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real fish tacos down south [Tacos del Pacifico ]

real fish tacos down south [Tacos del Pacifico ]
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  • real fish tacos down south [Tacos del Pacifico ]

    Post #1 - June 1st, 2005, 1:05 pm
    Post #1 - June 1st, 2005, 1:05 pm Post #1 - June 1st, 2005, 1:05 pm
    I found myself down near Wolf Lake last week and as I was headed back on 106th Street, I saw a new-looking hanging sign for "Tacos del Pacifico" on the front of a simple brick storefront and underneath in small letters it said "shrimp & fish tacos." I lived in San Diego for 5 years and spent mucho time in Baja on a quest to find the best fish taco vendor. I once took my sister on a 2 day fish taco tour, so you can only imagine how my little heart was thump thumping in anticipation as I crossed the street and headed in.

    Work's busy today so 'll cut to the chase: these are pretty darn close to the style I so fondly recall, right down to the secret watery white sauce and crunchy cabbage. They served big hunks of white fish (cod I presume) battered in a crunchy but not heavy batter, they served the fish in a double layer of corn torttillas, topped it with raw cabbage, salsa, a few onions and the white sauce, described as crema but like I said, thinner. They were $1.75 a piece, quite the deal I thought. (We used to get 3 for 3 bucks back in the 80s so that's not much of a price hike!) A good balance of crunch, creamy, tangy and salty. The fish was white and flaky.

    Here was the only odd thing (and I really should have known better) they list Soft Tacos and Crispy tacos, I stupidly thought crispy/dorado meant deep fried fish and soft/blandito (duh) meant just grilled fish, which as you travel further south in Baja the fish is so beautiful they lose the batter and do just serve grilled marlin and such. Anyhow, I was wrong, the crispy tacos are battered fish and then they deep fry that in the tortilla which I've never seen before and was too fried for me. It's not gilding the lily it's just deep frying the lily.

    Anyhow, it's a clean, bright, small spot. The owner, a woman in her 30s came over and asked me about my meal, how I found them etc. She said that business is ok but most of the Mexicans who live in the neighborhood don't even know baja style tacos so they come in a bit timid. They do have fish tostadas on Fri and Sat for $1.75. They also have octopus, scallop and squid tacos. I didn't try those. And I overheard her saying that they also have lobster tacos as specials every now and again. And like carnitas places where it's just carnitas, this is just tacos in various forms--no rice no beans no guac etc. But if you are a fan of the taco de pescado, I encourage you to check it out.

    buen provecho

    bjt
    "eating is an agricultural act" wendell berry
  • Post #2 - June 1st, 2005, 1:13 pm
    Post #2 - June 1st, 2005, 1:13 pm Post #2 - June 1st, 2005, 1:13 pm
    oops sorry: here's the details:

    Tacos del Pacifico
    3544 E. 106th Street
    Chicago IL 60607
    773-221-1143
    10 am - 7 pm Tuesday - Saturday
    10 am - 5 pm Sunday
    closed Mondays
    "eating is an agricultural act" wendell berry
  • Post #3 - June 1st, 2005, 2:00 pm
    Post #3 - June 1st, 2005, 2:00 pm Post #3 - June 1st, 2005, 2:00 pm
    bjt

    That same sign has caught my eye more than once, but each time it was either a Monday or I was too busy to stop. Tacos del Pacifico sounds like a winner and is now on my south side lunch list. A bit further west on 106th near the river is a birria place with a drive up window that also looks promising.

    JSM
  • Post #4 - June 1st, 2005, 2:12 pm
    Post #4 - June 1st, 2005, 2:12 pm Post #4 - June 1st, 2005, 2:12 pm
    bjt wrote:I lived in San Diego for 5 years and spent mucho time in Baja on a quest to find the best fish taco vendor.


