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Chula Vista (San Diego) chow safari

gourmaniac | Apr 13, 200509:16 AM

Armed with my list gleaned from Chowhound (special thanks to Buddha), I decided on this trip to San Diego, I would avoid the usual suspects and dine exclusively on tacos in Chula Vista. I know that if you live in San Diego, that Chula Vista is not likely to be a Chowish destination but I like the idea of exploring a neighborhood. Also you in California have no idea what passes for tacos in the Northeast. The highlights of the trip were two Mariscos, Karina and Matzalan. These have delicious food at good value and obviously cater to locals. I stopped at Karina (Broadway) late on Saturday and enjoyed a marlin taco, with a rich fish flavor and spicy sauce and an octopus taco (tako taco in Japanese). The octopus slices were tender and delicious and the light chili and cream sauce accentuated the sweetness. At Mariscos Matzalan (3rd at Palomar, I had a half dozen raw oysters, one of which could have been fresher, and a standard fish taco that was excellent. This place had a lot of Mexican families eating on Sunday night and had a nice neighborhood feeling to it. Breakfasts were at Coco’s, which was mediocre, and Aunt Emma’s Pancake House that was really good and quite the bargain ($3.49 for two pancakes and any omelette, or two eggs and sausage. One day was spent driving to the desert state parks and a corn dog and a slice of apple pie in Julian. This was a glorious day due to the desert flowers and an almost spiritual solitude but the food was so-so. I ended the day on a high note back in Chula Vista, with a couple of, an el pastor tacos at El Gordo (H Street and 5th),which were excellent. I also tried to find the Omikase place at 1216 3rd Avenue (Kaji Sushi?), which was closed on Sunday (despite a sign to the contrary). All in all, I had a delightful eating experience here and of note, my meals averaged about $10.

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