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Awesome organic tacos, but where's my beer?

Leucadia taco shop's new location not perfect, but worth it

The taco plate, with avocado where jasmine brown rice should be. Haggo's Organic Taco.
The taco plate, with avocado where jasmine brown rice should be. Haggo's Organic Taco.
Place

Haggo's Organic Taco

1302 North Coast Highway 101, Leucadia

No sign out front yet, but this painting will do.

I could have a new favorite neighborhood taco spot — at least I will, if I ever successfully make the move to Encinitas or Leucadia. In the meantime I'll just have to be content admiring Haggo's Organic Taco from afar, taking solace in the fact that I'm saving a little money living in a lower rent neighborhood, and eating cheaper tacos while I'm at it.

Granted, most of the tacos in town can't claim to be organic, served on non-GMO corn tortillas. They also don't cost $4 and up, a la carte. That's my first knock on Haggo's, though it's kinda tough to hold it against them. Beach-town real estate, locally sourced and organic ingredients, and a clean new location are bound to drive up the cost. But while these are slightly bigger than street tacos, they're not so much so that they'll fill you up. A two-taco combo plate served with rice and red beans runs about 10 to 12 bucks, depending which tacos you choose.

That's not outrageous by any means, but in a taco shop context it starts looking a little steep, especially since it left me wanting more. With tax and tip my lunch made it to 14 bucks easy, and I would've had to spend another 5 to get that third taco that may have sated me. That's without ordering a drink.

And while I'm nitpicking, ding number two is the drink selection. There are multiple flavors of two varieties of probiotic drinks (kombucha and KeVita), but no beer. Seriously? A taco and burrito joint within blocks of the Pacific and no beer? This verges on heresy.

But I really am going out of my way to complain. These tacos are fantastic. I want them bigger because I didn't want the meal to end. I craved beer to go with them because I wanted the perfect palate refresher following each bite so I could experience the great flavors anew with the next.

Jacques Cousteau figures heavily into the owners' vision for this place.

The organic beef taco featured sliced flank steak slathered in a stew-like sauce, cumin-lime crema, caramelized onions, and cabbage slaw. It may not have been the most authentic carne asada-style taco in town, but it weighs heavy on my memory. The Cousteau fish taco features the fresh local catch of the day with that crema and slaw, and I lucked out that this daily catch was my favorite: halibut. Again, I would have loved more grilled fish squeezed into the tortilla, but the moist and flaky plug of halibut was well seasoned, contributing one of the first mango-topped fish tacos I've ever genuinely adored. The red beans were pretty good too, and though they had just run out of rice when I got there (at 2pm?), they subbed in some sliced avocado for me — organic, of course.

I never caught on to the original Haggo's location, but now that it's moved about 50 feet up the highway I look forward to returning to stand in line for its popular counter service. To soak up the colorful décor in its Jacques Cousteau-and-Wes Anderson -obsessed dining room (I suspect the Life Aquatic movie poster may be load-bearing). Or, I'll once again grab a seat on its long outdoor patio overlooking the Coast Highway and chew slowly, silently plotting my early retirement to a North County beach. Maybe I'll even try the vegan patty taco someday.

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The taco plate, with avocado where jasmine brown rice should be. Haggo's Organic Taco.
The taco plate, with avocado where jasmine brown rice should be. Haggo's Organic Taco.
Place

Haggo's Organic Taco

1302 North Coast Highway 101, Leucadia

No sign out front yet, but this painting will do.

I could have a new favorite neighborhood taco spot — at least I will, if I ever successfully make the move to Encinitas or Leucadia. In the meantime I'll just have to be content admiring Haggo's Organic Taco from afar, taking solace in the fact that I'm saving a little money living in a lower rent neighborhood, and eating cheaper tacos while I'm at it.

Granted, most of the tacos in town can't claim to be organic, served on non-GMO corn tortillas. They also don't cost $4 and up, a la carte. That's my first knock on Haggo's, though it's kinda tough to hold it against them. Beach-town real estate, locally sourced and organic ingredients, and a clean new location are bound to drive up the cost. But while these are slightly bigger than street tacos, they're not so much so that they'll fill you up. A two-taco combo plate served with rice and red beans runs about 10 to 12 bucks, depending which tacos you choose.

That's not outrageous by any means, but in a taco shop context it starts looking a little steep, especially since it left me wanting more. With tax and tip my lunch made it to 14 bucks easy, and I would've had to spend another 5 to get that third taco that may have sated me. That's without ordering a drink.

And while I'm nitpicking, ding number two is the drink selection. There are multiple flavors of two varieties of probiotic drinks (kombucha and KeVita), but no beer. Seriously? A taco and burrito joint within blocks of the Pacific and no beer? This verges on heresy.

But I really am going out of my way to complain. These tacos are fantastic. I want them bigger because I didn't want the meal to end. I craved beer to go with them because I wanted the perfect palate refresher following each bite so I could experience the great flavors anew with the next.

Jacques Cousteau figures heavily into the owners' vision for this place.

The organic beef taco featured sliced flank steak slathered in a stew-like sauce, cumin-lime crema, caramelized onions, and cabbage slaw. It may not have been the most authentic carne asada-style taco in town, but it weighs heavy on my memory. The Cousteau fish taco features the fresh local catch of the day with that crema and slaw, and I lucked out that this daily catch was my favorite: halibut. Again, I would have loved more grilled fish squeezed into the tortilla, but the moist and flaky plug of halibut was well seasoned, contributing one of the first mango-topped fish tacos I've ever genuinely adored. The red beans were pretty good too, and though they had just run out of rice when I got there (at 2pm?), they subbed in some sliced avocado for me — organic, of course.

I never caught on to the original Haggo's location, but now that it's moved about 50 feet up the highway I look forward to returning to stand in line for its popular counter service. To soak up the colorful décor in its Jacques Cousteau-and-Wes Anderson -obsessed dining room (I suspect the Life Aquatic movie poster may be load-bearing). Or, I'll once again grab a seat on its long outdoor patio overlooking the Coast Highway and chew slowly, silently plotting my early retirement to a North County beach. Maybe I'll even try the vegan patty taco someday.

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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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