    Not to get too off-track of this current report, which sounds quite promising, but if you care to share the results of the aforementioned quest, I've got the perfect place for it.
  • Post #5 - July 7th, 2005, 10:42 am
    Post #5 - July 7th, 2005, 10:42 am Post #5 - July 7th, 2005, 10:42 am
    Thanks bjt for the post. I'm just adding the pictures and some comments (I hadn't meant to write this much) because on rereading your original post I found it not commensurate with my enjoyment:

    I had been meaning to try this place since I saw bjt's post, but the weekday closing hours aren't convenient. Finally last Saturday we happened to be in the vicinity we made it to TdP (or maybe the other way around).

    The handwritten sign outside advertised Ceviche and we asked for one along with a fish taco and a shrimp taco (soft - as I remembered bjt's warning about the total deepfriedness of the crispy version). I may have been expecting something slightly different, but the ceviche tostada was refreshing. Sparkling in the mouth, it was delightful balanced with generous avocado pieces. The hot sauce was a perfect accompaniment. We were told this was from Monterrey. I'm keeping an eye out for this sauce - it accentuated the seafood in the way a little ketchup accentuates hot soft crunchy fries.
    tostada de ceviche and sauce
    ImageImage

    As I mentioned, I had been wanting to try this place for quite a while, so my expectations for the fish and shrimp tacos may have been rather high. They totally lived up to it and more. I went in there with a fish impoverished mouth and fell hook line and sinker.
    The batter was light and not greasy in the least and combined with the sweetness of the fish in a way that made it hard to tell that the taco contained something batter-fried. The flavor of the shrimp was enhanced by the batter. A different hot sauce accompanied the tacos. This sauce was also tasty, but we preferred the tacos undoctored.
    fish and shrimp tacos
    Image

    We ordered two more fish tacos (we thought these were slightly better than the shrimp kind, but may be it was just then). They did take a while to get to us, even after the only other couple there was served. But we were happy to wait - it meant the order was prepared right fresh, with the attention to detail and pride that made this meal a pleasure. We were asked if we wanted an extra jalapeño, so we would have one for each of us. In addition to the great food and fantastic value, we found some little things most endearing - like the salt on the jalepeños sprinkled immediately post-fryer so that the grains were stuck to the pepper flesh, the enthusiasm of the owner lady in talking about the food and sauces. We'll definitely be back - I'm eager to try the other offerings.

    the menu
    Image

    Across the street I noticed another Mexican seafood place and a Salvadorean pupuseria a few doors down. I wonder how those are.

    edited to fix photoglitches
    Last edited by sazerac on July 22nd, 2005, 3:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #6 - July 7th, 2005, 12:18 pm
    Post #6 - July 7th, 2005, 12:18 pm Post #6 - July 7th, 2005, 12:18 pm
    I'm curious--how do the fish tacos at Food Life in Water Tower Place stack up against the real thing, for those who have tried both? I know Calvin Trillin wrote somewhat favorably about them, but I've never been there on the right day to try them..
  • Post #7 - July 7th, 2005, 1:42 pm
    Post #7 - July 7th, 2005, 1:42 pm Post #7 - July 7th, 2005, 1:42 pm
    sazerac wrote:The hot sauce was a perfect accompaniment. We were told this was from Monterrey. I'm keeping an eye out for this sauce - it accentuated the seafood in the way a little ketchup accentuates hot soft crunchy fries.


    that's salsa huichol, quite a favorite of my wife's also. I don't remember where I bought it last - anyone have recent sightings? Anyway, its also the hot sauce of choice at islas marias, if worst comes to worst they'll sell you a bottle there
  • Post #8 - July 7th, 2005, 3:21 pm
    Post #8 - July 7th, 2005, 3:21 pm Post #8 - July 7th, 2005, 3:21 pm
    Wait...Calvin Trillin recommends a fish taco served at Food Life at the bottom of Water Tower Place? Leaving no corner unturned, he'll even descend into the (literal) bowels of the Melman empire? If so, way to go Calvin, and I need to give them a try.

    I had a serious fish taco letdown recently at El Rey, an otherwise excellent mini-chain of Latin food markets in Milwaukee. The food court area of the store was advertising San Diego style fish tacos, but what they served was soggy fried chunks of fish redolent of lake water. Still worth the trip for the stunning produce and seemingly endless selection of dried peppers.

