Friday, November 22, 2013

IlTaco Pizza Puff Discovered in San Diego

I want to introduce you, foodie, to something you never had before. I want to take you to a land of ice and snow. A land where the wind never stops blowing. A land where if you see someone running on the road they are probably running away from the cops. A land neither here nor there, one nestled in a sea of red, one caught up in its incestuous corrupt history, one where silos in the country compete with brutal, state-sanctioned urban warfare just half an hour away, a land where I left my third grade girl behind and never looked back, a land where a Large size T-shirt at the store is really a Large size T-shirt, a land I, and several others like to call Illinois.

Chi-town has been in the news lately because of its rough and tumble downward turn but the history of Chicago is one of resilience and fortitude, one where the Cubs persist as a nugget of hope in a world going quickly and silently down the toilet, one where the beauty and mystique of the Iltaco Pizza Puff quietly reigns supreme.

If you don’t know, and you don’t (don’t you feel unhip, young fooder foodie?), the Iltaco Pizza Puff is a frozen block of flaky pastry goodness gently covering a red sauce lava filled cavity wherein swim streams of stringy melted cheese and, depending on your choice (don’t you love freedom) nuggets of sausage, pepperoni, beef or mystery msg chemical perfection.

Here’s the deal – if you live in Illinois you can buy these at the supermarket and bake them up in your oven, or, if you are a real person, you can find them at your neighborhood burger/pizza joint where they make them by tossing them into a vat of decades old simmering oil for x minutes.

My friends, if you haven’t had the pizza puff then maybe you won’t understand it. It’s not craft, handmade, organic, it does not save the planet, it likely will do serious harm to your body if you put too many of them into it, but as the real geniuses say “it is what it is.”

I lived on these things during the summer I became a man. It was my first job in life at the tender age of 16. I was fat and soft and meek and liked to read on the couch instead of walk around. But I spent a summer in Elgin, Illinois, working at a place called Racing Rapids, a water park slash go-kart thing that was a part of Santa’s Village – a psychotic amusement park tucked into middle America with a year-round Christmas theme (another story entirely) and I either had a pizza puff or nachos with extra cheese sauce on them for lunch every day.

Now I don’t know if it was the pizza puff or the outdoor activity but after that summer I was turned into a mean, lean, buffed out high schooler, goodbye awkward middle school, and I returned to my school triumphantly, like a hero, with bits of pastry still stuck on my chin and shirt.

You might ask, what the fuck sandiegofoodblog, I thought this was about San Diego, and you’d be right to do so.

Well, I found pizza puffs on the West Coast. They are available at Lefty’s Pizza in San Diego at their Mission Hills Location (not at North Park).

They are the only place (the owner told me) west of Arizona that has them in the entire country.

That is worth some driving, that is worth some getting in your car and getting one.

The pizza puff surprisingly holds together well. I say surprisingly because its crust is unlike anything you’ve seen before – it is a flaky (but somehow crispy as well) pastry crust that reminds one of spanakopita, but more buttery. You’d think it would fall apart and ooze out shit everywhere after frying up for 7 mins or so, but no – the pizza puff is magic, it holds its shape, it does not ooze, it does not dissolve in your fingers, it retains itself, and every bite is magical.

The cheese does not string out and fly all over the place, the sauce does not gather up in one corner only to explode out of the bottom on your lap, parts of it are not still frozen while other parts burn your face off – it is perfect.

And it exists in San Diego. Amazing. Go get one fool, you been schooled.

Thank you Lefty’s Pizza. Now we can all get buffed up for the summertime.


Here’s where to get it (hey they also have good pizzas, and beer!):

Lefty’s Chicago Pizza
Address: 4030 Goldfinch St, San Diego, CA 92103
Phone:(619) 299-4030

Saturday, September 28, 2013

hustlin ass youngster clockin the grip @ tacos el gordo national city

Tacos El Gordo is everywhere in South San Diego, even in Tijuana Baja California, even better there because of lax laws regarding taste?  It's even in Las Vegas haha!

Someone told me the other day that Tuesday is also known as Taco Tuesday.  I was like - for reals?  Every Tuesday is taco tuesday?  They was all like - "naw G only at Miguel's Cocina Old Town, I love those tacos, and every Tuesday they are like $3 for three (or $6 for 3?  something, I don't care, go look it up)"

I was all like - you eat at Miguel's and you are not a tourist?  Word.

