First of all, you know you're doing something right if you get Guy Fieri to show up to record an episode of Diner's Drive-Ins and Dives as both California Tacos to go and the Taco Bus both have. As much as a visit from Guy Fieri is a great thing for any restaurant, what really sold me on this joint was a group of devoted foodies on a rainy day in Tampa. I was driving through a rain storm one afternoon and as I got close to California Tacos it dawned on me that a day of rain must be absolutely devastating to a place like California Tacos to go, which features no indoor seeting. Thoughts like, "I'd probably just close up shop" were creeping through my mind when I looked over and saw probably close to 15 people outside, huddled under umbrellas, waiting through a strong rain, for their California Tacos to go. Sure, having food good enough to bring out the Food Network is a massive sign that you're slinging some good food around, but to me, having the guy who can be there any day of the week, waiting outside in the rain to get their fix, is even more impressive.
Knowing my love of food and trying new and unique stuff, my brother one day asked me if I had been to California Tacos to go. Not only had I not been, I somehow hadn't even heard of it. (Shame on you if you knew and didn't tell me) He had my attention right away when he began to describe the California Burrito. His description, was short and sweet. It's basically a massive burrito you can get with beef or chicken, (and I later learned pork!) oh, and they put french fries in it. What? Yea, french fries in the burrito. In my expert culinary opinion, I'll just say, it's fantastic.
If you're not new to this blog, you know I'm very excited to have recently started working at the #1 sports talk radio station in Tampa, 620WDAE The Sports Animal. On my second day at the Animal I decided to celebrate by taking the long way home, and hitting California Tacos to go. I was not disappointed. Some people celebrate with cigars or champagne, but I cuddled up next to a California Burrito, big enough to defend yourself with if mugged. You can get chicken or beef, which I'm sure are fantastic, but I went with the carnita pork. A warning, if you're expecting a shredded pulled pork like experience, don't! This pork is in small pieces and almost crunchy. It's very different, but very delicious. Don't be afraid to get it!
After my California Burrito experience was so good, I had to take my wife to try the California Tacos for herself. The California Burritos are fantastic, but I found my favorite item (so far) on their menu upon my second visit. I saw the Diners Drive-Ins and Dives episode above after my first visit and immediately knew I had to try the fish tacos that Guy had during the episode. Why? Because they just can't look as good in person, when you're just a regular customer, than it did on the show. Right? Wrong.
Just about everything you see on TV looks a lot bigger and more delicious than anything you experience when you arrive at a restaurant. I mean everything. From fast food to fine dining, nothing ever lives up to what you'll see on a commercial or Food Network show. That is, nothing, except the fish tacos at CTTG. I should have started the CTTG thing earlier. Anyhow, my experience with fish tacos is, no matter how good they are, they're all kind of small. Well not here. I ordered three to be sure I'd be full. Well, I was full after one. Yes, one fish taco. For any taco, this would be enormous. For a fish taco, it was even more surprising.
I know what you're thinking, great a huge fish taco. Well the size isn't the best part. Everything is. This is, the perfect fish taco. First, the fish is grouper so they aren't just putting anything on that taco. Then, the best part is, with all of the stuff they put on top of the grouper, it stays amazingly crispy, because they do fry the fish tempura style. As I mentioned above, I was full after one of the three tacos I ordered. I took the other 2 home and ate them nearly an hour later. Still freaking crispy. If you like fish tacos, I demand you try these. Don't look at me like that. Because, because I said so. Now just do it or go to your room. I couldn't tell you everything they put on top of the grouper, only that it works. All of it. There are so many flavors bouncing around your mouth from the first bite of this magic little taco, I mean, magic enormous taco, and every one of them work.
I don't have a rating system. Who knows, maybe one day I will. For now, I'll just say, try California Tacos to go, and thank me later!
If you read this article, be sure to read the one below it and learn about Best of Tampa. It's gonna be super awesome. Seriously. Honest, I mean it. OK, off to produce some morning radio! Be good kids.