    El Rey
    1530 S. Muskego Ave.
    1433 W. Burnham St.
    1320 W. Burnham St.
    1023 S. 16th St.
    3524 W. Burnham St.
    Milwaukee, WI
  • Post #9 - July 7th, 2005, 9:06 pm
    Post #9 - July 7th, 2005, 9:06 pm Post #9 - July 7th, 2005, 9:06 pm
    sazerac wrote:Across the street I noticed another Mexican seafood place and a Salvadorean pupuseria a few doors down. I wonder how those are.

    Pupuseria El Salvador (106th and Avenue L) is really very good. I’ve been meaning to file a report but have been too busy recently. Soon, I promise. And thanks to everyone for all the info on Tacos del Pacifico.
  • Post #10 - July 7th, 2005, 10:27 pm
    Post #10 - July 7th, 2005, 10:27 pm Post #10 - July 7th, 2005, 10:27 pm
    I stand corrected--Calvin Trillin didn't go so far as to recommend the tacos--he didn't say anything about them except that he had tried them there. But yes, it makes one wonder what he was doing in Food Life.. :?
  • Post #11 - July 7th, 2005, 10:36 pm
    Post #11 - July 7th, 2005, 10:36 pm Post #11 - July 7th, 2005, 10:36 pm
    I don't see what the big deal is - or maybe I just haven't had good fish tacos. The El Famous Burrito in Des Plaines (Mannheim & Algonquin) has them, same configuration as above, and it was OK, but nothing thrilling. Then again, my father raves about them.

    Your mileage may vary - not all EFB's have the same menu, or the same quality. This one happens to be one of the better ones (love their chile relleno & steak burritos, f'rinstance), but the fish tacos aren't high on my "eat this again soon" list.
  • Post #12 - July 14th, 2005, 10:25 pm
    Post #12 - July 14th, 2005, 10:25 pm Post #12 - July 14th, 2005, 10:25 pm
    well, my two cents is . . . if it isn't "thrilling" then yes, you aren't eating the same quality/conception of the fish taco that some of all are all reverent about. But remember, just because it's a Mexican restaurant, it doesn't mean they'll excel at Fish Tacos. The owner of Tacos del Pacifico seemed frustrated that the Mexicans in her community didn't "understand" or weren't familiar with Baja-style fish tacos. Mexico is an enormous, diverse country, so no wonder. It's like ordering a lobster roll at a southern bbq joint in January, the two culinary scenes are totally disconnected, even though we share the same nation.

    If you really want to test out a fish taco as to whether or not it's your kind of thing, then (as a former San Diego Baja Cali haunter) I strongly suggest you go south to Tacos del Pacifico on 106th.
    Don't order the tacos dorados as those aren't so tipico . . .

    good luck!

    bjt
    "eating is an agricultural act" wendell berry
  • Post #13 - July 15th, 2005, 2:34 am
    Post #13 - July 15th, 2005, 2:34 am Post #13 - July 15th, 2005, 2:34 am
    I've never had the authentic Baja version, but I quite enjoyed the fish tacos at Twisted Lizard. I suspect they aren't the least bit authentic, but they were quite delicious: crisp, Corona beer-battered fried cod bedded in shredded lettuce, drizzled with chipotle-mayo dressing lightened with a touch of sour cream, and tucked inside small flour tortillas (corn tortillas available on request).

    The place is incredibly noisy and indoors the only seating is at high-top tables, so I recommend the sidewalk cafe.

    Twisted Lizard
    773/929-1414
    www.thetwistedlizard.com
    1964 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago IL 60614
  • Post #14 - July 15th, 2005, 3:02 pm
    Post #14 - July 15th, 2005, 3:02 pm Post #14 - July 15th, 2005, 3:02 pm
    A place that's nearby to me and my friends, hence easy access for meeting up, is El Cid on Kedzie in Logan Square. I haven't tried much of the other food there, as my gal pals and I usually just meet up for their excellent raspberry margaritas on the rocks and the shady outdoor patio. and since i usually like to eat when i'm drinking, i'll get the fish tacos. i love them - very simple, but they're not the battered, fried fish. just fish meat with cilantro, onions. I also love the ceviche tostadas - with the mix of pulpo and camarones. i've had them several times at El Cid and have not been disappointed. the last time we were there - my pal got the fried catfish. i was thinking it would be pieces of battered fried fish. but no - it was the whole kit-n-kaboodle, head and all. and very tasty...

