April 06, 2009

san diego taco time

The first leg of our whirlwind vacation was the originally planned trip to San Diego for the Balboa Rendezvous. It's pretty awesome to dance in an old ballroom with a few dozen of the original dancers from the 30s and 40s hanging around watching, knocking back cocktails, and dancing themselves. We danced, we learned, we have very sore feet now.

We also ate a lot of tacos.

We didn't really know the city and we really didn't know what was good nor did we have much time to find out. And we didn't want to eat big heavy meals right before jumping on the dance floor. So we went with Adalberto's Mexican Food, on the highway en route, which looked appropriately open and divey. Everything was good, though the horchata was almost certainly out of a bottle or a mix, but the carnitas taco was a treat. They just scoop out refrigerated carnitas straight onto the griddle and ladle over a little oil... and it comes out succulent and crispy, ahhhh. And the taco is huge, full of pico de gallo and lots of unexpected guacamole and overflowing with meat. The adobada is also worth a try, in a taco or a torta. Yums. Cheap, fast, yummy and open late.

The last afternoon we had a little free time, and I finally remembered that San Diego is famous for FISH tacos, which I love when properly executed. So we did a little googly-moogly and found a recommended place not too far from our hotel.

El Zarape is right smack in the middle of a gentrified strip of University Heights, but fear not, them fishy tacos were very very tasty. The scallop taco was OK, interesting and good once you put on a bunch of lime juice, but the fish taco is for sure the draw. Super-crispy batter fried fish with shreds of cabbage and a light creamy sauce. Stays crunchy till the very end! Excellent alone, or with a spritz of the lime, or with a li'l droplet of the avocado-cilantro salsa. That salsa was awesome, and I drank the last bit out right out of the cup when I ran out of things to dip into it. Don't bother with a plate meal, the rice and beans are meh at best -- get chips and guacamole and as many fish tacos as you feel like eating. Just the ticket to fuel a drive up to Balboa Peninsula and a night of dancing to one of the best swing jazz bands in the land. Wheeeee!

(pictures coming -- i left the cable in the car and we won't have intertubes while on kauai... i'll post 'em as soon as i can!)

Posted by foodnerd at April 6, 2009 04:00 PM
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