After tossing around various ideas, we settled on Old Town San Diego because lil' sis said she remembered seeing handmade tortillas.
I really wanted to see the Hotel del Coronado because it was constructed entirely of wood and was the inspiration for Richard Matheson to write "Somewhere in Time." (The "Somewhere in Time" movie, starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour, was filmed at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Michigan.) Lil' sis said it was better to save it for summer. So perhaps I'll be back.
It was a bright, sunny day, although a bit breezy and chilly. The main street had plenty of tourist shops and Mexican restaurants.
We were lured into Old Town Mexican Cafe and Cantina by seeing these tortillas being handmade. According to the website, they make 7,000 corn and flour tortillas a day. Actually, many of the restaurants featured handmade tortillas.
I didn't notice until we were nearly done eating but birds flew around inside the restaurant. Eeek! Especially when there's bird poop on the rafters and diners were seated below. That can't be sanitary. Other than that, colorful kitschy decor with live music.
Warm tortillas and salsa.
My brother ordered the carnitas plate with freshly made tortillas for $12.50.
The meat looked sparse, but we all picked from his plate and there was still some left over. The pork was fried crispy, but still juicy in the middle.
I realize you can't see the meat so well in this photo, but you can see how thick the handmade tortilla looks. Mmm. So yummy. Eat fast! Handmade tortillas are lovely when warm and fresh, but once they cool down become thick piles of dough.
My brother's wife got machaca con huevos (Mexican dried beef with eggs) for $8.75.
Lil' sis got two Carne Asada (Mexican Grilled Meat) tacos for $7.95. These were good, but way overpriced since I get them for a little over $1 apiece in East L.A.
I got a tamale and chile relleno combo for $8.50. I ordered a pork tamale and they gave me chicken. :( I didn't want to fuss so I ate it anyway, but it was dry, dry, dry. :( The chile relleno, actually the whole plate, was greasy, cheesy, and heavy.
None of us finished our plates. We're just not used to eating such heavy food. I know it's a touristy area, but I expected something better. Or maybe I've been spoiled because I get cheaper and better in L.A.?
To redeem our meal, we wandered out to try handmade dessert tortillas, 2 for $1. We opted for Cafe Coyote just to try another place.
I was going to order chocolate and cinnamon, but lil' sis suggested strawberry because it would look nicer for the blog. The tortillas had the cinnamon and strawberry incorporated into the dough. But while it definitely flavored the tortilla, it was like eating a plain, flavored tortilla. Rather bland. I was thinking it would be more like a crepe. Perhaps if there was sugar? Or maybe if we opted for the bunuelo instead so it'd be fried? We all tried a piece, then ended up tossing the rest. :( I hate wasting food, but none of us would have eaten the leftovers.
We walked around a bit more.
The Whaley House, built in 1857, was the first two-storey brick building in San Diego. It was home to merchant and community leader, Thomas Whaley. It also served as the town's courthouse and County Recorder's Office. It's also haunted!
Yawn. We weren't up for touristy shops and the heavy lunch made us all tired.
So long Old Town San Diego. Maybe some other day I'll wander your historic quarters and explore your haunted houses.
Other Mexican restaurants:
Carnitas Michoacan - Los Angeles (Lincoln Heights)
Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen - Orange
King Taco Restaurants #11 - El Monte (Garvey Ave.)
Los Cinco Puntos - Los Angeles
Senor Fish - Alhambra
Tacos Baja Ensenada - (East) Los Angeles
Taqueria Chihuahua - Los Angeles (Mar Vista)
Old Town Mexican Cafe and Cantina
2489 San Diego Ave.
San Diego, CA 92110
7 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Happy Hours 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., and 10 p.m. until close.
2461 San Diego Ave.
San Diego, CA 92110
Whaley House Museum and SOHO Museum Shop
2476 San Diego Ave.
San Diego, CA 92110
Monday and Tuesday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Thursday to Sunday 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
1 year ago today, Mam Nem (Vietnamese Fermented Anchovy Sauce).
2 years ago today, I decried the overly salty dishes at Roy's - Newport Beach, and did a little primer on che at Thach Che Hien Khanh - Westminster (Little Saigon).