A Mexican Tale

how? is it a giant family sized portion? guacamole is (should be!) super simple with just a few ingredients. El Jardin lists tomatoes in their guac, maybe I am triggered by that haha

All I can say, MrK, is that it’s far superior to any guac I’ve ever had. It’s at a different level. And, yes it is a good sized portion, at least it was the one time I had it. Too much for one person.

I’ve heard that most of the menu has changed since sometime last year (can’t recall the last time I was there), so I’m glad this gem is still available.

I’ll try it again next time I go – maybe it was the phase of the moon…

The good news is that I had a substantially better experience at El Jardin last week than I did on my original visit. Heads and shoulders better. But I still don’t get why everyone is gushing about how great this restaurant is and I’m not sure I understand why the James Beard nom. I’m sure part of it is me. I’ve spent an awful lot of time on mainland Mexico and the food there is different than Baja or here in SD. And while I certainly don’t go into any Mexican inspired restaurant here expecting it to be like Mexico, I continue to be underwhelmed by those that are billing themselves as “elevated” or non-taco shop food. And that was the case at El Jardin Wednesday night.

None of the dishes were flat out misses as they were the first time, but neither were they knock your socks off good. The Sonora Dogo was a playful riff on the Sonora Dog, the Citrus Crudo was excellent, and the fideos decent. One taco was good, the other average as was the tostada. It was a nice, pleasant meal.

I want to like this restaurant, I really do. But if you gave me a choice between El Jardin and Lola 55, I’d pick Lola every time.

Funny that’s how I feel about Lola. The meats I have gotten there have been poorly trimmed, too chewy, too fatty, etc. Bad luck i guess.

I agree with the El Jardin James Beard thing. while I certainly enjoyed our dinner and loved the taquitos and mole dish, I wasn’t wowed the way I have been at other Beard restaurants

I haven’t been as excited about Lola55 as others. I’ve only had a couple of things on the menu, but they’ve been pretty meh. Interesting and well-presented, but smallish and meh. Decent prices.

In the style and manner of Fake Name, I’ll say this: The tortillas are good. Sturdy, too.

I got a small bowl of attractive but almost tasteless lukewarm spice-level zero green pozole, about the worst I’ve had anywhere. It would go on my “What not to order at San Diego Restaurants” list, if I had one.

The Baja-style fish taco is interesting, but I’ve had many at taco trucks that are better. And the trucks have tasty hot sauce you can add. And some hotness is needed on the Lola55 Baja taco because the pickled serranos here are about as hot as bell peppers, and they don’t have hot sauce. It’s a strange, overly-complex rendition and they don’t want you to mess with it.

And the pork belly al pastor taco (is that an oxymoron?) sounds interesting, but again, the melange here is way too complex and the flavors are in conflict, IMO. I like al pastor much more when it’s made with meat carved from a big skewer.

But, there are other things on the menu that sound interesting, and we’ll get back when we’re in the mood to go downtown for something small and simple. We like the atmosphere, too.


Eater had a nice article about this. Seems this is the first SD restaurant – ever – to be reviewed by the NYT. And what a highly positive review it is.

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Still don’t get it…

Me either. I tried them at brunch/lunch. The chicken tostada was poor, the tortilla stale tasting. James Beard, really?

I wonder if it has to do with time of day and/or day of the week.

I’m anxious to get back and see for myself.

P.S. But if the guac hasn’t changed, it’ll still blow my socks off. (So this time I won’t wear socks. The last ones that blew off there were very expensive, and a gift, too.)