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Bull Taco questions (Encinitas)

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mayache Dec 5, 2009 04:44 PM

I am planning to check out the gourmet tacos at Bull Taco in Encinitas in a couple weeks, looking for some tips from people who have been there.

-Is it feasible to do this without camping at San Elijo Beach?
-Where is the best place to park assuming we aren't camping and how do I get to the restaurant from there?
-Is there seating or do you have to sit somewhere in the park?
-What about alcohol? I know they don't sell it, but is it feasible to bring your own (wine or beer)? Ideally we'd like to grab some tacos, get some beer or wine, and catch the sunset.

Thanks!

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  1. SDGourmand RE: mayache Dec 6, 2009 08:40 AM

    you don't need a camp site.

    the best place to park is on the street or in the lot before the camp ground it's a little bit north. About a 5 minute walk to bull taco.

    There is seating out side on the patio which is all they have a few picnic tables looking at the ocean.

    They sell beer in the camping store. I never saw anyone drinking but that doesn't mean you can't.

    Hope this helps

    6 Replies
    1. re: SDGourmand
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      mayache RE: SDGourmand Dec 7, 2009 08:20 PM

      Thanks....really looking forward to this.

      1. re: mayache
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        jturtle RE: mayache Dec 7, 2009 08:31 PM

        I had a halibut taco there that was the best fish taco I have had. I also had the duck taco that was tasty. It is a great little spot!

        1. re: mayache
          cgfan RE: mayache Jan 5, 2010 02:38 PM

          Actually the best parking, if there's space available, is on the dirt strip just on Hwy 101 directly across the street from the vehicular (camper's) entrance to the State Park. The spaces start a bit north of Chesterfield on the south end, and ends at the north end just across the Hwy. from where the main entrance to the park is.

          Try to park as far north as you can along this strip of dirt before it runs out and you'll be fine, just a hop across Hwy 101 and you'll practically run into Bull Taco. And it's free!

          The official day-use lot north of the park will place you much further north of Bull Taco, and usually the spots nearest the park on the south end of the lot will have already been taken... (not that the extra walk will kill you!)

          1. re: cgfan
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            littlestevie RE: cgfan Jan 5, 2010 03:07 PM

            That street is San Elijo Ave.

            1. re: littlestevie
              cgfan RE: littlestevie Jan 5, 2010 03:16 PM

              No, I was referring to Hwy 101, and more specifically the dirt parking along Hwy. 101 on its Northbound side. But I guess for some San Elijo Ave. is an option, though it will add the dubious crossing of the railroad right-of-way unless one walks down to Chesterfield Ave., which would place one far south of Bull Taco.

              1. re: cgfan
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                littlestevie RE: cgfan Jan 6, 2010 07:56 AM

                As a person who spent lots of hours jogging along the 101 through SB and Encinitas, I think it would be safer for people to cross 101 at the light on Chesterfield than try to cross 101 where the cars can be moving pretty fast. Plus as an added bonus you get to see the world famous or infamous cardiff surfer dude statue!

      2. m
        mayache RE: mayache Jan 5, 2010 02:23 PM

        I called them yesterday and apparently you can't consume alcohol there (beer sold in camping store is only for consumption off premises). I did find a post by Beach Chick recommending to sneak in a bottle. Anyone done this (and lived to tell the tale ;-) )? How strictly is the no-alcohol policy enforced?

        2 Replies
        1. re: mayache
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          mikec RE: mayache Jan 5, 2010 02:38 PM

          Since the park is staffed mostly by Camp Hosts, volunteers and service personnel (IIRC, there aren't any full-time Park Rangers around due to budget cutbacks), I couldn't imagine an alcohol ban being rigorously enforced. As long as you're discreet, I doubt it would be a problem.

          1. re: mayache
            Beach Chick RE: mayache Jan 6, 2010 10:12 AM

            Did I recommend sneaking in booze into a no-alcohol policy enforced area...silly me.

          2. kare_raisu RE: mayache Feb 7, 2010 10:21 PM

            I really like the concept here and though I thought it was good, it could be better. The yellow cheese is a little irritating but considering the local demographic - I can understand it.