    El Cid
    2645 N. Kedzie, Chicago
    Tel: (773) 395-0505

    sharon
  • Post #15 - July 31st, 2005, 6:06 pm
    Post #15 - July 31st, 2005, 6:06 pm Post #15 - July 31st, 2005, 6:06 pm
    We just got back from Tacos El Pacifico and thought I would chime in with my thoughts.

    Having had some form of seafood tacos from all over Mexico, I would have to agree. These are the real deal when it comes to baja fish tacos. We also had the shrimp tacos and were really impressed with the overall quality. We also tried a crispy shrimp one and the reason we liked it is that it held together a bit better. When you get two soft tacos, by the time you get to the second one, the tortilla is falling apart. If you order one soft and one crisp, eat the soft one first and then the crisp one is stil hot and holding up.

    It was worth the drive in miserable traffic on the Ryan and the Skyway but we found out how to get back to Stony Island to access LSD, also avoiding the high skyway tolls.

    The owners were wondering why so many people were coming all the way down to the northside to eat here and was exicted that there was talk of her place on the internet.

    We will be back soon, as I must now try the seafood tostada. The best one of those I have ever had was in the Coyoacan market in Mexico City.
    "Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es."

    ~ Brillat-Savarin ~
  • Post #16 - July 31st, 2005, 8:49 pm
    Post #16 - July 31st, 2005, 8:49 pm Post #16 - July 31st, 2005, 8:49 pm
    huge kudos to you for braving traffic and skyway challenges to get there. I am inspired by your dorado shrimp tip. And I am equally thrilled to hear that the owner is noticing non-deep southsiders/Latinos coming to her place. That means she's perceptive and that maybe this wonderful and wacky little universe of LTH can have an impact. I have never had the time to do one of the LTH communal thangs but maybe this begs for a 106th/Calumet LTH exploration with a variety of picks being suggested on this here forum? I submit the theme, Chicago: The Deep South (East)"

    bjt
    "eating is an agricultural act" wendell berry
  • Post #17 - August 8th, 2005, 3:36 pm
    Post #17 - August 8th, 2005, 3:36 pm Post #17 - August 8th, 2005, 3:36 pm
    Thanks for the heads up on Tacos del Pacifico, outstanding. On da east side, who'd a thunk it.

    If you're accustomed to taking Stony Island to get on the Skyway it's not that much of a diversion. Just stay on Stony Island in the far left express lane instead of going up the skyway ramp. There'll be a light at South Chicago, then just after you pass under the Skyway there's a street called Anthony (no light) - this is the frontage road that runs parallel to the south face of the Skyway. Make a left on Anthony and go all the way down to Colfax and make a right. Colfax becomes Torrence - continue on Torrence to 106th, make a left and you're there.

    When you're done eating just continue on down 106h to the end and you'll run into Indianapolis Ave. Make a right and you're at the entrance ramp for the Indiana toll road at the 50¢ toll.

    The proprietress is a sweetheart. Says her husband let her open it up as a whim a year ago, rent is real cheap but she's barely breaking even. She's not sure how long she'll keep it open, at $1.99 a taco I don't know how she can make money with such quality ingredients - I felt guilty paying so little for the bill it was so good. She should find a place closer to the blanco's and charge double.
  • Post #18 - August 8th, 2005, 5:30 pm
    Post #18 - August 8th, 2005, 5:30 pm Post #18 - August 8th, 2005, 5:30 pm
    Those look good. I have had Baja style tacos in Mexico and SoCal and while I enjoy them very much, I am squarely in the camp of those who don't find them to be transcendent Mexican food. But when they are very good, they are very good.

