Walter Mencken 10:33 a.m., May 24
Fresca Deli: Crazy for Tostilocos
What’s loaded with cueritos, jicama, japoneses, pepino, chamoy, saladito, Tajin, Valentina and Tostito chips, costs $5, and is good for you?
I’ve just found out in National City. I was wandering along East Plaza Boulevard when I noticed this huge indoor market, Price Breakers Indoor Bazaar.
Inside’s a hodge-podge of gold jewelry sellers, nail decorators, discount shoe and clothing stalls.
But if you turn sharp right around the first gold shop, you come to this little five-stool jewel of a fruit and sandwich place called Fresca Deli (1021 Highland Avenue inside Price Breakers Indoor Bazaar in South Bay Plaza at corner of Highland and E. Plaza Boulevard, National City, 619-477-4790).
It’s crowded. I sit down on the one spare counter stool (there ain’t no tables), right next to Mariam. She looks like a regular.
“I come from Chula Vista,” she says. “They’re the best, here. Freshest fruit.”
Fruit’s all around. Strawberries and mangoes and cucumbers and jicama in a glass-fronted cabinet. And bananas and different melons piled on a shelf on the left wall.
They have the usual fruit salads with granola and honey on top (in three sizes: $5, $6.75 and $8). But, and only because Mariam recommends it, I go for a tostilocos dish ($5). You might call them Crazy Tostitos. Big deal in TJ, but a first for me.
...lady behind the counter, makes it up for me and I have to say, it’s one of the most delicious surprises I’ve had for a long time.
This is when Mariam starts telling me what all the stuff is in it. Strips of pickled pork skin (“cueritos”), jicama fruit, japoneses (scrumbo Japanese-style peanuts, coated with soy sauce), pepino (cucumber), chamoy, saladito, Tajin, Valentina (all kinda hot sauce thingies), along with Tostitos, sticking out all over.
And the good news is it’s all fresh and, okay, apart from the Tostitos, really good for you.
More in upcoming Tin Fork.