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SD visit - best tacos all kinds?

sasha1 Dec 22, 2009 04:31 PM

Hi all. Family and I will be visiting family in Escondido in a few days for the new year. I wanted to get an updated report on the best place for tacos - particularly fish/seafood, carnitas, pastor, and carne asada.

Is mariscos german still the tops for seafood? If so, which location is closest to north county, and that hasn't suffered a decline in quality (I read this happened to some of the non-truck locations).

Tacos El Paisa for rest? Or somewhere else?

What about Super Cocina? Do they do tacos well, or is there specialty something else? I've read it is homestyle cooking with a big menu and recipes from around Mexico, but don't have my finger on the pulse of their top sellers.

To the extent it is helpful, we used to live in LA, westside, and our favorite in and out easy taco joint was taqueria sanchez.


  1. s
    sasha1 Jan 7, 2010 02:55 PM

    Report -
    Thanks to all of you who shared your tips with me. We couldn't try nearly all that we wanted, given our desire to hang out with family and the various different needs of everyone - we had among us ages 2 wks through 92 years.

    Mariscos German was great. It was our first foray intro truck-dom, and will give us the confidence to keep on truckin. Sorry for the pun - couldn't resist! The marlin was awesome - almost meaty. The governador was tasty as was the oil and garlic cayo (scallop). We also had a fish taco that was, well, a fish taco.

    Less relevant but to keep the report together, we also forayed to pacific beach for sushi ota, which was quite good. Their scallops were fresh and silky, and the spicy yellowtail was divine. Saba was great, not too strong, with a nice slice of ginger on top. Spicy tuna was, I guess, as "pure" as it gets. No gloppy mayo.

    Other places worth an honorable (or more) mention. Bread & Cie, perennial favorite of ours in Hillcrest. Love their variety. The garlic and goat cheese bread was decimated in about 2 hours. The ficelle is a long lovely breadstick. It is so thin you could eat it yourself (although you probably shouldn't).

    Nori Sushi (Escondido, Major Market plaza) hit the spot and was close to "home." I enjoyed their special calamari/asparagus rolls. Have not seen this place mentioned on the boards.

    Point Loma Seafood - great as usual. Scallop sandwich a must. But those gulls are aggressive! Sensing our momentary attention deficit, they quickly swooped down on us, making one of our sandwiches open-faced.

    Finally, Continent European Deli in a little plaza near UTC. Owned by a friend of my parents, they have pretty tasty Russian deli salads, cured meats, cheeses, frozen vareniki, candy, and tinned food that even my and my sister's American husbands seem to enjoy. For the braver souls out there, farshmak (phonetic) is a chunky spread containing chopped herring, onions, apples, eggs, and oil. It's great on pumpernickel or rye for brunch!

    2 Replies
    1. re: sasha1
      stevewag23 Jan 7, 2010 04:48 PM

      "But those gulls are aggressive! Sensing our momentary attention deficit, they quickly swooped down on us, making one of our sandwiches open-faced."

      Wow. I have always thought that the seagulls were really mellow there. Maybe you ran into an Alpha.

      Heaviest seagulls in diego in my opinion: La Jolla.

      1. re: stevewag23
        sasha1 Jan 8, 2010 07:50 AM

        Oh yeah - they were aggressive. Dad left a little boy (5 or so) at the next table to go get the order. All they had were drinks and little paper cups of ketchup. The gulls stole the ketchup. Pretty shocking.

    2. Beach Chick Dec 28, 2009 09:12 AM

      In Escondido, there is a great authentic Mexican restaurant that I think you will enjoy...Hacienda de Vega..
      Lots of great places in Escondido for tacos..I've had good ones at Lourdes along with their chicken soup.


      1. y6y6y6 Dec 27, 2009 07:12 PM

        I would suggest Rudy's Tacos in Solana Beach. Ignore the gringo items on the menu and go for the street tacos. The meat is outstanding here. I think they are as good as the other places mentioned, and it's actually North county. The cabeza here is my favorite in SD.


        Rudy's Taco Shop
        524 Stevens Ave, Solana Beach, CA 92075

        1. s
          sasha1 Dec 23, 2009 09:15 PM

          Who would you all recommend for the best al pastor?

          2 Replies
          1. re: sasha1
            beantowntitletown Dec 23, 2009 10:22 PM

            Best al pastor I've had is at Tacos El Gordo. They're pretty far from Escondido or UTC, in Temecula, National City & Chula Vista. There are also strong feelings favoring El Paisa on this board, but I haven't tried them.

            1. re: sasha1
              Josh Dec 24, 2009 09:08 AM

              El Paisa in Logan Heights is tops, IMO. Incredible. Mama Testa makes a very good one too.

            2. s
              sasha1 Dec 23, 2009 02:27 PM

              Thanks all - we will do some more research on these places when we get on the ground. I'm up for more suggestions too - the more the merrier. We're not really limited to Escondido - just where we'll be staying. We have more family in the UTC area, and my parents are often dragging us to the beach towns as well.

              3 Replies
              1. re: sasha1
                dustchick Dec 23, 2009 04:18 PM

                As someone who used to live in the Westside and still visits there often, I would recommend Super Cocina as an experience you would *not* have had there. As mentioned above, they will make tacos/burritos out of their guisados, but the way to go really is to get the two-item plate with tortillas. Truly excellent food.

