When I found out I would be moving from New York City to San Diego, one of the things I was most excited about was being reunited with amazing Mexican food. I had spent the last two years in New York eating at amazing places, from Michelin-starred restaurants to hole-in-the-wall for pizza spots, and even the occasional halal cart. However, hundreds of restaurants and Seamless orders later, it was clear to me that New York dining has an Achilles heel – good Mexican food.
After three weeks in San Diego, I'm pretty sure I’ve discovered the best taco spot north of the Mexican border. Tacos El Gordo is a Mexican fast casual (maybe fast food?) restaurant located in Chula Vista, a city a few miles south of downtown San Diego. I first went a couple weeks ago with friends from out of town (on the recommendation of a few of my local San Diego friends) and was blown away by how good and cheap the tacos were.
The "adobada" taco (credit: Winston Gu)
They are probably best known for their “adobada” tacos with spicy pork that has been marinated and roasted on a spit. I believe these are more commonly referred to as “al pastor” tacos. Whatever they are called, you can get these tacos for $2 a piece, fully loaded with spicy pork, cilantro, onions, green sauce, and pineapple. The spicy pork is extremely flavorful. If you're lucky, you can get some tender and crispy pieces of pork as it’s carved off the spit.
The taco “shell” is a single soft corn tortilla that’s dipped in oil and toasted a bit before being topped with the meat and vegetables. Everything from the amount of pork and toppings to the single layer corn tortilla made the adobada the perfectly balanced taco. If you’re hungry, I would recommend ordering 3-4 of these as a meal and pairing it with some of the horchata.
Aside from the adobada tacos, I tried the suadero tacos and found them to be tasty, but not nearly as good. I’ve heard that some of the other items are pretty amazing too, but I’ll have to try them the next time I’m down there – hopefully sooner than later.