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Acknowledgements are due to deniseathome for leaving a comment about Kiko's Place at the bottom of my bit on Los Panchos. Neither of us could think of the truck's name, and I didn't get a chance to verify if anybody had already mentioned it on Feast! I would have wagered that Ed Bedford might have been to the truck at some point since he's the street food maven around here, and he has in fact done so, albeit briefly.

Here's a more thorough treatment.

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Kiko's has a little slice of the liquor store parking lot at the corner of Texas and Meade in Normal Heights (4404 Texas Street, to be precise). It's a good spot as the package store has plenty of parking so there's not likely to be any conflict in stopping at the little truck for some Baja-style street food.

Upping the ante on other noteworthy taco spots, Kiko's Place offers raw clams and oysters for $1.25 as appetizers. Raw shellfish out of a truck? Ok. Not at all spooky. But the truck's staff mentioned selling out of oysters and clams every day, so things must be fresh enough for safety. It turns out that the black clams are wonderful. They're briny, icy fresh, and served with lime and Mexican Saltine crackers. Do not pass them up. They were the delight of the day, only partly because they were so unexpected.

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The taco's are hardly anything to sneeze at, either. The biggest problem was that they were too hot to eat immediately and that ordering a spicy octopus taco ($2.75) slowed the order way down and watching everyone else receive their food became tortuous.

A bit on the oily side, the octopus taco was rich and spicy rather than just a one-note hot dish. Garlic fish ($1.25) carried a very satisfying kick of fresh garlic and a heavy dose of crema and cabbage, although the fish was a little soft and crumbly. One taco gobernador is probably enough food for anyone with a "normal" appetite. The shrimps, cheese, grilled peppers and onions in the gobernador had a bit of extra oil left over from the plancha, much like the octopus, but it's not exactly the most sensitive dish to begin with so a little greasy, cheesy messiness is expected.

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As deniseathome mentioned, Kiko's has an arrangement with the liquor store that prevents them from selling anything to drink. Water, in the store, can be had for a preposterously low 45 cents per bottle, so all is forgiven.

One other, entirely unexpected bonus: Kiko's Place takes credit cards! There's a half-dollar surcharge for the convenience, but since three tacos, two raw clams, and some complimentary soup only runs up a total bill of $12, fifty cents is acceptable if it means being able to order mariscos to your heart's content. They also have a "coctel de Viagra" on the menu--go order one if you're curious.

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Comments

deniseathome Feb. 10, 2012 @ 7:50 p.m.

I'm glad that you found the food to your liking. I want to add a couple of comments. You forgot to mention that they give every customer a small cup of soup. The soup enables me to have the patience to wait for the food. When I had the garlic taco's the fish was moist and not crumbly, the quality may wary on the type of fish used or by who is doing the cooking. I want to try the octopus taco next time. And about taking ATM card, they can only accept cards when their son is there with his cell phone. I've noticed other small business using an app to run debt/credit purchases. Maybe if they get enough business they will be able to afford a phone that stays with the truck.

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Ian Pike Feb. 11, 2012 @ 10:28 a.m.

I didn't get caught up in that little caveat on the credit card issue because I had gone with cash, not anticipating the credit card option at all. In the future, I'll try to remember to stop by with a couple dollars in my pocket JIC! The credit card app for smart phones is pretty versatile for sure. I know a woman who just got it for her jewelry business and she says it's really helpful, especially considering that her wares are a little more costly than tacos and people are less likely to have the ready cash on hand.

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Ed Bedford Feb. 11, 2012 @ 4:33 p.m.

SO glad to see you caught up with Kiko's. I always meant to go give it a serious attack, but never got around to it. But it makes you think: how much would this-all have cost if you tried it in a sit-down place? The Truck Revolution, which Mexican food trucks pretty much pioneered, is like the Occupy Wall Street movement of the food world. Also, Carla's telling me to go try the Viagra dish...

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deniseathome Feb. 11, 2012 @ 6:05 p.m.

For me Kiko's serves comfort food that is both good for you health wise and cost effective. I dislike chain restaurants and seek out small mom and pop places. I like places that actually cook their food from scratch. Hard to find at cheap prices.Have any of you tried Homestyle Hawaiian in Linda Vista? They have good food at cheap prices. Even though I haven't tried it, they have a pretty good rib- eye steak deal. My husband is a big guy and likes his meat and potatoes. Steak on the menu is a good way to get him through the door.

Homestyle Hawaiian 7524 Mesa College Drive San Diego, CA 92111

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Ian Pike Feb. 12, 2012 @ 10:40 a.m.

Ed's right, I think the food truck is a sort of Occupy My Taste Buds. And it is fun to get really good food off of a truck. I used to eat meatballs and hamburgers and stuff off of a lunch truck that came through the industrial area where I was working in a really big bakery. Kiko's and their ilk are the exact opposite of that.

As for Hawaiian food--I haven't had a serious plate lunch in a while. Maybe time for some Kalua pig or some spam musubi. So good. Next time I'm up Mesa College way I will definitely stop in there.

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