Friday, May 05, 2006

A Fish Tacos Tale

Many years ago we walked into a taqueria, a well-known Mexican restaurant chain which shall remain nameless. Michael and the girl-de-jour raved about it, especially about the freshness and quality. None of us ordered the large platters of food, or the specials, choosing to order ala carte. Between us we only had a couple of fish tacos, a burrito, and three sodas, with a small container of chips on the side. The food was so-so, nothing out of the ordinary. The fish tacos tasted like Mrs. Pauls or Gortons frozen "stick fish" with some wilted shredded cabbage and a sour cream sauce. They were nothing like the tacos I enjoyed in Ensenada. The bill with tax came to about $25 USD --- YIKES! I looked at the paper plates in front of us. That's it? For that kind of money, I could feed half the neighborhood, and still have money left over for brewskies! I vowed never again to eat their overpriced food. Mark liked the place, and once we stopped at a location on the way to a ballgame. He was driving, I had no choice; but no thank you, I didn't eat.

I have enjoyed grilled fish tacos with salsa, but the battered and fried versions served at some restaurants never tasted fresh to me, and the shredded cabbage was too soggy. Then I read an article in Gourmet written by Calvin Trillin about Tacos Baja Ensenada. I had to find this place, and Mark joined me. I had written down the address on a piece of paper, but left it at home, (DOH!) so we began our adventure on Whittier Blvd. near the I-710 Long Beach Freeway, and travelled east. Just past the intersection of Atlantic and Whittier, we found it. Now at this point I could go on about how the angels sang a heavenly chorus, and how the moon and stars sparkled and lit up the sky, but the article in Gourmet said it already. Apparently Mr. Trillin has been here before, his articles are framed and posted on the walls of the indoor dining area. These fish tacos are NOTHING like that other place! And I have yet to try anything that comes close. Bring your appetite and plan on staying a while to enjoy a leisurely meal of fish tacos, burritos, cocteles de mariscos, and cool drinks.

Tacos Baja Ensenada
5385 Whittier Blvd.
Los Angeles

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