Taco Loco is the Tito's Tacos of OC. But at least we found some good coffee.
During my pre-Chowhound awakening days, a friend and I visited the little curbside taco stand called Taco Loco in Laguna Beach about 10 years ago and subsequently pretty much forgot everything about the experience (though my friend was quick to recall some screaming kids next to us who loudly proclaimed their desire to go to Taco Bell instead).
This Saturday we were visiting the national archives in Laguna Niguel and decided to check it out again for lunch.
We ordered a pretty broad selection of their tacos, to try and get a sense of the sorts of fillings they offer. We noticed several fillings had the option of being "blackened"
We ordered 5 tacos:
Mushroom and Tofu
Blackened chicken taco
Blackened squid taco
We ordered each topped with guacamole, and a cup of mild and spicy salsa on the side.
First of all, lets get this out of the way... 5 tacos and 1 beer with tax and tip cost about $30. At a curbside taco stand. OK, so I admit that with the dogs in purses, plastic boobs, abounding surfers and nary a latino in sight, we shouldn't have been surprised.
Secondly, I'd say that the overarching flavor profile of the tacos was outrageously, supremely, utterly and inexorably bland. My god man, how do you bland up deep fried pork? The spicy salsa-- bland (with a tingle at the back end). The "blackened" chicken... bland. (And the blackening was more like a dusting of grey specks on white meat chicken). The lobster taco had some flavor, but at $8.00 it had better have something.
The musroom and tofu taco was the best, but probably because our expectations for it and this place had dipped so low by the point we tasted it that there was no where to go but up.
Please people, for the love of carnitas, give this place a miss. I don't know how this place has survived for survived for so long.
On a more positive note, we did have some delicious coffee (roasted in house, with a giant machine taking up most of the indoor cafe area) at the Laguna Coffee Company. Big burlap sacks of green coffee beans take up much of the entryway. The owner has even planted a coffee tree in the front, and you can get an up close and personal look at it. You can even sneak a berry off the branch.... the coffee fruit tastes like sweet red peppers. The berries were darker and the seeds were greener than the ones we saw in Dalat, Vietnam. http://www.travelpod.com/travel-photo...
Just don't ask to use the toilet if you haven't bought anything (or if they think you haven't bought anything, when in fact your wife bought you a caffe latte).
640 S Coast Hwy Ste 1, Laguna Beach, CA 92651
Laguna Coffee Co
1050 S Coast Hwy Ste B, Laguna Beach, CA 92651