Jaunt down late Sep (now with late update)


What do you think of Emily’s or Ranas?

Expect DD has forgotten more than I’ll ever know about Mexican food but I found food at super cocina to be just okay and terrible tortillas. But DD knows her stuff so take my two cents accordingly.

I just want to double check on this.

Marisco’s German is at 3269 Beyer Blvd, San Diego, CA 92173 per google maps

and Mariscos El Pescador is at 1008 Industrial Blvd, Chula Vista, CA 91911

Isn’t El Pescador closer towards Downtown?

Ha! I do recall trying this place a while back. I enjoyed it, though I honestly had no idea what half the stews were nor the best way of eating said stew. Fun experience, might go there again if I’m close by. Thanks for the recommendation!

Wow, sounds good to me, thanks!

No, you’re right Super Cocina has horrible tortillas and they microwave them which makes them worse :frowning:

I like Ranas but I don’t think they are nearly as good as they used to be and I’m not a fan of their current menu. You used to be able to find some more interesting and less commonly served dishes at Ranas but not any more. It’s basically tacos, burritos, enchiladas and their version of fajitas. They didn’t need to dumb down their menu, and frankly some of their food is starting to taste an awful look like the Del Real product line. They do offer some specials and the Mexican breakfasts are still pretty good. I miss their carnitas, tho’, they were very good.

Haven’t tried Emily’s. I do like the El Comal in NP

Ah…I thought you were referring to the Marisco’s German on Grape St in South Park, which is much closer than El Pescador. And, brain fart, that truck has changed it’s name to Marisco’s 7 Seas. It is still very good.

Yes, El Pescador would be closer to downtown than the Marisco’s German on Beyer. The added bonus with El Pescador is that El Gallito, the torta ahogada truck, is in the same parking lot. So have a fish taco as an appetizer, then walk across the parking lot to El Gallito and get a torta ahogada. It comes two ways, regular or spicy, get the spicy. Messy, filling and delicious.

We’ve stopped going to and recommending El Comal after a trio of lackluster, frankly bad, visits. Service was worse than usual and the entrees were just so uninteresting and poorly executed and plated that we’ve written it off permanently. Too bad, we used to enjoy the place.

Maybe, Cantina Mayahuel for the OP.

Birria at Birrieria Don Rafa. A really different birria that is less chile-oriented than usual. They also serve a pretty good Pozole Rojo that features a nice hunk of pata de puerco within. Another National City birrieria that served a highly satisfying, chile-soaked version was bought out and although they claimed to have kept the birria cook, what was served to us was one dimensional, flat and completely disappointing. Place is out of business now.

I’m sorry to hear that about El Comal. It’s probably been about 8 months since I was last at the NP location. Both service and food were good (not extraordinary) at that time

Night07 shouldn’t be stuck on “Mariscos German”. There are a lot of trucks that have come and gone by that name, and it really is more of a generic term for that type of taco truck.

Mariscos El Pescador is always a safe bet, and as you say, El Gallito is there for a nice change up.

Ah gotcha! Thanks, just was wondering if Google maps was outdated. I had that happen when I was in HK. Said restaurant moved across the island -_-.

Got it, just was hoping for a good place that has fish tacos. I’m personally not a huge fan of taco trucks since I like to sit down and eat but since people were recommending it, thought it was the defacto place to go try it.

If you like lamb and haven’t tried Aqui es Texcoco it would be a good option. It’s in a strip mall in Chula Vista. Pretty good, order at the counter, sit down kinda place.

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Yep, it’s a shame that we’ve run out of patience with El Comal. Indicative
of a good trend, though, in that it’s gotten much, much easier to find
better Mexican food in SD than it was not so long ago. It takes some
driving to get to the good stuff for the most part but just knowing that
you can satisfy a craving is fantastic. As time passes we get more places
that are willing to offer more interesting regional cuisines and that’s an
encouraging trend.

I enjoy your insight on the boards, especially your knowledge of Mexican
food, and envy your opportunity to have learned from Diana Kennedy.

I’ve worked in restaurants and bars around SD for decades, tending bar at
places like the Bratskellar, Alfonso’s, and Dobson’s in the early days.
I’ve no doubt we’ve chanced across each other a some point over the years.

Glad to have had the chance to chat with you.

Jens Herberg

Hi Deckape…thanks so much for the very kind words.

No doubt our paths have crossed at some point:-). I say your knowledge of Mexican food is also pretty well developed and I’ve always, always enjoyed your posts about what you’ve eaten and where, especially the smaller mom & pop places.

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Mmm… I have like a 20% liking of lamb lol. I was never too fond of that gamey taste (worst with goats), but on occasion I do like lamb shanks

Hey all, I just want to say that I did not kick the bucket from eating in SD and want to give a brief update and thanks to all your suggestions.

Day 1

Started off my trip in SD after wandering around the La Jolla area (Couldn’t really see the breakfast menu of Isabel’s Cantina and ended up just munching on a cranberry scone) and wandered back to check out Menya Ultra for lunch.Note, come early, as I just waited in line for about thirty minutes.

Grabbed the chicken karaage and found it to be overall quite juicy though I found it slightly bland. Spritz of lemon was good, though kinda wish it was a wedge and not a thin slice.


Tonkotsu based broth is one of my favorites and I had to try this one out. Overall the noodles had the right bounce and I was fond of that porky broth. Not sure I’d wait in line for it, but I’d definitely go back.

Heading off for dinner, I got to check out the Kettle Room:


Kinda interesting to look around, but I presume the purveyors don’t want me to mess around with the items…


Tried out the chef’s menu with beer pairings though I’m not too much of a drinker.

