City Tacos: Next-Level Yum!

#15 in our series “Eating Up And Down 101” in Encinitas

Our first visit to City Taco is on the heals of some serious dental work for me. The pain requires me to nibble like a rodent. Had I known this would be my last real meal for a few weeks, I would have ordered more tacos. Writing this right now is total torture. I’m so hungry!

Mas Tacos!

City Taco has seven locations throughout San Diego, including one at Petco Park and right here at the Lumberyard in Encinitas. Besides having several outlets, City Tacos has many taco options, including vegetarian and even Paleo. They also have great deals on Taco Tuesdays: 10% off food, $2.50 Mexican beers, and live DJ starting at 5 pm. Fun!

It’s Friday evening, and Spring is just around the corner. There’s plenty of outdoor seating, including a large area with a fire pit table. We grab that since it’s a little chilly out, and a server comes right over to light it for us.

But first, we need to order. It’s a walk-in-place-your-order-and-put-this-number-on-your-table situation.

Summoning the Yum

Our Margaritas land on the table first, and the tequila is a generous pour! In fact, by the time I finish it, I’m feeling no pain. Dental work? Psh.

Next, house-made chips and guacamole show up along with our sides of frijoles. The guac is topped with all the good stuff: queso fresco, tomatoes, cilantro, and onions. I’m living dangerously by crunching on the chips, but the margaritas are liquid courage!

I order the Frijoles Veggies: beans with asadero and cotija cheeses, tomatoes, onions, cilantro and grilled cebollitas (spring onions). My frijoles are nice and saucy, and very yummy.

Andy’s Frijoles Charros is the big bean hero though! It’s topped with three kinds of pork: chorizo, ham, and carnitas! I sneak a few bites. The carnitas is very tender. Frijoles Charros for the win!

Mi Tacos

For Taco Numero Uno, I choose Pescado-Mahi Mahi, with pickled red onion, habanero, strawberries, cilantro, chipotle aioli, and micro greens that include edible flower petals. This is like a salad in a taco! The habanero is not overpowering, and the strawberries are a nice, sweet surprise.

Taco Dos is a Chili Relleno taco. I love chili rellenos (stuffed chilis), and I order them whenever possible. So a chili relleno in a taco is a must-try. City Tacos serves up a beer-battered chili guero stuffed with Oaxacan and cotija cheeses and pasilla chili. It’s topped with tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and lime aioli. This one is my favorite!

Su Tacos

Andy starts with the SDCA Taco, San Diego Carne Asada. What disappears quickly right under his nose is grilled New York steak, guacamole, tomato, onions, cilantro, and spicy chipotle salsa roja, all wrapped up in a very yummy taco.

Andy is all about trying camarones (shrimp) whenever they’re on the menu. This taco is stuffed with grilled shrimp, topped with chili de arbol, cilantro, tomato, onion, asadero cheese and a lime chipotle aioli.

Sharing is Caring

It is not easy to share a taco, but we also grab the “March Taco Of The Month” to split, “Wild Coast Tacos.” It’s loaded with all the seafood! We’re talking shrimp, scallops, calamari, and mahi mahi, topped with Mexican tomato sauce, arugula, corn, sunflower seeds, and a bacon-lime aioli. It’s totally guilt free! The sunflower seeds give it an old school, hippy ’70s vibe. I’m embracing the sunflower seeds in tacos a little more at 56 than I did as a 6 year old!

Topping off Tacos

Sunset, fire pit, and relaxing music on the patio totally adds to our groove. So does City Taco’s proximity to JoJo’s for ice cream, as is our custom, and a short jaunt to Moonlight Beach to catch Friday’s last rays.