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Aug 6, 2010 04:45 AM

Tijuana’s Tacos – Poetry in a Tortilla

Just returned from one of my most satisfying taco runs in recent memory. Tijuana’s Tacos, located in a Pomona strip mall, has just enriched my life with its tortilla-based poetic expressions. True to its name, Tijuana’s Tacos serves up some incredibly tasty tacos estilo Tijuana, right down to the guacamole and grilled onions and jalapenos.

When I drove up, there were more than a dozen people in a line out the door and all seats were taken, both inside and out. Once in line, I turned around to see that number grow to over 20 yet service remained brisk and orderly. The menu initially appeared huge, stretching the entire length above and behind the counter. However, closer inspection revealed many variations of tacos and burritos in English and Spanish along with huaraches, mulitas, sopes, quesadillas, nachos and drinks. Still, quite an array of offerings.

My order, all tacos for this first, inaugural encounter:

Al Pastor – right off the trompo! Exceptional flavor and texture including a mix of charred, crunchy end pieces, lean chews and soft, fatty bites to round things off. Some of the very best ever!

Chile – simply one of the best tacos I have ever had.

Chorizo – truly delectable, quite lean with very little of the typical oiliness. Vibrant yet mild flavor, well balanced. Seriously good. I would really love some scrambled with eggs later this morning.

“Loco” – an oversize (6-inch) taco rendition made with a combination of Al Pastor, Carne Asada and Chorizo. Whoaa … bomb! It doesn’t get much better than this, ‘Hounds. The Pastor and Chorizo were chopped and blended whereas the Asada was left as a bottom skirt, virtually intact. Poetry in a tortilla.

Tripas – I asked that they be cooked tender, with just a bit of crunch. Done to perfection, so well that I may opt for an all-tripas burrito next time (yeah, I know. Untraditional, cloying. So be it). When properly done, tripas are among my all time favorite offal. Can’t get enough.

Horchata – wonderfully refreshing! I could have drank a gallon of it.

The condiment bar is self-serve and constantly cleaned and replenished by the staff. Included are no less than four different delicious salsas, mixed onions, carrots and jalapenos, sliced limes and cucumbers. Best of all, a large pot of frijoles sat in a receptacle, compliments of Tijuana Tacos. Hey, these were not “just“ free beans. They were absolutely superb, likely cooked slow and low, with a rich flavor and thick gravy to accompany the bits of meat, sausage and peppers therein. These were “family” frijoles, free for the taking with the provided six-ounce cups and tops. I was given three cups with my order and lucked-out to be the first to serve out of a fresh, hot pot. Firme!

Will I return? Ha-ha! If they didn’t close at 2am, I might be on my way back there now.

(^_^) (^_^) (^_^)

Tijuana's Tacos
485 W Holt Ave, Pomona, CA 91768

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  1. My God, I've gone by Aunt Johnette's Tacos a million times without stopping, nowadays complaining that the new King Taco on Mountain isn't that wonderful but is, at least, open late. BTW, if you hit Tijuana's at an early hour, then, for dessert or coffee, you should go here and then there and then also .... Jeez, I've got to try this place.

    Holt Ave., huh?

    Handel's Homemade Ice Cream
    373 S Mountain Ave, Upland, CA 91786

    My Delight Cupcakery
    1520 N Mountain Ave, Ontario, CA 91762

    2 Replies
    1. re: hnsbmg

      ¿Auntie?! Ay, dios mio, su familia! Didn’t they teach you that family always comes first, hnsbmg? All this time, and so close… Oh well, I guess it’s never too late to learn. Glad to point you in the right direction … that’s 485 West H.O.L.T.

      Andele pues!


      p.s. I’ve been to both the Cupcakery (otherworldly delicious) and Handel’s (great, but I prefer Dr. Bob’s).

      1. re: degustateur

        "Handel’s (great, but I prefer Dr. Bob’s)."

        Try the Handel's Hurricane, especially with pieces of Heath Bar, and then see if you can type that sentence again!

        By the way, I hope everyone who has enjoyed the Cupcakery will eventually speak up. It killed me last year when another great small bakery -- Ap-petite in Pasadena -- went under because so few people seemed to notice it.

        Getting back to the original point, I will certainly try Tijuana's sometime soon.

