TRAVEL BLOG: TACO SURF – SAN DIEGO

After a season on the road with the Clippers one thing that surprised Photo of a taco restaurant in San Diegome was how often great food is available at every stop, whether on the plane, at the hotel or in each arena. Some of the best food, though, is found at local spots in the 28 cities we visit every year. So many times during the 2012-13 road trip I would hear about a restaurant from players or coaches or fellow media members that have been on the road before.

This year on Clippers.com, Clippers radio announcer Brian Sieman and I will attempt to bring readers some of that same experience. We will write intermittent accounts of some of the best local places we grab a bite to eat on the road, including comments from other members of the traveling party when applicable or available. The first food-related entry in our 2013-14 travel blog is a review of Taco Surf, a Mexican food restaurant in Pacific Beach, Calif. a few miles from the UCSD campus where the Clippers held training camp.

Taco Surf, located on Mission Blvd. in Pacific Beach, has been around since 1989. It is a corner lot with parking in the back or along the street and the Pacific Ocean less than 100 yards to the West. The place looks a lot like you would imagine a San Diego taco shop might look near the beach. There are two doors in the front plastered with stickers from bands and skate and surf companies. It is reasonable to assume there is 24 years of local music history slapped and stacked on the glass center of the entryway. The ceilings and walls are adorned with surf boards and beachy artwork, there are two televisions playing old surfing videos and 91X the local alternative-rock station was playing faintly in the background.

The menu is loaded with options. There are more than a dozen burritos possibilities ranging from your run of the mill bean and cheese to the delicious carne asada steak or chicken mole. I went for a rather basic menu choice—a hard-shell shredded beef taco and three rolled tacos or taquitos. The shell of the taco was crisp and oily, essentially perfectly tasty and unhealthy. Inside was the meat, lettuce and a pile of shredded cheddar cheese. Of course, I also drenched it with hot sauce, which was spicy enough to make me need extra water.

Photo of Mexican food in San Diego

The rolled tacos were similarly crispy and covered in what may have amounted to half a brick of cheese and a generous helping of guacamole. I liked the hard-shell taco best. All of it was exactly what I would have hoped for, a San Diego take on Mexican cuisine that’s not necessarily available in Los Angeles. The meal was less than $8, including the $1 extra I paid for a side of chips and salsa.

Overall, the food and the scene was worth the trek from La Jolla.