Tacos El Paisa
2494 Impreial Ave., San Diego, CA 92102
We ended up at Tacos El Paisa on accident. Yelp says La Fachada, a taco truck, is usually parked in Tacos El Paisa’s parking lot, but it wasn’t today, but we were already there, so… Tacos El Paisa it was!
I have to admit, I giggled when Mike ordered Combo Number One–a carne asada plate (carne asada, rice, beans, and your choice of flour or corn tortillas). It was so exciting to be kicking off our neighborhood food blogging adventure!
After ordering, we were presented with a free platter of chips and three different kinds of salsa (a chiptole, a verde, and a spicy red sauce that I had to stop Michaela from eating for fear of burning her insides), plus limes and cucumber slices.
The food came very quickly and was piping hot. My order, a Combo Number 6 (beef taco and cheese enchilada, plus rice and beans), was tasty, especially the beef, which I found to be less stringy and tough than taco shop beef often is.
And the horchata we ordered was sweet and cold and enormous. Michaela drank more than her fair share, coming up for air only to ask, “is that milk, Mama?”
Mike’s take on his Combo Number One: “the plate came with guacamole, and while there wasn’t a ton of it, it was tasty. The flour tortilla was giant (burrito-sized) and very good; if not made on site, it was at least piping hot. The carne asada, though, was marginal at best, and a lot of things looked better, including my companion’s enchilada. My other gripe is that I love pico de gallo, and there was no pico.”
Tacos el Paisa offers table service and real cutlery, which we weren’t expecting (especially from a place that has a drive-through). Interestingly, given the demographics of our neighborhood, everyone else eating the restaurant appeared to be white and fairly well-to-do.
After we ate, the three of us strolled around a couple of blocks near the restaurant. The area has some really lovely old Victorian homes, including one whose inhabitants put out a Day of the Dead altar to Steve Jobs last year, according to Mike. To me, that really speaks to the blend of cultures in this neighborhood and to the exciting mix of old and new that surrounds us. We wandered by the old Farmer’s Market site where Walmart is building a new neighborhood market, and by about a jillion Mexican restaurants we’ll be trying soon. The highlight of the walk for me was when we passed a store selling miscelanea and the two men in front of it broke off their Spanish-language conversation to wave at Michaela. After all, the cuteness of a kid is universal.