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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cheap Eats in La Jolla? Yes, at Alfonso's Mexican Restaurant

I've been around the San Diego block more than a few times.  I knew Hillcrest when it was a dump, before the fabulous gays took over and made it all cool and trendy.  I knew Mission Valley when there were still cows grazing in the grass.  And I knew La Jolla when as a college kid I would go there for cheap eats and entertainment.  My friends and I used to get the carne asada tacos at Alfonso's in the late '70's, then head across the street to Bratskellar's to sit around their fireplace with a Zombie (a drink, not a date), and then duck over to Chuck's Steak House for some free jazz.  Well, Brat's is now George's at the Cove and Chucks is Azul's, but thankfully Alfonso is still there.

I like it that they haven't changed it much since it opened in the late 70's.  And here's something else I like.

The chips are solid.  They're thick, they're bold, and they crunch louder than a Corn Nut.  Look, I've been to too many Mexican restaurants where the chips are light and airy.  Give me the crunch!  And the salsa, oh the salsa, my most favorite salsa in all of San Diego.  Behind it is their house margarita.  A small pitcher is $15.50 and one of the best margaritas in town.  Think you need to upgrade?  Think again.  This margarita packs a punch.  Here's the recipe:

ALFONSO'S MARGARITA (recipe courtesy of the bartender)
3 parts sweet and sour
2 parts tequila
1 part triple sec
Fresh lime juice

Try it on the rocks with salt, squeeze a bit more lime on top, enjoy.  Don't waste your money on the upgraded margaritas here.  Even the bartender said that there's no point, not when the house margarita is this good.

BTW, I was watching some dumb FoodTV show where this cooking gal is at a Mexican restaurant and mocking the people eating the baskets of chips and then coming over to their table with a know-it-all smirk and talking about calories and then saying how you should avoid the chips.  Well FoodTV, all I can say is pass them chips my way!

Ahhh, carne asada.  My first carne asada taco was here, 35 years ago, and I still believe they make the best.  Back then you could get 2 carne asada tacos, rice and beans, for $5.90.  Well, my wife says this isn't true but I'm pretty sure.  Anyway, times have changed and if I ate that much food I would be huge (or dead) so I now order a la carte and get one taco and a side of beans.... and more chips.  I love these chips, especially dipped into the beans.  Let's take a bite.

Mmmmmmm, the meat has a nice char-grilled flavor, the guacamole is fresh, the double tortilla keeps everything together, this is one great taco!

Of course, Alfonso's has other good stuff as well.  I love, and I mean love, their garlic shrimp.  They taste like little lobsters and remind me of the days when it was safe to go to Puerto Nuevo.  And they have plenty of other seafood and traditional items here, all delicious.  But get the carne asada taco.  Trust me on this one.

So how much was lunch with the best best carne asada taco, the best chips and salsa, and the best margarita in San Diego?  $30.90?  What a bargain!  Cheap eats in La Jolla is possible - if you go to Alfonso's.



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