tacos baja ensenada
5385 whittier blvd.
los angeles, CA 90022
i couldn't make it out here during my last trip to L.A. because it was quite a drive to east L.A. i heard it wasn't the safest neighborhood either, so i needed a friend in tow. the drive alone here was fun - admiring the local hispanic community landscape which included vibrantly colored storefronts and signage and wild wall murals. the very awesome A. who has lived in L.A. for many years was even entertained by the drive through the "hood" for what i have researched as "the best fish taco in LA." the rec actually came from dorothy, ex-LA chowhound (SCARF) now moderator for the houston chowhound yahoo group. all her LA recommendations are taken very seriously.
the front door. notice it got an A rating from the health inspector by the sign in the window. why is it that i expect the really yummy ethnic dives to have at least a B- or C? no air conditioning inside, but lots of outdoor seating.
my two tacos and campechana.
close up of my tacos. shrimp taco on the left, fish taco on the right.
taco de pescado close up. the fish was battered, fried and tasted amazingly light and crispy - not greasy at all. i was VERY impressed. i loved the finely chopped cabbage and the addition of fresh tomatoes and red onion. cream sauce and red sauce were both good. i would have liked more cilantro, but was too lazy to request it.
taco de camaron. this taco was good too, but the shrimp were slightly overcooked and not as crispy as the fish. the texture and flavor of the fish taco was much more enjoyable.
campechana. i've had a lot of campechanas in houston that have had way too much ketchup in them. this is the first one i've had that i wanted more ketchup in. after the addition of mexican hot sauce, it was more palatable. the seafood was fresh, however everything tasted a little too chewy and the sauce too watery.
the campechana contained avocado, shrimp, octopus, fish, scallops, and clams.
i definitely recommend tacos baja ensenada for the food and the experience of visiting the neighborhood. we have a huge population of hispanics in houston, but no one part of town which so proudly displays their culture.
the next day, the very awesome A. took me to rubio's, a popular fast food chain which started in san diego and is known for their fish tacos. A. liked TBE but preferred rubio's salsas and wanted to take me there. we went to the marina del rey location.
here is their fish taco especiale which is served on 1 thicker corn tortilla (opposed to 2 thin ones that i usually see). the tortilla had a rubbery texture and tasted store bought. the taco was "special" due to the addition of guacamole, jack and cheddar cheeses, and onion/cilantro mix, but there was barely any discernable cheese, onion, or cilantro and an embarrassingly miserly amount of guac. this taco which predictably wasn't as good as tacos baja ensenada was still a gajillion times better than berryhill's fish tacos in houston. the fried fish, green cabbage, and white sauce combination was tasty. onion cilantro mix, which i manually added, was gratis from the condiment bar and also included several salsas to choose from: smokey chipotle (a little too smokey for me), salsa picante (nice heat), and salsa verde (skipped).