If you know me then you will know I am a sucker for a good Taco maybe not so much Tequila and it normally involves waking up with the shakes and unable to keep any food down for a good few hours !
During a trip to San Diego after much research I decided to go on search to the Land O Taco mostly commonly known as Tijuana. Located a mere 30 minutes away by bus ! San Diego Scenic Tours - was recommended to me by the hotel I was staying at. On entering the site my first reaction was holy hell this website is something from the 70's and then the best part was calling to book the tour, which took a short 20 (minutes). The only thing that kept me going was the happy smiles on the Brady family on the home page and my dream of the best Taco !
It's always awesome to have a tour guide who argues with the driver, shouts at the tour helper and the best part was the fact he was born in San Diego and he really didn't have a clue about anything to do with any of the major landmarks and kept saying "oh come on kids, just google it" . After the amazing education we had 10 minutes of party tunes which consisted of Bonnie Tyler - Total eclipse of the heart, followed by various other classics. Another one of these romantic oldies and I was ready to commit a crime on the bus.
The driver and guide warmed me to not go off the main strip...but I had taco's to find. I wore a hooded jumper, with sunglasses and had minimal cash with only a phone to take pictures and dial 1-800-Kidnapped-in-Mexico if needed. My friends had me on speed dial, I am not sure I have such a mass worried response to a facebook post in my life but I assured them I would be on my best Irish behavior.
I learnt a special piece of foodie information on this trip.Cesar Salad originated from Tijuana - See recipe and information. I entered the restaurant that looked like it hadn't changed since the 1920's. The waiters were very polite and 100% assumed I was there for the salad. Made table site it was hilarious and listened to the men banter at each other while making it for me. I was so full at this point from tacos that I am not sure i fully appreciated it but I gave it a good going. It was probably one of the best I have had in a while. perfect amount of dressing.
My first Taco stop was Fito's. You can choose Tacos Birria de Res,Tacos Tripa de Res, or Birria consommé. This is probably the best taco on the list. I decided to pick the Birria de Res, no clue what it was but its in a taco shell right? Luckily my trip to Cuba many years ago helped as I could walk in and order in Spanish and then smile and make out I actually understood the rest of the conversation.
You wonder if it is actually juicy beef chopped up, and mixed with their special broth and then you bite into it and you really don't care. The Taco is finally tipped with salsa and garnished with chopped onion and cilantro. Given how much I love lime a final squeeze before the first bite is mandatory. I managed to pay a tip to a lady working there to teach me how to roll the taco shell out, using their amazing machine. The locals were slightly confused by what a blonde haired girl was doing behind the counter ! You live in New York or any major city and you go to a smaller place and get frustrated with how slow things are..right? not at Fito's, the taquero ninjas were on fire and it was the fastest line I have ever seen !!
Next on the Agenda was El Mazateno ! I had to take a local cab ride 8 mins north to taste the delights of this place. This place makes you break out into a cold sweat as its like a record scratches when I walk in. I order a beer and things calm down. All the blogs had talked about Mazatena but due to the evil reaction to shrimp mine were going to have to be Pescado - Local fish of the day ! I really wanted to try Tosada super especial but I felt that it would not be super especial to spend 24 hours on the toilet.
Mazateno was popping and once my beer arrived the server kindly also brought me a bag of some tostaditas, salsa fresca, limes and randomly cabbage. Then the taco arrived, the fish was fresh and moist and regardless of the type of fish they were top-notch.
The journey involved maybe 4 more taco's and then I couldn't physically eat anymore. The rain started coming down pretty heavy so I headed back to the bus. One the border crossing on the way back we all walked through and the bus got stuck in the check, so the organizer and tour guide was so confused on what they should do. Sometimes I hate being organized but in this instance I asked everyone to follow me to a place I found with shelter and told them to maybe let the bus driver know we are there, given it's not 1800 and cell phones were invented.
New York City is fast becoming a hot spot for Taco's, whilst I do not totally agree with their choice for New York, the tasting table published some hot tips for tacos - tasting table !
For me La Esquina has the best Tacos I have tried in New York City, their Margaritas and servers are also out of this world. You walk in and are transported into an under ground cave, through the kitchen. It's always my tradition to shout Hola on the way in and thank them on the way out !
If you go take the Cochinta Pibill - pulled Pork pulled pork, shredded cabbage, habanero pickled onions finally topped with jalapeño and the Bistec - steak, onions, cilantro, salsa verde !
Well that is all for now ! Hope you enjoy some Tacos in the near future !!