Restaurants & Bars

California

What a Deal for $.99

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What a Deal for $.99

Gayla | Dec 19, 2002 12:52 AM

You can't miss it these days...........all those ads from the fast food boys talking about their $1 value menus in an effort to shore up sagging profits.

But really, how can a $1 burger of questionable origin or nutritional value compare to a really great fish taco. And, let's face it, if these guys really think that they'll increase profits by lowering the price (ergo the profit margin), well either they've got the best purchasing agreements in the world (distinctly possible), or the quality of what they're pushing must be pretty cheap to begin with (also distinctly possible)...........but no need to go there.

If you're in the central part of San Diego, there is an alternative. How about a fresh, hot fish taco, made to order with a warm corn tortilla, batter dipped fish that stays remarkably hot and crunchy even under a generous shower of shredded cabbage and diced tomatoes, and topped off with a slathering of white sauce that is some sort of inoffensive combo of mayo and crema, plus your choice of salsas if you want. All for only $.99. And no, I'm not talking about Rubio's.

El Zarape - on Park Blvd. between Madison and Adams Ave. makes a really good fish taco and sells it for only $.99. They often do a special of 2 fish tacos, rice and beans for only $3.99. It's a good value for the price as is the quality. If you're a light eater 1 taco may be sufficient. I had 2 tacos on Monday at lunch, but 1 1/2 would have actually been just about right.

El Zarape also makes pretty good rolled tacos and quesadillas. Their burritos are a little bland, but filling, and they make some unusual varieties in scallop and calamari. This isn't authentic Mexican by any stretch of the imagination, but it is generally well prepared, reasonably flavorful and a good value for the quantity and quality of what you get. It isn't Roberto's and it isn't Sombrero's, it's better than either of those. The space is small and the decor more Middle Eastern than Mexican, but it is always crowded and usually always pretty good. Street parking with meters, usually pretty easy, except when it rains like yesterday.

Forget the fast food guys, forget Roberto's, Sombreros and the others. Try El Zarape. Perhaps not the *best* Mexcian in town (haven't found that yet), but worth the visit. It may not "wow" you or knock your socks off, but there is a charm and consistency to their food that grows on you the more you go.

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