Thursday, September 11, 2014

California Tacos To Go

I've lived in Florida for about 18 months now, and I've met people who relocated here from the Northeast, the Midwest, the South, Texas, Cuba, even England, but not so many from California (why move from a sunshine state to another sunshine state, unless you want to trade earthquakes for hurricanes?). Still, someone felt there was a market for San Diego-style fish tacos that was being underserved in the Tampa Bay area; this is the enigma that is California Tacos To Go. Tucked away on a busy and utilitarian curve of Bearss Road just east of I-275 (where it intersects with Skipper Road), I would have never even known to seek this place out had it not been for Guy Fieri, whose Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives show stopped in a couple of years back so he could indulge in the house specialty, fried grouper tacos. I happened to be in the neighborhood running errands one day and decided to stop in for lunch, ordering two grouper tacos, a set of 3 San Diego "rolled tacos" filled with chicken, and a horchata to wash it all down. Each fish taco comes with a double corn tortilla (better to hold all the fillings, I suppose) and includes a healthy helping of tasty tempura-battered grouper, crunchy fresh cabbage, a tangy white sauce (mayo, yogurt, lime juice, salt, Mexican oregano, cumin, dill, capers, and arbol chiles), and pico de gallo, plus sour cream, guacamole, and shredded cheese as add-ons (I asked the girl to hold these last three, but she included them anyway - guess she liked my charm).  Sitting outside (there is no indoor dining room) on a warm Florida morning indulging in these beautiful tacos and listening to the surf (or was that the whoosh of a garbage truck?), I almost felt like I was on a California beach.  The rolled tacos weren't much to speak of (they were deep-fried, almost like flautas, and piled sloppy high with guac and cheese) and there are other intriguing items on the menu (like burritos with fries inside in lieu of rice/beans, deemed "California-style"), but I'm quite sure it's the fish tacos that will bring me back (you can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave...)

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