    I always understood that the "East Side" Mexican neighborhood is the oldest Mexican neighborhood in Chicago and likely one of the oldest Mexican neighborhoods in the US (that is, the part of the US that was not formerly part of Mexico). There was no suggestion in the post above that there is any Baja connection down there. I wonder how the owners decided on that neighborhood.

    Huichol is the Nayarit hot sauce that, as Zim points out, is the condiment of choice at LIM. Something tells me that folks who like Islas Marias's Nayarit style of Mexican seafood should try Tacos del Pacifico and vice versa. I have never had a fish ceviche tostada in Baja, but the photo above looks like a ceviche very much in the same style as that which is served at LIM. So I also wonder, is the owner going for a "best of" the Pacific menu, or are the ceviches typically similar. So many questions.
  • Post #19 - August 17th, 2005, 9:40 pm
    Post #19 - August 17th, 2005, 9:40 pm Post #19 - August 17th, 2005, 9:40 pm
    We made the trip down to Tacos del Pacifico and I couldn't be happier. The owner was happy to see us, asking if we had heard about her place on the internet. She encouraged us to call ahead and bring 20 of our friends. I wish I could spearhead this initiative, but unless y'all want to do this in the next 10 days, I won't be around. Maybe I'll post on the events board anyway. As per her advice, we got the fish tacos with soft corn tortillas and the shrimp with the fried tortilla. Everything was fantastic, the fish a shade better than the shrimp, but only because the shrimp were SO good. The shrimp was fresh and sweet and everything you want a fried shrimp to be. The 2 hot sauces, the Nuevo Leon chiles de Arbol and the Salsa Huichol were both fantastic. The prices have gone from 1.75 to $2 a taco, still an absurd deal for food this tasty. Her 2 children were playing around the dining area, we felt bad keeping them there until 7:15. (they close at 7) Speaking of kids, the restaurant is next door to a playground, which does not matter to anyone without young kids. But if you have playground-aged kids, it is a great addition to a great destination. (I have enjoyed the playground a block west of TAC Quick in a similar way, taking my son to climb and have fun while we wait for our delicious meal)

    There is a liquor store I go to at 89th on Stony Island, Kenwood. I observed that I had never been 20 minutes southeast of the liquor store while we were driving home, but if this is what I have been missing out on, I am unhappy. The more I think about it, I would like to go down there again before I move back to NY, so I will post an Event. I hope some of you can make it.
  • Post #20 - August 21st, 2005, 1:27 am
    Post #20 - August 21st, 2005, 1:27 am Post #20 - August 21st, 2005, 1:27 am
    A shameless bump but since I heard the owner was barely breaking even, I figured the more people know about this place, the better. I have gone back a second time and the tacos are still great, but beat this: my s/o went down by himself last week on his bike! He rode down from River West, along the lakefront path, and then followed the rte. 41 signs down to a street that took him to 106th. Not sure what the name was. I still need to get there on a weekend to try the ceviche tostada, and I will bring a camera.
    "Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es."

    ~ Brillat-Savarin ~
  • Post #21 - August 23rd, 2005, 1:12 am
    Post #21 - August 23rd, 2005, 1:12 am Post #21 - August 23rd, 2005, 1:12 am
    winebabe wrote:name was. I still need to get there on a weekend to try the ceviche tostada, and I will bring a camera.


    So did you, BTW?

    I had asked in a different thread if there was someplace to eat near Hammond -
    and sazerac had suggested TEP in a private mail. I had demurred, saying it
    was too far off the 94 (which is what I was taking to get to where I needed
    to go, not the 90).

    Well, I decided to anyway - and its really not that bad, I was at about 55th
    and Cottage Grove, you can take South Chicago and it sort of angles
    in and gets you there quicker. Only got 2 tacos like an idiot - the soft
    fish and the crispy shrimp. It took ages and ages for it to be prepared
    and brought to the table - but it was very damn good when it did get
    there, and both disappared very quickly indeed. But sadly, because of
    the idiocy of ordering only 2 to start with, and with the long time taken
    to prepare them, it was already 7pm and they were closing, and I couldnt
    order more as I wanted to :-)

    I shall definitely be back - and shall be smart enough to order at least 3 or
    4 tacos the next time Iam there.