            > They know how to griddle a tortilla properly.
            > Avoid the abalone - its chopped to almost nothing and taste mainly of grill char.
            > Avoid the LBC - Lobster Bacon Chorizo. It tastes just like chorizo
            > Make sure to get the Duck and shrimp curry - both were excellent tacos
            > Great view

            3 Replies
            1. re: kare_raisu
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              mayache RE: kare_raisu Feb 8, 2010 09:52 AM

              Ah, I forgot to do the follow-up post! Anyway we went and it was a fantastic experience. I definitely agree on the cheese but other than that the food was very impressive. Also the service (for once in San Diego)! The guys who work there are friendly, helpful, and generous -- since it was the end of the day they gave us more than we ordered at no extra charge.

              We had the foie gras, duck confit, and shrimp curry (I didn't have the shrimp bc I don't eat shellfish, but my gf definitely enjoyed it). Funny that the latter two were the ones you recommended. Now, my French family would shudder at the thought of putting foie or duck confit in a taco, but man were those delicious! The foie especially was impressively flavorful. We also had an ahi poke for an appetizer (not taco, just a plate of it) which was quite tasty. Definitely surprising to find all this in a North County campground. We took our tacos over to the picnic tables (brought a tablecloth) and watched the sunset. Also may or may not have drank an illicit bottle of champagne ;-).

              It was actually my gf's and my anniversary of our first date and it made a really great celebration. Also I am amused at the thought of her telling her girlfriends I took her to tacos for our anniversary.

              1. re: mayache
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                encinitaseater RE: mayache Feb 11, 2010 07:29 PM

                On the parking issue, in addition to the on the street and highway 101 spots you can grab if they are open, I've pulled up to the guard shack, told them I'm going to BT, and they gave me a 25-minute guest pass. I parked in the little lot right there and walked over to BT. Not a bad way to do it either, especially if you're in a hurry (which I was) but I do like the walk along the path so it's good either way!

                1. re: mayache
                  Beach Chick RE: mayache Feb 11, 2010 07:55 PM

                  'Also may or may not have drank an illicit bottle of champagne ;-).'

                  love that..

              2. honkman RE: mayache May 5, 2010 05:27 PM

                Went again to Bull Taco this weekend and very disappointed. Duck confit taco were decent but nothing special (the duck confit is not really high quality and very small amount for the price), lobster bacon chorizo taco was mediocre with again not much lobster for the price, osterich taco was OK - all three tacos had store bought tortillas which apparently are used directly out of the bag (cold and not really put on the griddle) and the yellow cheese is lousy.
                The duck torta might be the worst and most overpriced torta we ever had with again a very small amount of duck confit and sauce consistent of tons of ketchup and mustard.
                Very disappointing visit - there are many better (and reasonable priced) options for a nice snack. Without the great view and the novelty of the ingredients for tacos (which lasts for the first visit) this is a very overrated place. You can get many of their ingredients at Tip Top Meat (where they also get a lof of heir meats etc.) and can without much work get much better tacos at home for a fraction of the costs.

                12 Replies
                1. re: honkman
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                  smile81 RE: honkman May 5, 2010 05:50 PM

                  we had our first taste of bull taco last weekend and were underwhelmed. unfortunately didn't read all the reviews first, so we got the abalone, chorizo/lobster/bacon, and king crab tacos. the first two had NO dicernable meat of any kind, and the crab taco was amazing
                  will return with out of town guests just for the SoCal surfer vibe and view, but probably not on our own

                  1. re: smile81
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                    pantani RE: smile81 May 6, 2010 03:49 PM

                    I HATE yellow cheez.
                    Real tacos have Queso Cotija

                    1. re: pantani
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                      SeanT RE: pantani May 11, 2010 01:19 PM

                      I love yellow cheese!!! In case you folks have not noticed, this is NOT a mexican kitchen! THis is not a regular taco stand. If you want that go to one of the 5000 "bertos".
                      Bull Taco rocks and is a refreshing change of pace to the bertos. Feel free to blast me as I would not be doing my job otherwise.

                      I had the second best fish taco in my life at Bull. It was fresh grilled yellow tail and was chocked full o flavor. The only thing that would have made it better is to fry that tortilla and make it crispy.

                      I could care less that a "traditional" baja style taco is on a pliable corn tortilla and has flavorless mexican cheese. Give me a fried crispy shell and chedda and I'll do back flips, not well and I may hurt myself.