Started off with a nice pate on toast.


Following the toast, there was the summer squash with octopus. The octopus was well cooked and had that great texture and chew. It was served with the Manta Ray beer which was definitely hoppy… sadly I really don’t care for super hoppy IPAs.


Next gave the tomato salad a shot and I think the chorizo meshed very well with the tomatoes. Came with a RED IPA, which was uhm… very hoppy.


Now comes my entree. I haven’t had steak in a while, so thought I’d give the Wagyu Top Sirloin a shot. Steak was cooked on point, and was fairly well marbled. I actually have a tendency to prefer sirloin since I enjoy eating with a slight chew. Accompaniment was good, and the Homework #6 rounded out the meal with a nice chocolately overtone (it was a Porter).


For the finishing touches, I went with the SeaRose Panna Cotta. I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge dessert person and would have left my selection off if it wasn’t part of the fixed set. I enjoyed the strawberry compote with the pistachio but I’ll leave this evaluation to others. With the dessert came the Red Velvet beer. Very interesting looking stout (it was pink due to beets) and I found it to be sweet.


Capping off the meal were three little fun gummies. Not chewy like Haribo but somewhat soft. A nice fun touch to end the evening.

All in all, I enjoyed my starter and entree, but wasn’t that fond of the pairings and salad/dessert. I think I would have just ordered separately the next time around.

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Day 2/3

Starting off the next morning,


Grabbed some early tacos at Oscar’s Mexican Seafood. Wasn’t too sure what to get, but ended up trying a Smoked Fish Taco and Grilled Spicy Shrimp. The smoked fish had a hint of smoke, but was a little dry (well… they did smoke it…). The spicy shrimp was okay, but the spices seemed to have over powered the natural shrimpy taste. I think I should have just gotten a regular battered fish taco and regular grilled shrimp, but wasn’t feeling too much on fried fish in the morning.

After more wandering, I checked out Pomegranate for dinner. This is really my first time into Russian/Georgian dinner meal and I hope I ordered something on the right track haha…


Starting off my meal, they offered a nice crusty loaf of bread that came with butter and herbs. Nice and warm, the meal started off on a great note.


I got a half order serving of borscht. I enjoyed the soup though I wasn’t too sure what to do with the giant hunk of sour cream. Not a big fan and they forgot to set it aside when I asked. I thought the soup had a rich enough flavor to go without the addition of the sour cream.


Lastly my entree arrived and it was the day’s special. The server described the dish as a Russian/Georgian meatball/loaf and I was more than happy to try her recommendation. I believe she called it a Kotleti (Kateti? Cutlet…?), in any case, it reminded me of a flattened meatball or a hamburger at this point, but it was remarkably juicy. I am uncertain on the preparation, but I’m thinking there’s a strong concentration of parsley and garlic.

Overall, a pretty big fan of Pomegranate’s dinner and would definitely come back to sample other things.

Day 3

To start off the morning, I decided to give Great Maple a try. I was feeling a little hungry in the morning and I may have gone a little too far.


I decided to go with the house smoked beef brisket popover and… well… the thing is huge. The smoked brisket was nicely falling apart, hollandaise sauce was on point with the eggs, and fingerling potatoes were pipping hot. I can’t recall ever really having a popover, but it had a somewhat rubbery top with a nice puffy interior. I think I’d enjoy it more with a bit of jam, but the savory meal still went well with the popover.

Towards the end of the day, I headed to Mariscos El Pescador. The food truck wasn’t around any notable areas, just in a far corner parking lot but had many customers.


This time around I went with the grilled fish and grilled shrimp tacos. I definitely enjoyed the grilled fish and shrimp at Mariscos more than the smoked fish and spicy shrimp at Oscar’s. Very good!


I then turned around and ordered the octopus taco as well since the octopus at the Kettle room was still in my mind. The taco was honestly fairly plain but that octopus definitely hit the spot.

Before leaving SD, I grabbed a cake from extraordinary desserts and two other small items.


I recall they had a great raspberry coffee cake, and this time around they had a blackberry one. I found this one to be great once reheated. Not too sweet with a nice crumble. Note the flowers are uh wilted after flying back and sticking this in my fridge. Oops, it was far more presentable at the bakery.


Following that, tried their strawberry croissant as well. Unfortunately the croissant was not too flakey and it actually contained a custard inside resulting in a more well… mushy interior.


Lastly, brought a cake home for family, and it was a pain to bring along on the flight back. I thought the box was actually going to be huge to fit the cake, but they left the top open. I’m pretty sure TSA has seen a fair share of these things, but carrying the thing was annoying. Cake was beautiful and the cake itself had a nice light fruit filling. Though at this point in time, I found extraordinary desserts to be extremely expensive (cake cost more than my one way flight…).

Thank you to everyone that helped me put together a food itinerary. I had a great time!


El Comal in North Park is pretty solid for the items we typically get: chicken soup and chichinita pibil. Their home made corn tortillas are a big plus!

Excellent trip report; pictures were helpful also. For future trips, Deckape mentioned Cantina Mayahuel (on Adams). If you’re into mole, theirs is the best I’ve ever had (they make it themselves). Only available on Tuesdays and Fridays. You have your choice of black or red or half-and-half (on a standard grilled chicken breast). I prefer the red, but they’re both great. I try to hit this place whenever I’m in town – not lately, alas.

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I recall some time ago asking about the mole at Cantina Mayahuel, and was told that they make the red but source the black. Wherever the black comes from (house made or not), I agree that both the red and black are about the best to be found in SD.

It’s considerably better than what they serve at Guelaguetza in L.A. as well, IMO.