                Enjoy your visit!

                1. re: dustchick
                  sasha1 Dec 23, 2009 09:11 PM

                  Thanks everyone. I'll see how many Mexican fast food meals we can squeeze into a 1 week period while visiting with family who are cooking for us and a new newborn that all the relatives are coming to town to see :) We may have to resort to some subterfuge.

                2. re: sasha1
                  RB Hound Dec 23, 2009 10:59 PM

                  I don't think anything taco in the UTC area merits a stop.

                3. Josh Dec 23, 2009 08:54 AM

                  El Galleon in Escondio does very tasty Mexican seafood. Escondido has a lot of great Mexican food - there's no reason for you to drive 45 minutes for tacos.

                  1. Josh Dec 23, 2009 08:51 AM

                    If you're in Escondido, definitely make a trip to Cocina de Maria on Mission Blvd. That place is great. Their carne asada is very good.

                    1. SaltyRaisins Dec 23, 2009 08:17 AM

                      You might like La Fachada for carne asada- cooked over real charcoal and served with self-service pinto beans, roasted jalapeños and scallions. Their truck is parked in the lot of their restaurant. Make sure to eat from the truck and not the restaurant.


                      1. d
                        DougOLis Dec 23, 2009 07:29 AM

                        I believe there is a Mariscos German truck in Clairemont now so that would probably be your closest to Escondido, but still not that close.

                        Tacos el Paisa is damned good for all other tacos and highly recommended, but once again not that close to Escondido. There are quite a few options up there in the Escondido/Fallbrook/Temecula area and several that I know kare_raisu has recommended but I haven't tried any of them. Search for some of his posts to get a better idea.

                        No tacos at Super Cocina (unless you make it yourself with the tortillas they give you), but that shouldn't slow you down.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: DougOLis
                          Josh Dec 23, 2009 08:52 AM

                          Super Cocina will make you a taco from anything they serve. Very good tacos, in fact.

                        2. d
                          daantaat Dec 22, 2009 07:27 PM

                          Mama Testa's for mashed potato tacos and beef taquitos floating in spicy beef broth. Mashed potato tacos sounded "wierd" to me until I had them. They're really, really good! The rest of their tacos are also good.

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: daantaat
                            sasha1 Dec 23, 2009 09:14 PM

                            We've had mashed potato taquitos at a great place here in WA - Centralia - called La Tarasca. I think their food is wonderful, but the potato taquitos (which came with a dark smoky chili sauce, cabbage, and crema) were a little too much starch on starch for me. Does Mama Testa's have any other winners?

                            1. re: sasha1
                              Josh Dec 24, 2009 09:07 AM

                              Their fish tacos are good. The miner tacos are also good. I really like the ones they call Tacomal - made with nopales and Oaxaca cheese. Their salsas are all first-rate, and they make a dozen different ones.

                              1. re: sasha1
                                DiningDiva Dec 24, 2009 01:45 PM

                                The hard shell mashed potato tacos at Mama Testa are incredible. It's true it's a lot of carbs but remarkably it's not terribly heavy. These are tacos, not taquitos, and you can get them as a soft taco or a taco duro, duro are the best and they come 2 to an order. MT also has what is probably one of the best salsa bars in town and you can pick and choose what to accent your tacos with.

                                Other good options are the Asi Yasado, which is a grilled chicken taco that is served with a raw tomatillo salsa. Tacos made with cochinita pibil are also very, very good and served with good pickled onions and black beans. The chochinita is house-made as is the chorizo and I'm pretty partial to their chorizo tacos. Tacos Mojados is also very good. It's a spicy broth with lengths of taquitos floating in it. The soup is accompanied by a plate of chopped onion, cilantro, limes and I think chopped chile serrano. If it's a cold day, this does hit the spot.

                                I would skip any of the tacos with carnitas or carne asada, they aren't the best thing MT does. I don't care for the fish tacos there either but clearly I'm in the minority since the MT fish taco beat Bobby Flay in a Throwdown. The fish tacos certainly aren't awful, but I think MT does a lot of other things better than the fish taco.

                                1. re: DiningDiva
                                  Josh Dec 24, 2009 01:49 PM

                                  I like the fish tacos there, but only if I don't expect fish tacos - if you follow me. They're pretty different in style than any other I've had, but I really like the blend of flavors.

                                  1. re: Josh
                                    DiningDiva Dec 24, 2009 01:57 PM

                                    Yep, I follow. I'm just not a huge fan of fish tacos as a genre.

                                    1. re: Josh
                                      MrKrispy Jan 7, 2010 03:11 PM

                                      That is a great way to describe it Josh, I was amazed at the complexity of the fish tacos - very different than any others I have had.

                                  2. re: sasha1
                                    daantaat Dec 24, 2009 03:04 PM

                                    Surprisingly, the mashed potato tacos in the hard shell were not too much starch on starch. I avoided them for some time b/c I thought it would be too much starch action but was pleasantly delighted when they weren't. Dining Diva knows her Mexican very well and I'd follow her recs.

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