Loyal In Good Taste readers should be aware by now that I joined three compadres for a sampling of Downtown Oxnard’s Tour de Taco this week. My account of the experience is available here. However, two of my fellow taco samplers provided me with much more entertaining and detailed descriptions than I was able to include. Unfortunately, they didn’t arrive in time for publication, but I think they capture the Tour de Taco excellently. Here they are (They’ve asked to be credited by their pseudonyms, Nena and Rico Taco):
Pilar’s had great black and white photos on the wall, and a friendly hostess/waitress. This was definitely a date-type restaurant, where you could slide into a booth and not be bothered unless they were refilling your chip basket. Our tacos took FOREVER to come out, but my carne asada was moist and flavorful. The fish taco was much more crowded – cabbage, runny Mexican-style sour cream, and big old beer battered fish hunks. The beer batter was good at first, but by the end of the first “half-taco,” I couldn’t take any more of it. The crema sauce was too rich for how much they put on it. The tortillas were thick and seemed like they’d been pan-fried.
Jesse’s had it going on. You walk right up to the edge of the kitchen and then sort of have to scoot along the street window wall to get inside, and the guy munching at bar seemed to be enjoying his plate. My little tacos were by far the best here – the meat was unbelievably tender and the chicken – I’m guessing thigh meat – came to pieces in my mouth. The cilantro was a perfect complement for the carnitas taco. These tacos were way smaller than the ones at Pilar, but were the size you’d expect. You would probably order four or five for a meal. This was much more the kind of place you’d stop in for lunch on a work day, or grab some dinner before heading to the game. We were surprised and disappointed, though, that they couldn’t serve beer.
Sabor was low on ambience, but that may have been because it was 9 p.m. on a Monday. My taco al pastor was saucy in a good way. The staff was really, really friendly. I’m pretty sure it was the owner who took our order, and the food came out quickly, brought by two nice young women. This was more family-style of a restaurant, with big plastic marlin on the wall and music videos playing on a TV hung from the ceiling. Sabor didn’t have their liquor license yet, either, which was a total downer. It’s bring-your-own-cerveza at some of these places.
(Also, we should note that the Taco Stand was closed at 6:50 p.m. Major suckage.)