    2. I am salivating at the prospect of a great taqueria reletively close to my new home. Mexican take out is everywhere in this neighborhood, but I am reluctant to try every place as most do not warrant a second try. But having both a Trompo and good Tripas is exciting, and with free beans is over the top! Thank you so much for the detailed post, please post all other finds in this area as we need some standouts around here. When I get to try Tijuana's I will post my thoughts.

      1. OK, tried it today. Literally less than 5 minutes from my house. Tried 3 tacos, pastor, chorizo, and tripas. $1.35ea. All good, tripas pretty chewy and sparse. Also got a "El Taco Pobre", 6" tortilla w/melted white cheese, refried beans, and grilled nopales. $1.49ea. When ordering, I saw the griddle half covered with cactus leaf strips, and I knew that I was in for a treat! ETP rocked my tastebuds, for me simple is sometimes sublime. Free frijoles were phenomenal, especially because I made a pot of frijoles de la olla last night, and mine were nowhere as flavorful or rich(of course mine don't have a combination of delectable carnes to elevate them to the heavens). This place is solid, a great taqueria for Pomona. Big thanks degustateur!
        Forgot to mention one of the best things! When I got home with my order, there was a foil packet with a quarter of a griddled onion, jalapeno, and more nopales, almost half a pound of grilled vegetables. Awesome!

        1 Reply
        1. re: DWB

          Yo, DWB!

          You certainly don’t waste any time. Glad that TT’s worked out for you overall. Sounds like the tripas were not quite to your satisfaction. I’ve experienced great inconsistency in their preparation, even at the same place. For my tastes, I get best results when I specify “tierno y crujiente” (teer-no ee cru-hen-teh) or “soft and crispy” with my order. The taquero nailed it for me, at least this first time. I hope that it wasn’t just my beginner’s luck. We’ll see. Also, the tripas tacos did have less meat than the others did.

          Thank you for taking my recommendation and reporting back so soon.

        2. This place is okay. I would much rather go to El Rey in Chino. Very authentic Michoacan style taqueria.

          2 Replies
          1. re: A5 KOBE

            So be it, A5! I do respect your opinion and will have to try El Rey soon. In fact, it’s closer to me than Tijuana’s. It’s about a mile past Joey’s BBQ, a place I’ve eaten at for over 25 years. I love their filet mignon, beef ribs, country sausage and chili. Have you tried them? If so, let me know your opinion. If not, then I think you should.

            1. re: degustateur

              Yes I have tried Joey's and although it is an institution in Chino, I find it very mediocre and somewhat pricey. I had the spare ribs and although meaty, pretty average. I have not tried their beef ribs though so I might need to do that. Thanks for the suggestion as I am an avid lover of beef ribs.

              I did find Tijuana tacos better than Omana's though. Omana's while very cheap, is not that great and do not give you cilantro and onions on your tacos. Tijuana tacos on the otherhand did, yet I find that every salsa they provided at the salsa bar overbearingly sour. I did find the beans very good though, with pieces of hot dog and bacon which gave them great flavor. Definitely a place to eat when in the area but I would much rather head to El Rey, especially for the tripas, cabeza, asada and pastor. El Rey also provides free beans and nopales and the salsas are much better. The tortilla chips are also very good, seasoned with lime salt.

          2. Glad to see some more IE reporting. Occasionally I have 'business' in Pomona, and a couple of taquerias also on W Holt have been good value for me.
            - Omana's (next to the Catholic church) is supposedly known for their asada but I liked the carnitas better.
            - Albertos Taco Shop (1382 W Holt, in a former DW) has superior cabeza, kinda like a melt-in-your-mouth beef stew meets brisket. Their mini-taco size tortillas are yellow and very corn tasting - wonder where they get them.

            There's also a Juan Pollo and Senor Baja downtown if they float your boat.

            Looking forward to trying Tijuana's!

            1050 W Holt Ave, Pomona, CA 91768

            Albertos Taco Shop
            1382 W Holt Ave, Pomona, CA 91768

            1 Reply
            1. re: DiveFan

              Omana’s is indeed awesome. I’ve enjoyed all of their tacos, especially the tripas and cabeza. Two sleepers are their potato and their fish tacos. Both are extremely tasty! I really appreciate they way they pack your tacos to go; first in wax paper then again in foil labeled by type. They also make some pretty mean nachos, as does Alberto’s.

              1050 W Holt Ave, Pomona, CA 91768