.F. guest had Campechana style (shrimp, octopus, and white fish), al pastor taco and chile relleno. Both ceviches were topped with diced avocado and served with several limes and the ubiquitous saltines. The shrimp ceviche was marinated raw, the Capechana the shrimp were precooked. Not sure why the Capechana was not raw, but our shrimp were delicious! Beware the portion is large, ample enough for lunch. I did not try the relleno, but it looked good, very similar to Juanita's (not deep fried). Al pastor was passable, he was expecting the meat to be coming off of a vertical spit like in they do in Mexico City, oh well. The shrimp ceviche is a winner here!
916 N Highway 101
Hours: Tues-Sunday: 8 am - 10 pm; Monday closed.
Crazy Burro in Carlsbad - D.F. guest saw this place and wanted to try. Unfortunately, the Crazy Burro is horrendous. I would say Fidel's is better than this place and that isn't saying much since I put Fidel's on par with Taco Bell. Chips and salsa were ok. Fish tacos were pathetic, Rubio's beats the Burro hands down. I won’t even comment on the rest, it's just not worth it.
Las Olas - Few comments as i have commented before on this place, the margarita's are good, the lobster plates looked great, but the grilled fish taco was less than stellar this time. A miniature piece of fish was nestled in a cabbage stuffed tortilla, hardly worth the 3.95 per taco. Roasted chile rellenos are decent.
2655 S. Coast Hwy. 101
Cardiff-by-the-Sea, CA 92007
We also hit Yu Me Ya Sake House, love this place. They had a specials list this last weekend: fabulous ika sansai (so good I ordered two to go) and whitefish with shiso. I didn't get to try the crab special, maybe next weekend. Yuka said on Tuesday, not sure if the last or next they will be serving their Winter menu including shabu shabu.
1246 N Highway 101
One last note, I hear the former Matsuoka space is going to open as Sushi Bar Blue Fin. It's going to be tough to beat Kaito. If anyone goes please post.
Campechana Ceviche at Karina's:
Karina's chile relleno and al pastor taco:
OK, I'm heading down to the Del Mar area this weekend. Dinners will be family affairs at Kitchen 1540 and Blanca, but looking for fun, tasty late breakfast or quick lunch ideas.
I like good, cheap taquerias. I was clued into Juanita's a couple of years ago and I like it a lot, though I have just begun sussing out the menu. I've liked the simple tacos -- carne asada, al pastor, and especially the carnitas, and when I saw people ordering the crispy tacos I tried one on a second visit and knew why. Their fish taco seemed to me like a cafeteria frozen fishstick, however, and the quesadilla was bland. I loved the vibe of the lines and the servers and the patrons -- my dad and his wife less so.
So I'm thinking of trying La Especial del Norte, but I'm worried because some current posts seem to indicate a downhill alert. Also, I'm not thinking soup will do it in this weather. So maybe Bety's? A bit out of the way -- I'll be mostly between the coast and the 5, and they are east of El Camino Real -- but what specific dish there? I'm thinking maybe my best bet this trip might be Karina's -- what tastes better in hot weather than ceviche?
Any recommendations for good diners, coffeehouses, or other brunches this Saturday or Sunday morn that a party of six can get into without a reservation far in advance or a long wait? We will be in the Solana Beach/Del Mar area near the shore, at the Via de la Valle exit from the freeway.
Thanks to enora (sp?) and her Encinitas posts, we finally made it to Bety's and loved it! Chef-husband has good friends from Mexico City and was thrilled to find tinga on the menu. I, the tex-mex lover, found the cheese enchilada with green sauce the best enchilada I've had in San Diego. The burnt chili salsa was excellent. My fish taco was made with fresh tilapia. The beer was cold, and the service (outside in a very pleasant patio) was prompt and attentive. When we thanked Bety herself as we were leaving, she shared photos of dishes she had eaten on a recent vacation in Teloloapan Mexico. We liked it much better than Juanitas-- or really any other taco place (aside from those in Barrio Logan) we've been to. Thanks to all you who posted on Bety's. Not sure how often we'll get there-- today we were returning from the Oside Farmer's Market to get bee pollen and honey-- but it will be our Encintas lunch spot for sure.
