My second visit to California Taco Shop has been long overdue. My first visit was Labor Day weekend of 2019 (read about my first visit here!) and for some reason, I forgot about this gem until I began trekking some segments of the Rachel Carson Trail. With all of the hiking near Shaler area and Route 8, I have made two trips back to California Taco Shop in a week time frame. There is nothing better than eating authentic tacos after a hike.
Even though I managed to get lost for 45 minutes trying to stay on the Rachel Carson Trail, I had no trouble figuring out what tacos I wanted from the California Taco Shop menu. I ordered the ground beef taco on a crunchy shell, pollo asado on a corn shell, and carne asada on a corn shell. Just for kicks, I also ordered a side of chips and guac. Two and a half tacos are definitely my limit here, so I had some leftovers for lunch the next day.
During my first visit, I tried the chips and guac and I remembered loving this appetizer. (Thanks Robert!) The hefty fried chips into the refreshing guac is to die for. I liked the thick consistency and vibrant color of the guac and the added diced tomatoes were a nice touch.
The chips and guac was not the only repeat item for me. I also ordered the pollo asado taco again. Do not let this taco fool you with the limited toppings as it was absolutely exploding with flavor from the asado and pico. The sour cream made it a complete tasty trifecta. Last time, I was teetering between a 3 or 4 out of 5 on my scale and this taco definitely came in at a 4. I would get this taco again and would recommend it to anyone.
Next, I tried two tacos I had not sampled there before. I had the ground beef taco on a hard shell. I had a feeling the crunchy shell was going to be a good choice based on how much I liked their chips. Just like the chips, the shell is borderline too greasy, but oh-so delicious. The lettuce, pico, shredded gooey cheese, and sour cream satisfied my cravings for an Americano style taco. The price was right, too, and overall I have nothing to correct with this taco. A perfect ground beef taco coming in at a 5 out of 5.
Last but not least, I tried the carne asada taco with grilled steak, onions, guac, and cilantro. The guac and the steak were the main focus here. The steak partnered well with the guac. Overall, this taco came in at a 4 out of 5 on my scale, as I wish the edges of the steak were a little more charred.
Overall, California Taco Shop knows what they are doing when it comes to everything I have sampled so far, and what my friends have sampled too. Robert mentioned how he had the best burrito he has ever tasted and during my third visit, Nolan was impressed with every taco he tried, especially the fish taco. If you have not made your way to California Taco Shop yet, I would highly recommend a visit – post hike or not.
Price: $2.25 per hard shell chicken or beef taco, $3.75 per shrimp taco, $3.50 for all other tacos on the menu.