Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Fish Tacos, Chevy, and Me

Fish tacos. They're the quintessential San Diego dish. And so when Chevy decided to take their "Best of" tours to our part of the world, they decided on a "Best of San Diego Fish Taco Tour." They partnered with my friend, local food writer Susan Russo, to tour four fish taco places. She got things organized, coming up with the four tasting venues and suggesting the names of local food bloggers/writers to invite to test the tacos (with the tab picked up by Chevy) and, important to the Chevy folks, test drive brand new Chevy Camaro, Malibu, Equinox, Traverse, and Silverado Hybrid vehicles.

On the day of our tour, a beautiful Saturday afternoon in early May, we were about a dozen, caravanning around town. And we were more than a group of food writers. We also had surfing bloggers and mommy bloggers in tow. Our first stop was Ocean Beach, where we hit South Beach Bar & Grille. The place was mobbed and the crowd a mixed bag of young beach dudes and dudettes and very middle-aged+ locals chowing down on, what else, fish tacos. Our group got two apiece and they were enormous, packed with large pieces of mahi mahi--both grilled and fried--and lots of salsa and other condiments. The fish was delicious but I wasn't a fan of the flour tortillas. I prefer corn for my fish tacos.

From OB, we cruised over to Shelter Island to enjoy the Brigantine's version of fish tacos. Now these did have corn tortillas so I was a little happier. They were also smaller and easier to eat. But I wasn't mad about the flavors. It seemed I was having a Goldilocks moment.

Onward then to one of my favorite fish spots, Blue Water. Funny thing, Blue Water. They were so busy they weren't exactly able to seat us. So, tailgate party! The husky blue Silverado hybrid was our countertop. Blue Water is next door to El Indio, so of course, they use their corn tortillas. Their fish tacos also include a homemade white sauce to accompany the fish, cheese, cabbage and tomatoes. I enjoyed the grilled mahi mahi version.

 So, by now we've consumed six fish tacos, driven in large trucks and tiny (but so sexy) Camaros and everything in between. But we still have one more stop, World Famous on Pacific Beach Dr. It's closing in on 5 p.m. and the customers there seem to be a happy group, some clearly with some assistance from alcohol because when I got out of the Camaro a couple just leaving the restaurant rushed up to me, gave me a hug, and enthusiastically welcomed me to San Diego. Why bother telling these sweet, inebriated folks that I've lived here since '88? They were so thrilled to be my personal greeting committee!

Since this was our last stop, we also got to enjoy some alcohol ourselves. Beers clearly were in order and they went beautifully with our fish and shrimp tacos. So did the gorgeous oceanfront view.

Now, to me the very best thing about the whole day (after riding in the Camaro; that really was cool for a middle-aged SUV driver) was Chevy's generosity. At Susan Russo's behest, they donated $500 to the San Diego Food Bank's Food 4 Kids Backpack Program. Several friends and I (including Susan) are organizing our second fundraiser for this project. This was our first donation and we couldn't be more thrilled or appreciative!

I also appreciate Chevy letting me use their photos from the day's event. I took mine on my iPhone, which subsequently died and the photos expired with it. Thank you, Chevy, for a fun afternoon in my town and for helping us feed kids!

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