You stay classy with your tacos, San Diego.

You stay classy with your tacos, San Diego.

About a month ago, I took on my first out of three planned out west trips for 2022. I went with my middle school friend, Deepali, to Joshua Tree and Death Valley National Parks. We flew into San Diego and out of Las Vegas. I was so excited for our fun-filled itinerary with room for spontaneity. Deepali has never been to San Diego, so that is why we chose to fly into San Diego over Los Angeles. I also prefer a less hectic scene and that is definitively the vibes in San Diego over LA.

Mike’s Taco Club

We arrived in San Diego around lunch time which was about 3 pm Eastern Time, so we were definitely ready for food. While I had most of the activities planned, Deepali covered the food. I even let her do the taco research! The first place she found which had both great reviews and convenient proximity was Mike’s Taco Club.

Tacos and I

After changing into swimsuits and checking into our hostel, we walked to Mike’s Taco Club. This was a small little restaurant with limited indoor and outdoor seating. We saw some people who looked to be on lunch from work stop by which is always a very good indicator of a winner spot. Because it was such a late lunch, I ordered just two tacos. Out of the tacos I ordered, I liked the grilled fish taco over the steak taco. The grilled fish was shredded and the texture was ideal with extreme flakiness. I liked how the taco did not taste fishy at all, even with so much of it on the shell. The avocado game is strong in Cali and I had enormous hunks of avocado on top of the fish taco. The corn shell was as real as it can get. The thin cabbage complemented this taco and provided an abundant and refreshing crunch. My only point off from a 5 out of 5 was the lack of flavor from the cilantro crema mayo.

Speaking of flavor, the steak taco predominantly had a very buttery taste and flavor which was unexpected for me. It seemed too heavy. Again, I liked the toppings, especially the avocado and cabbage. I ranked the steak taco a 3 out of 5 for all delicious aspects minus the extreme buttery taste.

Price: $5.39 per steak taco, $5.99 per fish taco.

Puesto

After our one night out in San Diego, it was time to head north to show Deepali the La Jolla area. We checked out a restaurant that neither one of us did any research on, but was attracted to the outside advertising of the Mexican Artisan Kitchen, Puesto. Apparently they are known for their trophy tacos and perfect margaritas.

chicken al pastor taco

The two tacos I ordered were the short rib quesabirria and the chicken al pastor. I debated ordering a third, but the prices deterred me. I can see why the taco were on the expensive side once they arrived at our table. A lot of detail and quality ingredients went into these tacos. First, the cheese. The cheese was fried and wrapped like a tortilla around the meat fillings. This was such a good idea! The chicken al pastor was definitely my favorite out of the two. Obvi, the avocado was perfectly ripe. The chicken was salty and the pineapple and pickled jam and onions added some sweetness. The pickled jam reminded me of the onion jam placed on Iron Born Pizza’s white pie pizza back in the Burgh. Absolutely amazingly prepared and a delightful taco. It was like a delicacy eating this thing. I ranked it a 5 out of 5 for a taco-out-of-town taco.

short rib taco

The short rib quesabirria taco did not live up to the chicken al pastor, but it did still have some nice features like the pickled onions and the grilled cheese wrap. The short rib did not have the juicy and rich flavor I expected and no jam, man! It was spicy, even with the sauce on the side. I liked the large radishes. Probably the largest sliced radish I have ever seen. You can’t beat the size of these fruits and veggies out here!

quesadilla and taco pic

Deepali would like to add that her shrimp quesadilla was lacking in shrimp. She was very disappointed and I am throwing that bit out there, especially for the prices of items here. They definitely have trophy tacos, just not trophy quesadillas.

Price: Taco-spensive! $9 per taco.

pacific coast

After San Diego, we said goodbye to the Pacific Ocean, and made our way inward for the remainder of the trip. We were leaving the chill and relaxing coast for the desert life ahead.

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