Fish Tacos And Life Lessons
After spending over 20 years in California and traveling exclusively to beach destinations on vacations, I have slowly become an culinary expert and certainly a connoisseur of fish tacos. Fish tacos are representative of a culture, enjoyed by surfers, fisherman, watermen and other sea loving mammals – yup I’m also talking about Big Larry sitting at the end of your local harbor bar crushing Budweisers.
The cool thing about fish tacos is that they are like a Bob Dylan song. The recipe has been borrowed many times and often improved. Think Jimi Hendrix singing All Along The Watchtower, or Axl Rose singing Knocking On Heavens Door. It’s what we do here in America, we take an idea and make it better, sometimes legally and sometimes not, (err … Zuckerberg).
If you go to Mexico and order fish tacos you may be surprised and possibly somewhat disappointed. Of course I’m talking about mainland Mex, where Mexicans live and work, not where rich white folks go to pretend they’re in Mexico, like your boss’s retreat in Palmilla, where you never leave the grounds.
When you order fish tacos in downtown Puerto Vallarta, Cabo or Zihuatenejo from a local restaurant or street vendor you will be surprised. It’s most often a soft corn tortilla with nothing but grilled fish, diced onions and a lime. That is an authentic Mexican fish taco.
Like we do with everything, many American eateries have taken that recipe and bastardized it to the point where you can no longer see, let alone taste the fish. There are however some restaurants that maintain some quality & consistency and the dignity of the fish taco. That’s what this article is about – maintaining quality and consistency in your life, which is best portrayed in your approach to the almighty fish taco.
Here are the essential soul ingredients that should be present in your fish taco recipe.
- Corn Tortilla – Gotta be traditional. Flour tortillas are about as authentic as white rice.
- Mahi Mahi – You need a white fish, preferably Mahi Mahi, Ahi is nice too. I personally go grilled or blackened but I know some fatties … I mean foodies, that prefer deep fried, which is tasty but certainly not healthy.
- Cabbage – Green shredded cabbage all the way. Don’t half-ass your life or your taco by using lettuce. Purple cabbage if you must, but for proper street cred, go green.
- Pico de Gallo – chopped tomato, onion and chilis – Necessario!
- Beans – Pinto or black, never refried.
- White Sauce – Gotta have the Baja Fish Sauce. Best not to know whats in it.
What Doesn’t Belong in Your Baja Fish Tacos:
Rice, Red Onions, Mangos, Cole Slaw, Corn, Radishes – Less is more grasshopper, Less Is More.
The true fish taco aficionados use an oversized tortilla and char both sides on the grill so you get a slight crunch when you bite into it. Cholula is always recommended.
Here are some of our favorite places to enjoy life and fish tacos.
- Sunnyside, N. Lake Tahoe, CA – Perhaps the largest fish tacos in California. This lakeside restaurant and hotel serves up generous pieces of fish served grilled, Cajun or beer battered.
- South Beach Bar & Grill, Ocean Beach, San Diego – Home of the world famous Mahi Taco. This bohemian surfer hangout will also serve up wahoo and shark tacos. Enjoy a brew at their long bar and watch sunset and waves crash just outside their window.
- Cholos, North Shore, Oahu – It’s impossible not to stop in for an Ahi taco on the way to the North Shore. Cholos has been serving up tasty tacos and margaritas for over 20 years. Mahalo 🤙
- Tacos Gardenia, Cabo San Lucas – This is where the locals eat – nuff said. Two tacos and a cerveza will run you about $6. You will have to sniff out this location on your own. Hint: its where they catch the fish
- OB’s Pub & Grill, Manhattan Beach, CA – Our local spot for the best fish tacos in the South Bay. Serving up tasty tacos for over 25 years. Tuesdays are packed for these oversized fish tacos served on a char grilled corn tortilla.
- Sayulita Fish Tacos – Sayulita, Mexico – Pretty Much anywhere in this bohemian surf village just outside of Puerto Vallarta.
Surely these are not the only reputable havens that serve up tasty life experiences and fish tacos. Let us know where you get your fish taco on.
Thanks For Reading!