    As for which is better - I like shrimp more than fish anyway, so Iam
    probably inclined to reverse the rating of others, and go with the
    crispy shrimp over the soft fish. But really, if you gave me a
    no-shrimp rule at that place, Id still end up being pretty damn happy
    I think, the fish was very very good too.

    c8w

    P.S. Kudos to LTH go without saying - without this place not only would
    I have never ever found TEP, I wouldnt even have ever made it to that
    street, or that part of town.

    P.P.S. BTW, for anyone interested, the famous Cunis Candies referred to
    in a diffferent thread is *not* open on Sundays. Had looked forward to it
    as one certain stop on the way back from Hammond all week, but was
    bitterly disappointed to find the door shut (and it looked awesome from
    outside too, could even read the signs cruelly advertising fresh homemade
    peach icecream)
  • Post #22 - August 27th, 2005, 11:43 pm
    Post #22 - August 27th, 2005, 11:43 pm Post #22 - August 27th, 2005, 11:43 pm
    My roommate and I stopped in for lunch today. We both had a ceviche tostada, 1 soft shrimp taco, and 1 soft fish taco. All were delicious. I am normally not much of a shrimp eater, but I have to agree that it was the better of the two. Excellant quality at a really cheap price. Cant help but think that with a different location, the place would be packed. I must admit to never setting foot in the neighborhood before, but it not looks like I have some exploring to do. By the way, Fast Eddie's directions were great, but be careful as Colfax does not have a street sign at the Anthony intersection.
  • Post #23 - August 29th, 2005, 11:42 am
    Post #23 - August 29th, 2005, 11:42 am Post #23 - August 29th, 2005, 11:42 am
    I finally made it to Tacos del Pacifico on Sunday for lunch after an aborted attempt to make it there Saturday night. I'm glad I double checked the hours before I made the drive all the way to the Illinois/Indiana DMZ, bucause the 7:00 closing time would have made the drive fruitless on Saturday.

    I ordered two fish tacos and a shrimp taco, all of them on the soft tortillas.

    Shrimp Taco Flanked by Fish Tacos
    Image

    The tacos were made to order and took some time, as others have pointed out. They were very good, but I noticed that time is of the essence when it comes to eating TdP fish tacos. The first fish taco was fresh from the kitchen and the fish had a nice crispy batter to it. After I ate the fish taco, I tried the shrimp taco, which was also very good. The shrimps in it were butterflied and much larger and meatier than I expected. By the time I got around to eating the second fish taco, the breading had begun to deteriorate a little bit and was a little mealy and soaked through the tortillas a little bit...not that it wasn't good. It's just that there was a marked difference between the first and second fish taco and the only variable was the amount if time it sat on the table before I ate it. I think next time, I may order the same trio, but I will try one of the fish tacos on crispy tortillas instead, in the hopes of it holding up better over time.

    I was served by the lovely Valerie, age 9 (daughter of the owners). She told me she had been a waitress for a year and three months, but she had the chops of a 30 year verteran.

    Valerie and Her Brother
    Image

    I'm glad to report that they seemed to be doing a pretty brisk business on Sunday afternoon. When I arrived, there was a family of 4 eating at one of the tables and during the time I was there, several people came by to pick up what looked to be substantial take out orders, also another table of 5 came in as well as two more parties of 2. Little Valerie told me that they had gotten some press in the local paper, so maybe that has helped their traffic a bit. When I told her (and her mother) that I had read about their restaurant on LTH, they both said that they know who we were and were glad the word was getting out. Valerie said that she was going to start her own website (topic unknown).
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #24 - September 4th, 2005, 11:41 pm
    Post #24 - September 4th, 2005, 11:41 pm Post #24 - September 4th, 2005, 11:41 pm
    Tacos del Pacifico will be closed from Monday the 5th through Thursday the 8th and will resume normal hours on Friday. The owner was worried some of us might make a long trip for nothing and asked me to pass on this information. It’s really a great little place, well worth driving across the city for (but not in the next few days).