Miguel's is ok to take your Aunt from downstate New Jersey to show her "authentic" "Mexican" "food" - but otherwise steer clear.  They have an ok happy hour but their food be illin.  And Mexiblanco.  Extremely.

But no, I didn't speak my mind to this aforementioned aficionado of blandiose taco de carnes viejos  I gave the homie his say and kept my hesistations to myself, then I ran as fast as I could to the border, or near it, to Tacos El Gordo National City.

This joint, besides maybe the homeboys who set up clandestine adobada shawarma things in alleyways along University in City Heights - wha just playin policeman haha go look somewhere else popo - is what San Diego has for tacos that are good good good and good.

 your tax dollars at work - cock blocking m'f'ers trying to get tacos shit you heard that

Tacos El Gordo has a long history south of the border as being some of the best tacos that Tijuana can shave up, at all hours and for cheap prices.  Nowadays Las Ahumadoras (Taco Street) and Tacos El Franc are better according to my last taxi driver, but El Gordo is always a good place to go for a steady flow of steamy salty meats and cilantro and salsas.

National City, like most El Gordo spots, is small, kind of 70's hamburger joint feel inside with booths, and has different stations to order different types of tacos.

There was one old crazy (drunk? - prolly, even though it was 2pm on a Wednesday) man manning the station below some signs for tacos de cabeza (head), sudero (shoulder), lengua (tongue).  Go to him for those, make sure to be clear what you want.  My homie tried to order five tacos, all different, started with "cabeza" then got 5 tacos de cabeza haha.  

shoulder sudero eat them bolero

Cabeza is maybe one of my least favorite tacos, it's not that it's because it's head meat - though it is head meat, just that it's less flavored in my opinion, than the other meats.

Tongue is chewy white boy, you heard that here first!

Shoulder tacos are some of my favorite.  They stew the meat a little, it's very wet, and very very tasty like it's been sitting in a broth of pig salt and onion basting and pork magical essences.  Get these dude and dudette.  

There's another guy or woman for the chorizo tacos, carne asada tacos and adobada tacos, just ask them don't worry.  There were some worried people who only spoke English there, about to have a heart attack, don't have a heart attack just ask them to try some meats for free, ask them where to go, etc.  They are very nice people.

oye mami damelo - chorizo

Chorizo is another favorite of mine, double up on your lipitor, it's so salty and sausagey and pink and tender and blasting with flavor - the most intense of the tacos at the el gordo and the most anywhere usually.  One time I had soy chorizo from Trader Joes, soyrizo, it was so disgusting I spat out the bite and then threw up all over my house, then brushed my teeth and ran to Taco El Gordo for chorizo.

If you are vegetarian or vegan good for you I'm really happy, but make up your own food, why say soy dogs, soy burger, soyrizo, just make something like a new name that doesn't have to deal with meat motherfuckaz.  Like blastipasche, or manifoldtetes, or slashoposhis.

You heard that.

Carne Asada is beef stupid.  Beef grilled up, tasty as shit, beefy, all that.

Adobada / Al Pastor - these are my favorites of favorites usually.  Sometimes you can get a meat tower that's a bit old, been charred up without cutting, or new and raw - make sure you get adobada at the right time, when every other motherfucka is getting them - when there's a line for them - when fucking smoke is pouring off the big round shawarma of pork - when the cutting man is sweating bullets all over the meat and his hands and not stopping cutting with his machete - when the pineapple on top is crying yellow tears all down the glistening cooking red meat - get them then!

adobada shawarma - sponge bob house on top

They are great, not as blasting with salt like chorizo, but tender, tasty, soury, bright, illuminating, sublime.  

All this stuff is great, go there, get a pina colada blast too, get everything on your tacos - onion, cilantro, special sauce, everything, eat them all in once sitting, sneak in some beer, whatever.  Go stoned, amazing.  Get some extra napkins, bring some wet naps, lick that shit.

They are cheap.  They are good.  They are a constant staple in San Diego and Tijuana and Las Vegas.

Go there at 2:30 am, they are the best then.

Here is the address for you haters - 

1940 Highland Ave
(between Nordica Ave & 19th St)
National City, CA 91950
Neighborhood: National City
(619) 474-5033

Be careful of cutting in line though, you might get el served: