Quantcast
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

Taquerias up and down the coast, inland and outland

My jams

I know what I like. No matter what the cuisine, I go here for this, there for that, and somewhere else for a third thing. Up and down the coast, inland and outland, there are taquerias where I can get my favorite fish taco, my favorite carnitas, or my favorite adobada. Generally, if a place makes one thing great, they’ll at least do everything else well. But I know what I like, so let me share at least one of my jams from half a dozen of my preferred taco haunts.

Place

Pueblo

820 Birmingham Drive, Cardiff by the Sea

El Pueblo

Volume. One word. It’s the key to El Pueblo’s greatness. People order fish tacos here 20 at a time, and the fryers never cease to pop and sizzle. When you’re making this many tacos, “piping hot” is the only option.

North County peeps know. They line up. They don’t care that El Pueblo hangs off the edge of a Valero; the taqueria equivalent of a Ruth’s Chris sharing a Kmart parking lot. They like it that way. They also like the fact that it never closes and that the breakfast burritos are surprisingly good no matter what time of day.

Place

Pepe's Produce

907 Main Street, Ramona

Pepe’s Produce

It’s okay, you’ve probably never heard of it.

Pepe’s is so underground, it only has four reviews on Yelp.

Pepe’s isn’t even a taco shop. It’s a Mexican grocery store (where you can get bomb tortillas whenever you’re “up the hill,” as they say) that used to be a Pizza Hut. There is one table and a few seats at the hammered-steel counter. A single cook serves up dangerously delicious pollo asado tacos and oodles of country charm. Go carefully with the extra-hot salsa and make sure to get cueritos (pork skin) if it’s available.

Kiko's marlin taco
Place

Kiko’s Place

4404 Texas Street, San Diego

Kiko’s Place

Every time I see a stuffed marlin on the wall of some restaurant or other, I think to myself, Damn, there go 400 marlin tacos nobody will ever get to eat. Smoked and shredded Baja-style marlin makes an amazing taco when it’s hot off the plancha with peppers and celery, some molten cheese, and a few squeezes of lime. Use caution with the notoriously spicy onions beneath the salsa bar, and plan to wait around if you go anywhere near peak hours. When the weather turns hot, clamatos, cocteles, and really good aquachiles will cool you back down.

Tacos el Gordo
Place

Tacos el Gordo

689 H Street, Chula Vista

Tacos el Gordo

The tower of marinated pork loin adobada exudes a river of sensuous fatty juices. Cabeza (head meat), buche (pork stomach), tripa, lengua, and even sesos (pork brains, not always available) simmer in massive steam tables.

Place

Tacos el Gordo

3265 Palm Avenue, San Diego

Thankfully, I can order whatever I want, and, when the guy chopping the meat says, “You want everything on it?” I know to always say, “Yes!”

Pro tip: when the scene gets too packed at H street, slide on over to 3265 Palm Avenue and patronize a scaled-down (but still muy Gordo) location with a much higher parking-spot-to-table ratio.

Las Morelianas' carnitas
Place

Morelianas Carnitas Estilo Michoacan

3645 University Avenue, San Diego

Las Morelianas

Their sign features an anthropomorphic pig gleefully smiling as he prods at a smaller pig in a large cauldron. Porky is full-on cooking his own species, and they both seem pleased as punch. If that’s not hardcore enough (it should be), a greasy window right by the door is all that separates diners from a mountain of carnitas, ready to be chopped to order and served with hot tortillas. It’s hot, so resist the temptation to drool all over the glass. Just order a pound of the best carnitas, served of course with tortillas and salsa. Stack. Wrap. Grind. Repeat.

Place

Aquí es Texcoco

520 Broadway number 5 and 6, Chula Vista

Aqui es Texcoco

I could come here over and over again and never order anything other than the barbacoa. How could you improve on a huge plate of chopped, roasted lamb; hot tortillas; lamb broth for sipping; salsa; lime; onion; and cilantro? It’s build-your-own taco heaven. Of course, the huitlacoche quesataco (corn truffles rolled up inside a sheet of fried cheese) is glorious, and the barbecued lamb head (ripe for the pickin’!) scares the kiddies and yields tasty taco meat. Smaller appetites can order individual tacos made from the different cuts of barbacoa: rib, tripe, head, belly, or plain old meat.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Artisan Strings 4/4 Violin / Bow with SKB Case - $320
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 26, 2020
CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
SHELVING AND ROLLING CART
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
HEALTH
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
VW BUG TRADE 4 MOTORCYCLE -- $6400 Value
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
Ad
Previous article

Closed to dining, some restaurants start selling groceries

Produce and pantry items now part of delivery and curbside pickup orders
Next Article

Neil Diamond’s Coronavirus Parody, Don Lemaster of San Diego Musical Theatre

Events April 2-April 4, 2020
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Adobada at Tacos el Gordo
Adobada at Tacos el Gordo

I know what I like. No matter what the cuisine, I go here for this, there for that, and somewhere else for a third thing. Up and down the coast, inland and outland, there are taquerias where I can get my favorite fish taco, my favorite carnitas, or my favorite adobada. Generally, if a place makes one thing great, they’ll at least do everything else well. But I know what I like, so let me share at least one of my jams from half a dozen of my preferred taco haunts.