    Tacos del Pacifico
    3544 E 106th St
    Chicago
    773-221-1143
    Tue-Sat 10am-7pm, Sun 10am-5pm, closed Mon
  • Post #25 - September 10th, 2005, 4:40 pm
    Post #25 - September 10th, 2005, 4:40 pm Post #25 - September 10th, 2005, 4:40 pm
    Allow me to join the parade of acclaim for Tacos del Pacifico. My wife and I made the trek down specifically for the tacos and we were thrilled. Our experience was pretty similar to the ones detailed above. Glad we came on a Saturday so we could sample the ceviche.

    My wife noted that both seafood and deep-fried food are best when they are ultra-fresh. The attention to freshness really stands out here.

    The owner was happy to talk to us and inquired if we had heard about it on "the website." She urged us to tell all of our friends because business was tough. She said that some people come in and order steak tacos and leave disgruntled when she says they only offer seafood. She also said some people complain about the lengthy wait--until they taste the food.

    A great experience all around, and one I'm sure we wouldn't have had without LTH. So thanks, bjt, and all of you other folks who led us here.
  • Post #26 - September 10th, 2005, 5:10 pm
    Post #26 - September 10th, 2005, 5:10 pm Post #26 - September 10th, 2005, 5:10 pm
    A2Fay and I've been to TdP quite a few times now and never fail to get the fish and sometimes shrimp tacos. Last time around, I tried the scallop tacos. They were fabulous! Sweet, sweet juicy scallops! (the small ones)
    Can't wait to go back for more! Few places I've eaten make me use exclamations like TdP does!
  • Post #27 - September 12th, 2005, 2:10 am
    Post #27 - September 12th, 2005, 2:10 am Post #27 - September 12th, 2005, 2:10 am
    JeffB wrote:I always understood that the "East Side" Mexican neighborhood is the oldest Mexican neighborhood in Chicago and likely one of the oldest Mexican neighborhoods in the US (that is, the part of the US that was not formerly part of Mexico). There was no suggestion in the post above that there is any Baja connection down there.

    Yes, the communities of South Chicago and the East Side were some of the first areas of Chicago with a substantial Mexican presence, beginning in the early 20th century. South Chicago’s Our Lady of Guadalupe was the first Mexican parish in Chicago (1920s). The impressive church (1928) still stands at 91st and Brandon, but has been renamed. I’m not sure what parts of Mexico were most represented back then (or now). It’s interesting that the owner of Tacos del Pacifico isn’t from Baja, she hails from Guadalajara.

    bjt wrote:Don't order the tacos dorados as those aren't so tipico . . .

    I agree and disagree.

    Yes, the tacos dorados aren’t typical of Baja-style fish tacos and the owner freely admits this. Her signature offering, the taco blandito de pescado (fried tilapia wrapped in a double corn tortilla), is modeled after what she ate in Ensenada.

    But she is from Guadalajara where crispy fried tacos are common so she has adapted this style with a variety of fillings. As much as I like the basic fish taco I think I might like the crispy shrimp or scallop tacos even more.

    I’m completely convinced that soft fish plus crispy shrimp and/or scallop is the way to go.

    winebabe wrote:When you get two soft tacos, by the time you get to the second one, the tortilla is falling apart. If you order one soft and one crisp, eat the soft one first and then the crisp one is stil hot and holding up.

    This is very true and the ordering strategy makes a lot of sense. An even better idea (Fri & Sat only) is to order a tostada de ceviche first. These are faster to prepare so you’ll have something to eat while waiting for the tacos to arrive.

    sazerac wrote:Last time around, I tried the scallop tacos. They were fabulous! Sweet, sweet juicy scallops! (the small ones)
    Can't wait to go back for more! Few places I've eaten make me use exclamations like TdP does!

    At the Bucovina dinner, Sazerac and A2Fay described the wonders of the scallop tacos. I tried them and am now a true believer. Everything’s good at Pacifico but these might be my favorite.

