Living south of the border, I’ve become spoiled by the low cost of quality meals, so when I have to come stateside, I usually pack a lunch. That is, except Tuesdays. Taco Tuesday is a staple of San Diego, and there is no shortage of deals and gimmicks to draw in customers. I forego them all to cruise down to the sunniest neighborhood for the shadiest people, known by most of us as OB.
4291 Newport Avenue, Ocean Beach
The Quik Stop reminds me of a refined bodega. It’s not the place to stop for a coke, a tire iron, and a VCR, but a wide selection among the products they carry is important. Bottles of wine cover two walls, glass doors of beverage coolers stretch to the back of the joint, and one could easily burn twenty minutes perusing the five panels of menus suspended above the kitchen—and that’s not even considering the smoothies or fruit bowls. I go on Tuesday. For tacos.
Admittedly, a liquor store doesn't ring as the most appealing place to go for a bite to eat. But it's a little tough to turn down Baja-style fish tacos for 99¢ each (usually $2.49). And Quik Stop does the tacos right—corn tortilla, fat piece of battered fish, cabbage, pico, white sauce, and cheese. We’re not talking skimpy, snack tacos — two will fill you up. So it kinda stinks that you have to order a minimum of four to get the deal. But I use it as an excuse to grab a bite with a friend, considering fish tacos don’t keep well.
I try to show up between 1:00 – 4:00 p.m., so I've got a better shot at getting a seat. It’s a grab-and-go type place, so there’s not much in the way of seating, just a few stools on the patio and a couple tables on the sidewalk. My last visit I didn’t get by until 5:30, so the place was jammed up. But Pacific Shores —OB’s oldest bar—is right next door, and what better to complement tacos than a $3 Pacifico or tequila?
Most bars in the neighborhood don’t mind outside food, but it’s hard to justify being indoors when you’re two blocks from the beach. Had it been less cloudy, my buddy and I might have cruised down to the pier or the cliffs or the grassy park beside the lifeguard tower. With no shortage of tourists and transients, hippies and hipsters, bikers and beatniks, the eclectic carnival of OB is in full swing. It’s not hard to turn Taco Tuesday into dinner and a show.