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IB Street Tacos

“You should try it. They’re the real thing. ’Specially the battered shrimp. Or the octopus.”

Cebollitas, to get your juices flowing
Cebollitas, to get your juices flowing
Place

IB Street Tacos

805 Ocean Lane, Imperial Beach

The sign looks new: IB Street Tacos. Now Open. It’s been slung up on a banner above the street frontage.

Always suspicious when a place says it has “street tacos.” Means it’s actually middle class, doing a safe imitation of the real thing.

This guy standing outside sees me hesitate. “Food’s really good,” he says. “You should try it. They’re the real thing. ’Specially the battered shrimp. Or the octopus.”

IB Street Tacos
Battered-shrimp taco

Well, now I have to go in. The inside has an eating bar along the front window and a couple of tiny tables. That’s all they have space for.

“Welcome!” says this big Anglo guy, Jerry. He takes up half the counter. It’s his place, turns out. “Which one tonight?”

Just to get things going I ask for the battered shrimp. Jerry calls out the order in perfect Spanish to an orange-shirted crew working the stoves behind.

So, back to the list. I’m thinking of stuff to take home to Carla. The menu’s pretty simple. Ten items. Most tacos are $1.95, such as the adobada (pork), pollo asado, carnitas, the asada (“traditional grilled steak with spices”), and the pescado (“battered swai served with cabbage, onion, tomato, house and chipotle aioli”).

For $3 you can get a portobello taco with the ’shroom, poblano, arugula, black beans, corn, and cilantro aioli; a grilled or battered shrimp taco; a baby octopus with pesto and aioli; or a mulita.

“That’s two tortillas with cheese in the middle, then add any protein, like pork or carne asada, to stuff in there, too,” says the other guy, David, about the mulita.

Baby-octopus taco
Adobada taco

That’s it. Oh, and they have a few sides such as grilled cebollitas (green onions) for $1.

Jerry brings out a little paper plate with seasoned cucumber chunks. “That’s just to get your appetite going,” he says.

While I’m waiting, I go to the cooler and pick out…aah, yes! Sangría Señorial, the grape cooler that tastes like wine but isn’t.

I try the cebollitas. Spicy, garlicky. The battered shrimp is delicious. Crunchy and mixed in with fresh-cut cilantro and red onion and tomato, plus that chipotle and creamy mayo. I add a dark red sauce that is blow-your-mind hot but also tasty.

To take home I get the mulita with carne asada, the pulpo al pesto (baby octopus), and the adobada. All in all, about $17. Carla later declares the adobada the tastiest.

Me: That pulpo. Sharp, but deep flavors, too. And not heavy. These guys have the light touch.

Turns out Jerry opened this tiny joint seven months ago and also owns City Tacos and Tostadas, both in North Park.

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Cebollitas, to get your juices flowing
Cebollitas, to get your juices flowing
Place

IB Street Tacos

805 Ocean Lane, Imperial Beach

The sign looks new: IB Street Tacos. Now Open. It’s been slung up on a banner above the street frontage.

Always suspicious when a place says it has “street tacos.” Means it’s actually middle class, doing a safe imitation of the real thing.

This guy standing outside sees me hesitate. “Food’s really good,” he says. “You should try it. They’re the real thing. ’Specially the battered shrimp. Or the octopus.”

IB Street Tacos
Battered-shrimp taco

Well, now I have to go in. The inside has an eating bar along the front window and a couple of tiny tables. That’s all they have space for.

“Welcome!” says this big Anglo guy, Jerry. He takes up half the counter. It’s his place, turns out. “Which one tonight?”

Just to get things going I ask for the battered shrimp. Jerry calls out the order in perfect Spanish to an orange-shirted crew working the stoves behind.

So, back to the list. I’m thinking of stuff to take home to Carla. The menu’s pretty simple. Ten items. Most tacos are $1.95, such as the adobada (pork), pollo asado, carnitas, the asada (“traditional grilled steak with spices”), and the pescado (“battered swai served with cabbage, onion, tomato, house and chipotle aioli”).

For $3 you can get a portobello taco with the ’shroom, poblano, arugula, black beans, corn, and cilantro aioli; a grilled or battered shrimp taco; a baby octopus with pesto and aioli; or a mulita.

“That’s two tortillas with cheese in the middle, then add any protein, like pork or carne asada, to stuff in there, too,” says the other guy, David, about the mulita.

Baby-octopus taco
Adobada taco

That’s it. Oh, and they have a few sides such as grilled cebollitas (green onions) for $1.

Jerry brings out a little paper plate with seasoned cucumber chunks. “That’s just to get your appetite going,” he says.

While I’m waiting, I go to the cooler and pick out…aah, yes! Sangría Señorial, the grape cooler that tastes like wine but isn’t.

I try the cebollitas. Spicy, garlicky. The battered shrimp is delicious. Crunchy and mixed in with fresh-cut cilantro and red onion and tomato, plus that chipotle and creamy mayo. I add a dark red sauce that is blow-your-mind hot but also tasty.

To take home I get the mulita with carne asada, the pulpo al pesto (baby octopus), and the adobada. All in all, about $17. Carla later declares the adobada the tastiest.

Me: That pulpo. Sharp, but deep flavors, too. And not heavy. These guys have the light touch.

Turns out Jerry opened this tiny joint seven months ago and also owns City Tacos and Tostadas, both in North Park.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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