Ahh, New Year’s Resolutions. Plenty of people will be setting themselves up for failure by making unrealistic resolutions for the coming year. They set these grand, high goals, which are rarely met, which leads them down a road of depression, worthlessness and despair. My plan is to set small, very attainable goals, setting myself up for success and joy. I’ll call each one a “Mini-rez”. The point is to not set too many, or make them too difficult. For instance, I am going to make a mini-rez to not smoke this year. No, I don’t smoke, but I could. And if I did, I would definitely want to quit. If I can just still not smoke, I will feel successful. I can do this.
I ran into Debbie this morning and she told me her New Year’s resolution is to eat more Italian food. She made a lasagna last night and is having pizza for lunch. This is exactly my point…a perfect mini-rez. The big stuff in my life will improve or it won’t, believe me, the list is long, but putting all of that stress on myself starting January 1st seems cruel. I need to give myself a well deserved break this year. Wait…is that a resolution?
Many people plan big things for New Year’s Eve. They get dressed up, buy tickets to a fancy event, and have reservations for a 5 course prix-fixe meal somewhere fabulous. They drink champagne, stay up past midnight, kiss loved ones (or sometimes strangers depending on that champagne) and spend New Year’s day nursing their hang-overs.
We can’t let a little thing like New Year’s Eve slow down this blog. We’re dedicated! So, we spent our New Year’s Eve eating dinner at The Taco Stand. If you have driven by, you will agree that there is almost always a huge line that goes down the block. But not on New Year’s Eve. It was the perfect time to go!
There are four Taco Stands in San Diego but for some reason, our Encinitas location can’t get the fresh, hot churros. That makes my friend Jennifer and her family very sad.
The Taco Stand sees large, ugly pipes on the ceiling as a canvas for opportunity, decorating them with classic pictures. Nice touch!
Their menu is simple, and very affordable. Most tacos (which are substantial is size) cost $3-$4.
Take advantage of their beautiful outdoor patio.
After you order, visit this fantastic salsa bar. Unlike all of the other places we have been, they label which ones are spicy! No more guessing wrong while your tongue is on fire. Their marinated red onions and cilantro cream are delicious. Actually, everything at the salsa bar is really great!
Every corner of every table comes with this handy drink holder. Who invented something so simple yet so useful? They are genius!
Our youngest ordered a carne asada burrito WITH NOTHING ELSE ON IT. It was hefty in size, with tons of meat and a perfectly crisp tortilla. All of the condiments were on the side, placed safely in their own containers with no danger of contaminating the quesadilla.
carne asada quesadilla
The rest of us ordered tacos and beer.
And tacos. And beer.
And more tacos.
grilled fish tacos
Hannah was brave and ordered the Nopal tacos. The green things are cactus! (Not the avocado, the other green things) To make these tacos more appealing, they melt and crisp a layer of cheese against the tortilla. By the time that is done, and they throw some of their wonderful, creamy sauce inside, you could put anything else in there and it would taste great. Even cactus!
It was recommended by a friend to order an Al Pastor taco. When I saw this fine gentleman proudly slicing the marinated pork off the rotisserie, I was pretty sure it would be good. It wasn’t just good. It ROCKED!
And these are the carne asada fries. It’s like getting steak nachos with fries instead of tortilla chips. Which is kind of ironic since The Taco Stand claims to be a traditional Tijuana-style taco stand. Whatever, I’m sure they were delicious and they disappeared quickly.
carne asada fries
And now we must discuss the Corn on the Cob. This corn is covered in a mixture of mayonnaise, Parmesan cheese and chili powder. Being more of a purist when it comes to corn, this one isn’t for me. But when I tell you that Tracy LOVES this corn, I mean her eyes glaze over, she hums romantic melodies and she is filled with complete euphoria as it lay before her. Hannah, who has had Mexican corn numerous times, said this one isn’t quite as decadent or as spicy as other ones she has had, but she loved it all the same.
Later, the place had cleared out but we were still having fun. One of the servers came by and asked those of us seated against this wall to lean forward. “Excuse me?” we asked. “Please just lean FORWARD”. So we did, and she quickly plucked all of the pillows out from behind us! Clearly they were ready to close, even if were weren’t ready to leave. Ok, ok, we get the hint! And honestly, we did feel pretty cool, closing a joint down on New Year’s Eve at our age. Even if it was only 8:30 pm.
With so many taco shops here in Encinitas, what really makes the Taco Stand shine above the others? Is it their homemade tortillas? Is it the high quality meat they use? Maybe it’s their awesome salsa bar. But if you ask Hubby, the main reason to eat here is this: Why would you eat tacos at a regular place when you can eat tacos whilst looking at a half naked woman being groped by a snake and octopus?
Go for the tacos, not the burritos. It’s called THE TACO STAND. Listen to them! All of the corn tortillas used in the tacos are made fresh from scratch. My three favorite tacos in order are: Al Pastor (pork), Camaron (spicy shrimp), Nopal (cactus). I have referred to other taco shops in the past as CTS (crap taco shops) due to the lower quality of ingredients and the fact that they all taste the same to me. They are a dime a dozen and I can’t really tell one from the next. The Taco Stand is not a CTS. They are unique in many ways, all good ones.
Instead of lobster and caviar, we sent off 2017 with cheap, delicious tacos. Eaten with cold beer and warm friends. Perfect.
Next week’s blog will be at Urbn on Sunday, January 7th at 5:30pm
764 S Coast Hwy 101