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Please help! - Taco tour of America's FInest City and beyond

Visiting my hometown for a week of hunting tacos and beaching. My working plan is:
- A bike tour of Imperial Beach and Chula Vista, with possible stops at Stardust Donuts, Mariscos Isaac truck, Restaurant Fernandez for birria, Mariscos El Pescador and Tortas El Gallito in the Toys R us lot, Taqueria El Poblano for carne asada, Tacos El Gordo for al pastor, and maybe El Ranchero for a cool raspado. Hmmm, maybe two days to do this.
- Sunday lunch with the family at Romesco’s in Bonita for tapas and maybe chile en nogada because es tiempo de grananda y el Grito: Que Viva Mexico!
-- Take the bus from Tijuana to Popotla for the seafood market on the beach, then stay the night in Ensenada to hit La Guerrerense, Mariscos El Pizon for sea urchin, Ultramarino for beers, and a get a bunch of fish tacos. Wander TJ on the way back.
-- Tour Logan Heights to try Tamales Chiapanecos, El Compita for borrego and gorditas, and Northgate Market for birria de chivo and aguas frescas. Maybe make a return La Fachada and El Paisa comparison.
-- In my old Clairemont/Ridgemont stomping grounds, mourn the demise of Cocteleria La Playita, stop by Super Sergios and Yogurt World on Convoy, and maybe grab a seared tuna torta with avocado at El Pescador in La Jolla to eat down by Romney’s house on the beach.

Much of this is new to me, but sounds killer. Anything new or noteworthy I should try? Ideas are much appreciated.

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  1. The only thing you missed is El Chaco in CV. The rest is a solid program if a bit ambitious.

    2 Replies
    1. You, sir, are a Gentleman and a Scholar!

      Like hitting the Seven Summits in two days. I'll alert Krakauer.

      Just hope you have enough grit and pluck to pour the salsa verde out of the little cup with the hallucinations and all.

      I might suggest, though I can't tell if you may have left it out intentionally given your studies of the Olde Tomes, Aqui es Texcoco for lamb. Grand garlicky gamey goodness. And only head pieces if you want. You can ask for a jawbone with teeth for a souvenir.

      Shine on, you crazy diamond.

      1 Reply
      1. re: SaltyRaisins

        'Shine on, you crazy diamond'.
        Love that Salty!

        I would add Las Cuatro Milpas to the mix..

        Streetgourmetla on Twitter is da man to follow on great Mex eats.


          1. re: phee


            With a list like that, we are but peanut gallery.

            1. re: Fake Name

              Oh, but we are wise peanuts. Even if the "wise" applies only to a certain portion of the anatomy.

            2. re: phee

              Phee is on to something. A lot of these ideas came from this board, but happy to hear about any newly unerathed gems.

          2. Chiapaneco has been closed for years. The fabulous matron/owner passed and her boys just didn't have the heart to carry on.

            Don't bother with La Fachada. Once the city forced the closure of the trailer out front the tacos and atmosphere went to hell. Compita continues to please and also make a pretty creditable Birria de Chivo.

            If you're up for Birria in Ensenada, give Birrieria La Guadalajara on Calle Macheros between Calles Primera and Segunda.

            If you get the urge for some superb Pozole, try Pozoleria Dona Maria in Chula Vista on Broadway down towards Main St.. It's a Guerrero-style pozole blanco that is well worth the effort.

            Try the Tortas Ahogadas at the stand in the Toys R Us parking lot. A good example of the genre. Also in the same parking lot a really good Mariscos truck (forget the name, it's enough to know where it is).

            And, as long as you're in Mex, make the obligatory stop at Tacos El Yaqui in Rosarito Beach. It's moved across the street directly to the north. Don't get sucked into the fakey El Yaqui in the old location.

            Bueno Suerte

            2 Replies
            1. re: deckape

              The toys r us truck is mariscos pescador.

              1. re: deckape

                Muchas bendiciones, Deckape. E Gallito is the ahogada truck at Toys R Us. Sounds like a joyous parking lot. Tastiness abounds.

              2. I would add the Calbi Taco Truck and Mama Testa's.

                1. Heatwave in SD! Trip report highlights:
                  -- Chula Vista: Carnitas Michoacan -- seriously excellent carnitas to break the shabbos, tehn tasty adobada at Tacos El Gordo. South Bay taco heaven not once but twice
                  -- Strawberry agua fresca at Tacos el Paisa
                  -- The Fishery, PB, local yellowtail and avocado on sourdough, seabass ceviche and Ballast Point Sculpin IPA.
                  -- Romescos's for ahi tostada and chiles en nogada, the sauce on the latter was sublime...
                  --Ahi and avocado torta and the laidback accents at El Pescador, La Jolla, como siempre...
                  -- Cheap fish tacos at Bahia don Bravo with a view of the sea
                  -- Mackeral in miso broth and sea urchin and scallop carpaccio at Okun Wan Dining, then plain tart yogurt with coconut jelly at Yogurt World on Convoy
                  -- Helms Brewing in a Kearny Mesa industrial park, especially the summer Pier Bier, and carne asada burrito at Super Sergios (nights on Convoy)
                  -- Mary's Donuts in Santee for the super twist, apple fritter, raised glazed and general atmosphere
                  -- Roadtrip to Popota, BC, Mex, for freshly caught crab fried in lard, local oysters, tuna belly ceviche and excellent bodysurfing, prepared by Los Compadres (propietario: Oscar, de Sinaloa)

                  Popotla was only 40 minutes from the border crossing via an ABC bus to Rosarito and then a colectivo a few km south. The ultimate cheap date.

                  Tasty days in America's Finest. Til the next time...

                  6 Replies
                      1. re: guide boy

                        Impressive. Sounds like you had a great time and great eats.

                        1. re: guide boy

                          Very great work, guide boy. So many of us are impressed.

                          1. re: guide boy

                            Thank you for the great report. You have discerning taste and the heart of an adventurer - a true chowhound!

                            Some questions and a suggestion for your next visit.

                            Did the colectivo to Popotla just drop you off on the highway or did it take you down the road to the village?

                            Can you give costs or estimates of costs for the food you ordered in Popotla - the fried crab, the raw tuna belly, oysters, etc?

                            I have heard that there is an orthodox Jewish temple in Tijuana and that they serve some delicious vegetarian meals, but I don't know any details. I am sure that any taxi driver in the city would know how to find it.

                            1. re: Gypsy Jan

                              Any green and white taxi or minibus heading south from Rosarito on the free road will drop you to the cross road right after Fox/Baja Film Studios, for about 15 pesos. From there it is about a quarter mile walk down the dirt road to the restaurants (which I skipped) and the market and shacks on the beach. A private txi would drive you I'm sure.

                              A whole large crab cost 50 pesos from the fishermen who caught it. Los Compadres charged me 50 more to fry it, and 40 to turn my tuna into an excellent ceviche. Fresh oysters were 10-20 pesos each. All this, plus three ice-cold beers and a spicy shrimp tamale, cost $20.