Walter Mencken 10:06 a.m., Feb. 6
Coronado street taco wars: Costa Azul steps up to the plata!
Getting on-the-spot tacos on Orange Avenue just got easier – on Taco Tuesday
Carla – here for hair – is late. I’m standing outside Bay Books when I hear “Tacos! Tacos! Tacos!”
Then a silence. Then “Tacos! Tacos! Tacos!”
I head south and here’s this feller Ferrer holding a hand-painted sign.
“Los Tacos Aqui.”
Look beyond him, and here’s a whole taco stand set up through the sidewalk patio railings at Costa Azul (Costa Azul Grill & Rotisserie, 1031 Orange Avenue, Coronado, 619-435-3525).
Ferrer’s buddy, the chef Miguel...
...has set up a hot plate, a blue-cloth table, volcanic molcajetes filled with red and brown and green salsas, limes, radishes, onions, cilantro, lettuce, the whole taco bag of tricks.
“Two for $3.95,” says Mary Ana. She’s a Costa Azul staffer. “They’re all on corn tortillas. Really good.”
I trust her. She’s the one told me about La Ermita, one of my greatest taco finds ever in Tijuana.
Miguel and Mary Ana
“The best,” says Gennaro. He’s loading up four carne asada tacos with the fixings. “Here every Tuesday.”
Gennaro's four carne asada tacos, eight bucks' worth
"Carne asada? Carnitas? Chicken? Or today I have chorizo. Good flavors,” says Miguel.
He tosses a little chunk of chorizo on the hot plate. The smoke smells spicy.
You can see: people are kinda surprised to hear Ferrer shouting out “Tacos! Tacos! Tacos!” here in the land of Admirals and rico-suaves. Amazing what having the food right here on the street does to people. They stop, readjust their radar, start remembering other days, other places.
Whatever, crowd’s gathering. I need to say what I want quick.
“Okay, two, chorizo,” I say.
My smokin' chorizo
The grilled result
It’s Mary Ana who passes it to me. Just because she’s between me and Miguel, through the smoke there.
"The green,” says Miguel, when I ask him which salsa’s best for chorizo. “It’s a little bit hot. Tomatillo, serrano chili, and avocado. We peel it and blend it right here.”
So I pile on onions, cilantro, the green avocado salsa, and top it all with a squirt of fresh lime.
The final result
Ah. Mm. Ooh. Lawdie. What a great combo! The tart salty chorizo pork and the light sparky salsa.
Was the day when Villa Nueva, a block north, did this. The charcoal, the smoke, right on Orange.
Haven’t seen it lately.
Looks like the taco party’s moved south, one block.
Miguel says they’re open from five till ten. So hey, still time, muchachos, muchachas!
Or, next week?
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- Cheap tacos in the Courtroom — Oct. 1, 2013
- Gaslamp: Half price nachos! (Compared with Petco Park) — April 24, 2013
- The long, long titles: Part 1 — April 16, 2013
- See the book, read the movie — April 4, 2013
- La Fachada Logan Heights: Gordita vs. mulita — April 2, 2013