Place

Pueblo

820 Birmingham Drive, Cardiff by the Sea

El Pueblo

Volume. One word. It’s the key to El Pueblo’s greatness. People order fish tacos here 20 at a time, and the fryers never cease to pop and sizzle. When you’re making this many tacos, “piping hot” is the only option.

North County peeps know. They line up. They don’t care that El Pueblo hangs off the edge of a Valero; the taqueria equivalent of a Ruth’s Chris sharing a Kmart parking lot. They like it that way. They also like the fact that it never closes and that the breakfast burritos are surprisingly good no matter what time of day.

Place

Pepe's Produce

907 Main Street, Ramona

Pepe’s Produce

It’s okay, you’ve probably never heard of it.

Pepe’s is so underground, it only has four reviews on Yelp.

Pepe’s isn’t even a taco shop. It’s a Mexican grocery store (where you can get bomb tortillas whenever you’re “up the hill,” as they say) that used to be a Pizza Hut. There is one table and a few seats at the hammered-steel counter. A single cook serves up dangerously delicious pollo asado tacos and oodles of country charm. Go carefully with the extra-hot salsa and make sure to get cueritos (pork skin) if it’s available.

Kiko's marlin taco
Place

Kiko’s Place

4404 Texas Street, San Diego

Kiko’s Place

Every time I see a stuffed marlin on the wall of some restaurant or other, I think to myself, Damn, there go 400 marlin tacos nobody will ever get to eat. Smoked and shredded Baja-style marlin makes an amazing taco when it’s hot off the plancha with peppers and celery, some molten cheese, and a few squeezes of lime. Use caution with the notoriously spicy onions beneath the salsa bar, and plan to wait around if you go anywhere near peak hours. When the weather turns hot, clamatos, cocteles, and really good aquachiles will cool you back down.

Tacos el Gordo
Place

Tacos el Gordo

689 H Street, Chula Vista

Tacos el Gordo

The tower of marinated pork loin adobada exudes a river of sensuous fatty juices. Cabeza (head meat), buche (pork stomach), tripa, lengua, and even sesos (pork brains, not always available) simmer in massive steam tables.

Place

Tacos el Gordo

3265 Palm Avenue, San Diego

Thankfully, I can order whatever I want, and, when the guy chopping the meat says, “You want everything on it?” I know to always say, “Yes!”

Pro tip: when the scene gets too packed at H street, slide on over to 3265 Palm Avenue and patronize a scaled-down (but still muy Gordo) location with a much higher parking-spot-to-table ratio.

Las Morelianas' carnitas
Place

Morelianas Carnitas Estilo Michoacan

3645 University Avenue, San Diego

Las Morelianas

Their sign features an anthropomorphic pig gleefully smiling as he prods at a smaller pig in a large cauldron. Porky is full-on cooking his own species, and they both seem pleased as punch. If that’s not hardcore enough (it should be), a greasy window right by the door is all that separates diners from a mountain of carnitas, ready to be chopped to order and served with hot tortillas. It’s hot, so resist the temptation to drool all over the glass. Just order a pound of the best carnitas, served of course with tortillas and salsa. Stack. Wrap. Grind. Repeat.

Place

Aquí es Texcoco

520 Broadway number 5 and 6, Chula Vista

Aqui es Texcoco

I could come here over and over again and never order anything other than the barbacoa. How could you improve on a huge plate of chopped, roasted lamb; hot tortillas; lamb broth for sipping; salsa; lime; onion; and cilantro? It’s build-your-own taco heaven. Of course, the huitlacoche quesataco (corn truffles rolled up inside a sheet of fried cheese) is glorious, and the barbecued lamb head (ripe for the pickin’!) scares the kiddies and yields tasty taco meat. Smaller appetites can order individual tacos made from the different cuts of barbacoa: rib, tripe, head, belly, or plain old meat.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Masonry Work
San Diego Reader Classified ads
February 6, 2020
CASHIER/CHECKER job opening at WinCo Foods in San Marcos
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 23, 2020
MISTER LOVER
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
LITERACY IS NOT DEAD!
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
1984 WORLD SERIES
San Diego Reader Classified ads
March 24, 2020
Previous article

Can't complain about live streaming from the Met

But it provided one of the most awkward things I’ve ever seen
Next Article

Can't complain about live streaming from the Met

But it provided one of the most awkward things I’ve ever seen
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
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
Close