In addition to going to my favorites over and over, I like to explore some other Mexican places in town. Just recently, I went west on 8th St almost to Ave D and discovered Mariscos Nayarit, a converted taco wagon. Absolutely no English spoken, so I'm still not sure what all the dishes on the small menu were. But I had a couple of the empenadas, half-moon shaped, deep-fried, breaded delicacies stuffed with (I think) camarones molido. Very tasty. Also I tried a tostada with mixed seafood. Good crisp tortilla topped with camarones, krab, and perfectly cooked pulpo rounds. Both dishes were served with a burning hot green sauce that must have been 85% hot fresh ground chilies. But a great flavor under all the heat and particularly good with the empenadas. Not for the faint of heart or tongue or stomach, however.
Also on 8th, Mi Rinconcito is under new ownership. A converted house a couple blocks west of my favorite El Zarape, the place under the previous owners offered cotillas with nopales in red chili sauce which was an awesome dish unavailable anywhere elsewhere in town, but many of their dishes were just ordinary. The new ownership has introduced more mariscos along with an extensive menu featuring $4.50 lunch specials during the week. So far, everything I've tried has been decent, including a good red chile, good chili relleno, decent enchilada, adequate green chili, and pretty good enchiladas camarones. I can't give the place a rave, and the service has been inconsistent, but it is worth trying.
The most popular of the new Mexican offerings in town is Las Palapas, a taco house at 16th and 5th Ave. Though the menu is very limited (no rice, no beans, no burritos, no lunch specials, etc), it is nice to have a place focusing on basic baja style tacos--fish tacos, al pastor tacos, and asada tacos, all available with corn or flour tortillas. A salsa bar with salsas, cabbage, onions, etc lets you decorate the tacos to your taste. I also like the outdoor al pastor grill, just like you see with the street vendors in Tijuana or other Mexican border cities. And the tacos are tasty.
I have also been fairly pleased with El Viejo Loco, which has opened in the old Las Cazuelas spot next to the bait store on 95 at the east edge of town on the way to the college. I still miss Las Cazuelas, so it was hard for me to give credit to El Viejo Loco, but they do serve decent Mexican food--definitely the best within easy driving distance of the college. They have good red and green chilies (both cooked to where the meat completely shreds), different chili rellenos, well stuffed with cheese and served without sauce, and decent chicken tacos (both regular and folded). I also really like their salsa, which is reminiscent of the chili based salsa of their predecessor. My buddy who loves asada says that theirs is one of the best in town as well. And the service is consistent and faster than the old Las Cazuelas.
Anyway, I think all these places, while not my absolute favorites (check my previous post on Yuma Mexican food) are worth checking out. Your results may differ.
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