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Thursday, March 22, 2012

San Diego's Love Affair with Fish Tacos and Taco Shops

If you've spent much time in San Diego you know what I'm talking about.  Taco shops on every corner, in every strip mall, that's how we roll.  So the idea of a taco shop connected to a gas station with a car wash right outside seems as natural as rice and beans. Fill er up!

El Pueblo Taco Shop (820 Birmingham Dr, Cardiff, CA) is located right off the 5 in San Diego North County.  Common sense might tell you that there is no way this place is going to be any good, but the buzz around town was that they had the best fish tacos in town.

Here's the menu with the usual suspects.  Prices were pretty good, a bit cheaper than a traditional "non-gas station location" joint.  Really, not that much more than Taco Bell, and TB has really gone downhill since they got busted for using some sort of Soylent Green meat product in their food.

Mmmmmm, salsa.  I love different hot sauces and they had plenty to choose from, from chunky salsa fresca to green to a smokey chipotle sort of sauce.  And look, free hot carrots! 

Right now they are running a special that I hope will last a long time but probably won't - Fish Tacos for $.99.  Before we dive in, let me tell  you where I am coming from.  My favorite fish taco is from The Brigantine when I want fried, and South Beach in OB when I want freshly grilled.  The 99 cent taco here is fried and that's cool with me.  

And here they are!  Double wrapped, crispy fish, nice and fresh.  The fish was a bit skimpy, about the same as Rubio's, but the flavor was good, not fishy at all.  On my taco scale I would rate these better than Rubios, not quite as good as The Brig - but at $.99, what a great deal!  Remember, this is the same price Taco Bell charges for their terrible crunchy taco and the difference is night and day.  

My wife also ordered a Tostada, which to me looked a lot like Taco Bell but she claims it was way better.

The shell was crunchy, the beans authentic tasting, she liked this.  Personally I hate tostadas just because of the eating concept (do you pick it up, do you break it up).  Whoever invented the tostada had no real idea of what this thing was,  sort of like the guys who make sandwiches 10" tall with a runny egg on top.  What am I supposed to do with that?  OK, enough food ranting.

So here's the bottom line - you find yourself in North San Diego county, you should check this place out.  Impress your Yelp! friends who want to go to crummy places like Casa de Bandini and say "Look, I know a little hole in the wall joint that has the best 99 cent fish tacos in San Diego and we can even get our car washed while we eat" and wow, will they be impressed with you or what?

El Pueblo Taco Shop
820 Birmingham Dr
Cardiff, CA
Right off the 5 freeway

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