Chowing down on tacos in San Diego is the equivalent of scarfing a Mission-style burrito in San Francisco, best enjoyed in their habitat surrounded by like-minded eaters. Except in San Diego you pair your food with either a microbrew, craftbrew or nanobrew of your choice and the choices are overwhelming in terms of both food and drink. So, what would any n00b do? Well, stick to your neighborhood so you don’t get a DUI and when there are a ton of places to choose from anyway, it’s not a bad plan. Luckily, we stayed in an awesome Airbnb in North Park with a great host who recommended the first place on the list:
Do you like ceviche, sushi, smoked salmon or seafood in general? Okay then, this is the place for you and I know because I love all of those things and I’ve been here twice! We’ve had nearly every seafood tostada because the flavors are light and fresh with a crispy shell. You can get and should get additional tostadas since the seafood is piled high! Our favorites are the Salmon Tostada (marinated with dill and vodka, tuna, lime slices, pink salt, almonds, arugula, apples, pine nuts with balsamic vinegar), Tostadas de Pulpo (Octopus, olives, mushrooms, chile de arbol oregano, garlic, onions, white wine, extra virgin olive oil) and Sandia (Ahi tuna, watermelon, red onion, jicama, apples, cucumber, mango, peanuts, soy, lemon juice, orange, chipotle mayonnaise) paired with a banana fresca. I know, no beer but trust me the frescas are worth forgoing alcohol for at least one meal.
At $3.50 a taco, it was difficult deciding which two tacos to choose from both land and sea, but picking my beer cocktail was easy, A Mangonada-Michelada hybrid made with Negra Modelo, a hyperlocal nanobrew (Mexico City is adjacent to San Diego, right?). Then, I ordered an ahi adobo taco and a raw ahi & jicama taco in a crispy shell – two great flavors made from ahi tuna! I would order the same thing again, no doubt about it.
The Liberty Public Market has a lot of great food to satiate most appetites, but I was drawn to Wicked Maine Lobster’s tacos with massive chunks of lobster. A layer of melted cheese is seared onto a corn tortilla, cabbage, lobster and topped off with clam chowder. I added some hot sauce and scarfed down this bicoastal taco with a tasty Anvil Ale ESB (Extra Special/Strong Bitter) from Bottlecraft because San Diego also has an insane craft beer scene. And yes, most breweries will let you bring tacos and other tasty vittles.
We had two mouthwatering and porky tacos: carnitas and carnitas hash, a Friday secret menu special. The carnitas was perfect on its own, so skip the hash unless you want a half potato-half pork taco. They poke fun at vegans here but also give us vegetable die-hards a colorful beet terrine. There’s something for every appetite so, get in line now!
A few other places we checked out:
- Beer Fish: Crab, lobster and oysters with a sweet beer list.
- Belching Beaver Brewery: If you like beer for dessert, get a stout with/out peanut butter.
- Coin-Op Game Room: Craft brews and pinball, duh.
- Crack Shack: We all got a chicken sandwich and wished we ordered just the delicious chicken! The sides are huge so share.
- Great Maple: These donuts are more hipster than anything in Portland. Make sure there are at least 6 in your party before ordering it with a round of insulin.
- Oscar’s Mexican Seafood: Skip the tacos and share a Fisherman’s Torta and a cup of soup.
- Soda & Swine: I had a beer cocktail that was inspired by Humphrey Slocombe’s Secret Breakfast ice cream and it was divine.