I was really happy when I found that ceviche. You will notice in the multitudes of "Mexican" places around here (North County), Karina's ceviche and campechana can't be beat! Try to hit "Jorge's" for some to-go one day, I like the relleno's and supposedly they have great soups. Let us know if you do!
Sorry to hear that Matsuoka has gone. I only got to go once because I now live in LA.
Glad to hear you gave Karina's a shot. After I had written my rec to KR a while ago, I started thinking that they didn't technically have al pastor, but instead adobado, but I digress. I do like Bety's as well, but go for different things. Have you tried El Nopalito on Santa Fe? I think that the restaurant is still open though I know that the market burned down a while back. I loved their food.
PDG, Karina's was great, will satisfy any ceviche cravings from now on. El Nopalito, isn't this pretty much carnitas only? Never been. Matsuoka closed at the end of spring. Haji told me the rent was very high and we all know he didn't have enough customers. His food was great and who knows, he may open again somewhere. Need to see what he has been up to this summer other than surfing!
kare raisu, forgot the camera for Bety's, so no pics, maybe tonight! You cannot see the tortillas being made, this is a small place with a few tables, menu is large.
Karina's, Bety's, or Juanita's... I have only had ceviche at Karina's and it is the best. Bety's tacos and now quesadillas are superior to Juanita's.
Service: Counter service
Food: ceviche was excellent
Ambiance: taco shop style like Juanita's, some outdoor seating
Tortillas: Looked good on the al pastor
Salsa: squeeze bottle red. Good.
*D.F. guest commented on the horchata as being pretty tasty here.
Service: Counter service
Food: chile relleno and fish taco are my choices here
Ambiance: taco shop style, few more tables than Karina's, some outdoor seating
Tortillas: not home made as far as i could tell
Salsa: squeeze bottle red and green. Good.
*Tamarindo drink was pretty sweet.
Service: Table service, not sure how it goes if it's busy!
Food: quesadillas with hongos and epazote
Ambiance: taco shop style like Juanita's
Tortillas: Wow! or maybe I'm just crazy or tortilla deprived.
Salsa: two red salsa's, one roasted style, nothing hot.
Free Chips at the table: good, not sysco brand
*Beer is served here. Tamarindo was better than Juanita’s.
DF friends enjoyed Karina's mariscos and Bety's quesadillas.
They also commented on the torta at Bety's would have been great, except for the bread. Overall they had a great time, we agreed that Chilango's serves up the best DF style food.
I enjoy roasted chile relleno's more now. The pepper has always been fresh and the flavor shines without the batter encasing it. And I have to add it's the healthier option. As far as other recs, if you haven't been to El Callejon on Encinitas, you should give it a try, they have good tamales (Oaxacan stlye), cebollitas cambray, rajas con crema, not to mention a rather huge selection of Tequila’s. Check out there menu: http://www.el-callejon.com/Encinitas_...
Fantastic Report Pablo!
I hope I don't burden you with this barrage of questions:
Do you have any pictures of the oblong tortillas (can you watch them being made)?
Between Karina's, Bety's, and Juanitas which is your favorite?
How would you rate each in terms of service, food, ambiance (taco shops I know but still--'character,' maybe better) and tortillas?
Any outstanding salsas?
Do any of these places have other very unique offerings such as the roasted-only rellenos and the use of epazote?
What were your friends from DF opinions/reactions to the dishes? Even a comparison to DF?
Is a roasted-only chile relleno pretty rare? Those I have had have almost always been roasted and fried? Has your favorite changed?
Do you have any other leads on chow-worthy mexican in this area? (theres a restaurant on carlsbad village drive called restaurante familiar - i think - that advertises mole negro).
Thanks for taking the time to post!
kare raisu, had an hongos and epazote quesadilla to go last night. Here's a pic.
Fish tacos here:
BTW, Bety's is next to one of the best sushi bars around: Kaito
Be sure to check out Morita-sans great work there!