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Oct 23, 2006 09:36 PM

La Tapatia, Oceano--revisited

La Tapatia market's deli counter was my favorite lunch spot when I worked at a nursery nearby. Fast, delicious and muy autentico.

Haven't worked nearbyin many years, nor had a reason to travel that section of Hiway 1 regularly; always in a hurry to get somewhere as I drive by.

This past weekend was Open Studio Tour weekend for South County. I planned a leisurely day stopping at new and old favorite artists' studios. The weather was balmy and beautiful.

After stopping at one studio on Los Berros Rd, I wound down to Valley Rd and turned left to join Hiway 1 just south of Oceano. Past Hyashi's veggie stand where the pumpkins are out in full force, I drove to the corner of Beach (Railroad) and 17th streets, just kitty corner from the packing sheds where the railroad tracks parralel 1.

Not much has changed at the deli, except now there are ladies behind the counter. I checked out the menu and noted they still have their daily specials-Friday is 79 cent tacos! Every day there is something cheap for a working person's lunch! I opted for a carnitas and a lengua taco. While mine were being made, a lady started hand patting corn tortillas and grilling them quickly, slicing them open while steaming hot. I asked how they were used, and she said for gorditos--stuffed with choice of meat, lettuce, onions, salsa etc. Next time. They were fat and fresh!

There are plenty of beer and soft drink selections, and there was some good flan in a case up by the checkout coiunter so I grabbed one on my way out. Just ourtide the market proper, in a sort of vestibule, there is a fellow at a taco-only counter with a glistening rod of pastor and the sign says he also has cabesa. Must try that next time. He also had freshly made churrros.

For 'dessert', I drove a short distance to the intersection of 13th and Farroll Rd in Grover to Panaderia Carmelita #2 for a slice of their heavenly Tres Leches cake. They also make some of the tastiest and freshest pan dulce around. The guys at work really like it when I bring some in to share. They tell me they are the best; I trust their judgement.

All in all a lovely day, and I made it through to dinner with that great lunch from La Tapatia. I highly rec a stop there--if you're traveling though on 101, take the Grand Ave exit in Arroyo Grande and head seaward along Grand to the Chevron station at 13th. Turn left, go to the 6th stop sign at Hiway 1, turn left to Beach and La Tapatia, just past the Melodrama. Que sabrosa!

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  1. La Tapatia ounds like a place to try soon.
    Address is 1909 Front St. (Hwy 1) in Oceano.
    We ride that way often and look for special places.
    May try the panaderia tomorrow.

    1. I used to work across the street from La Tapatia Market (# 2) that is on 646 13th St, Oceano. It is run by the same people as the market on Highway 1.

      I ate lunch at least twice a week for more than a year from that market.

      Their Monday and Wednesday special of $2.50 burritos make an amazing and always filling lunch. The carne asada was my favorite, but the chicken came as a close second. From time to time they carelessly leave small bones in the chicken... so be careful. Also, they don't put cheese in it unless you ask.

      99 cent taco Tuesday and Thursdays are great also. The pastor (pork) tacos were always my favorite. 3 tacos were always more than enough for a good lunch. I adore the radish and lemon garnishes they put on the tacos. mmmm.

      Fridays they have their Tortas for cheep, but I never found them to be anything special.

      I don't believe you can find more authentic Mexican food in the 5 cities. (I now work in the Village of Arroyo Grande and can't bring myself to eat at El Taco Loco, because it is over priced and not as authentic compared to La Tapatia. )

      1 Reply
      1. re: chickendud

        in my 'old days' at La Tapatia, they made killer 'coktels' either seafood or shrimp. I didn't see anything at the bar, but everything was under stainless covers, so you can't see what's in the pans. Do you know if they still do them?

        Sure don't blame you about Taco Loco. It isn't very good IMO either. Tourists seem to keep it busy, that and not many places to eat (as you know) in the village, though the Thai place isn't bad. If you ever get to Santa Maria, there is a tamale shop at Blosser and Betteravia; they grind their own corn and make their own masa. They are very good. Also Carniceria Su Mesa at Blosser and Main next to Farm Supply--good Deli-Mex counter. good carnitas and cabeza.

        Nice to hear another local voice.