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REVIEW: Los Cotijas, Tustin

Das Ubergeek | Feb 1, 200806:27 AM

The problem with fish tacos in Orange County is that the two places I love to get them -- El Taco Nazo in (Guada-)La Habra and Senor Baja in Anaheim Hills -- are so far away that they might as well not be in Orange County. (Really. ETN is almost in Whittier, and SB is one exit away from Riverside County.)

So I was reading about Los Cotijas, which is in Tustin, and I figured, why not give it a try? Tustin is at least nearer my office (which is pretty much IN the Orange Crush).

Well, I had problems at work, and then, realising that a lot of small shops are cash only, I had to stop at the bank to get money. I got to Los Cotijas at 7:40 PM, and they close at 8... but when I placed my order, they didn't give me any grief about it, just fried up the fish and away we went.

The first thing you'll notice is that the tacos are HUGE. I mean, seriously, the tortillas are eight inches in diametre. So two is plenty -- normally at ETN or SB I get three. They also don't have shrimp, which is a real shame, because the fish tacos were really good. Not quite up to ETN, SB or Tacos Baja Ensenada, but close enough that it will scratch the itch when I can't deal with the long hard slog up Beach Boulevard or the Thursday-night traffic on the outbound 91.

The fish itself is almost unseasoned... so you will need to do a little surgery to make sure you get the whole effect. You'll get a squeeze bottle of somewhat spicy salsa and a lemon wedge. Douse the taco in the salsa -- really -- and lemon juice. Then manouevre the fish so it's surrounded by the sauces and cabbage. Take a big bite... yum. The fish was juicy (though one piece was really fishy-tasting) and the crema, pico de gallo, salsa and lemon made a nice spicy sauce.

I'm still going to seek out El Taco Nazo whenever I can (OMG those shrimp tacos) but in the meantime, Los Cotijas is a worthy substitute. There's one in Garden Grove, which I didn't know until after I went to Tustin, but I'm not sure if the one listed in Anaheim is related ("Los Cotijas Mexican Grill" on Katella) -- anyone know?

Las Cotijas
642 E 1st St, Tustin, CA 92780

Los Cotijas Taco Shop
11951 Euclid St Garden, Grove, CA

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