                      I am super stoked about Bull Tacos soon to open location up here in O side. I will be a regular and will split time with Los Tacos(al pastor mas fina).

                      P.S. How do you like your nachos? Limp or crispy? nuff said

                      1. re: SeanT
                        honkman RE: SeanT May 11, 2010 01:58 PM

                        It's not about if it is authentic mexican or not. The quality of the food at our last visit was simply very disppointing especially for the quite high price qou are paying.

                        1. re: honkman
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                          SeanT RE: honkman May 11, 2010 07:04 PM

                          granted the lobster chorizo is a five spot but a duck taco for two fitty is not too bad. As to the quality, you said most of their meat is from tip top, doesn't get much better.

                          My experience with Bull Taco has been very good. Is there room for improvement? Certainly yes, but it is a taco stand at a campground and I am sure there are some limitations with the location.

                          1. re: SeanT
                            SDGourmand RE: SeanT May 11, 2010 07:56 PM

                            Yeah I would say the closet sized kitchen with no storage or prep room are some of the limitations. For what they put out of that spot is pretty damn good.

                            1. re: SeanT
                              honkman RE: SeanT May 11, 2010 10:36 PM

                              The duck taco was $5 and way overpriced and Tip Top meats is not bad for meat but is very far from "doesn't get better".
                              I find it interesting that people complain about Barrio Star having three tacos for $14 when the meat is organic etc (and on a completely different quality level than meat from Tip Top Meats) but at the same time find excuses why it is OK to pay $22 for mediocre three tacos and one torta just because it is on a campground.
                              Bull Taco is mediocre for the low quality and price.

                              1. re: honkman
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                                SeanT RE: honkman May 14, 2010 12:53 PM

                                If you are going to quote me quote me correctly. in reference to Tip Top i said "doesn't get much better" quite a difference from "doesn't get better". Tip top has great meat but obviously not the best in all the land. Are you acquainted with any other local dry aged meat?

                                The duck taco is $2.50 if you think that is too much for duck then...

                                1. re: SeanT
                                  honkman RE: SeanT May 14, 2010 01:12 PM

                                  Just looked at their webpage and the webpage says $2.50 but we paid definitely $5.00 for the duck taco. $2.50 for that duck taco would have been OK (even though as with the duck torta ($9.00 for that was a joke) they were very skimpy with the amount of duck) but either the prices on the webpages are old or we paid too much for them.
                                  Sorry, for leaving out the word "much" but I think it is a good butcher but nothing outstanding based on some of the lamb or veal I bought there. I don't define the quality of a butcher only on their dry-aged beef which you can also get a WF, Bristol Farms or Cowboy Star

                    2. re: honkman
                      DiningDiva RE: honkman May 8, 2010 05:21 PM

                      Honkman, gotta agree with you...disappointing and underwhelming. After all the praise on the board here, I was expecting better than I got.

                      Stopped by today with a friend. We had 4 carne asada tacos. That may not be the best thing they do, but it's always a good test of a Mexican kitchen. Not bad, but not great. Tortilla stiff, meat over marinated in something with a very, very prounounced cumin flavor. Salsa that came with tacos was watery and once again overly redolent of cumin. Cumin, while used in Mexican cooking, is not usually a primary player

                      They were slammed and the kitchen was clearly, as they say, in the weeds. Took over 30 mintues to get 4 street tacos. As I was waiting for our order I could watch the kitchen through the windows, very disorganized and clearly struggling.

                      On the other hand, we managed to snag a 2-top right next to the fence overlooking the beach and ocean. Multi-million dollar view with multi-million dollar weather today, hard to beat, even if the tacos were only so-so.

                      1. re: DiningDiva
                        SDGourmand RE: DiningDiva May 14, 2010 05:29 PM

                        I think the true test for Bull Taco is going to be the Oceanside location. They will finally have a normal size kitchen and proper space to work. If they can't pull it together there I don't know what to say.

                        1. re: SDGourmand
                          DiningDiva RE: SDGourmand May 14, 2010 10:55 PM

                          It may help but if they don't get themselves better organized, no amount of space will do the trick. A big (or bigger in this case) kitchen doesn't necessarily insure success.

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