    Pacifico’s Scallops
    Image
    Pristinely fresh scallops, perfectly spiced and cooked. One of the best $2 I’ve spent in a long time.
  • Post #28 - September 16th, 2005, 5:01 pm
    Post #28 - September 16th, 2005, 5:01 pm Post #28 - September 16th, 2005, 5:01 pm
    Rene G wrote:
    JeffB wrote:But she is from Guadalajara where crispy fried tacos are common so she has adapted this style with a variety of fillings. As much as I like the basic fish taco I think I might like the crispy shrimp or scallop tacos even more.

    I’m completely convinced that soft fish plus crispy shrimp and/or scallop is the way to go.

    winebabe wrote:When you get two soft tacos, by the time you get to the second one, the tortilla is falling apart. If you order one soft and one crisp, eat the soft one first and then the crisp one is stil hot and holding up.



    sazerac wrote:Last time around, I tried the scallop tacos. They were fabulous! Sweet, sweet juicy scallops! (the small ones)
    Can't wait to go back for more! Few places I've eaten make me use exclamations like TdP does!

    At the Bucovina dinner, Sazerac and A2Fay described the wonders of the scallop tacos. I tried them and am now a true believer. Everything’s good at Pacifico but these might be my favorite.

    Pristinely fresh scallops, perfectly spiced and cooked. One of the best $2 I’ve spent in a long time.


    Hmm. Well, I tried the scallops the last time - but thought I still preferred the
    fish and shrimp. Since you say its *that* good, will give it another try the
    next time. Do you go soft of crispy with the scallops?

    Fie on Sazerac for introducing me to this place - Ive now been 5 times in
    4 weeks. Was chatting with the owner this time, and she goes "so, you live
    close by here?".. and was shocked when I told her I lived way up on the
    north side. (Ok, so Iam often near 55th and Cottage Grove on weekends - but
    even so, this isnt next-door... down Cottage to South Chicago, down
    to Ewing, up to 106th.. its still a bit of a ways). Its sad how often Ive
    made the trip. And that for like 3 or so tacos! Has anyone tried transporting
    these things at all, BTW? Would they hold up even remotely well?

    I dont know whats best anymore. I was convinced the soft-fish was great,
    and the crispy-shrimp better - usually did one of each (plus this time did
    the crispy scallops too). And then this time the soft fish was the best of
    the lot, ruining all my well-thought-out rankings. Maybe Ill have to go
    radical and go both soft-fish and soft-shrimp the next time - start
    rating it all again from scratch.

    BTW, zim, have you found the Salsa Huichol anywhere in any store on the
    northside? The owner told me she got it from some store on like 26th
    street - she was running out, so she couldnt seel me one. Would La Unica
    have it, for example?

    I really wish this place was closer. Iam not greedy - even a location in Niles
    or Glenview would be fine.

    c8w
  • Post #29 - September 20th, 2005, 7:06 pm
    Post #29 - September 20th, 2005, 7:06 pm Post #29 - September 20th, 2005, 7:06 pm
    I don't have much more to offer here in terms of descriptions or details but I will say that that the fish taco here is one of the items that makes my eternal pursuit for gastronomic happiness a worthy voyage. This is truly one of the great bites in all of Chicago. We left this place on a real high. I fell in love tonight!
  • Post #30 - October 2nd, 2005, 11:30 am
    Post #30 - October 2nd, 2005, 11:30 am Post #30 - October 2nd, 2005, 11:30 am
    Rene G wrote:Pristinely fresh scallops, perfectly spiced and cooked. One of the best $2 I've spent in a long time.

    Rene,

    Tacos del Pacifico Crispy Scallop Taco was a revelation. Pristinely fresh meaty scallops, slightly charred, lightly spiced, differing textures, flavors all in a crisp, perfectly fried, greaseless $2 package. Best $2 I've spent in a while myself.

    Crispy Scallop Taco (Tacos del Pacifico)
    Image

    Pacifico's fish in soft taco was wonderful, good enough to banish from memory past crimes against the poor defenseless fish taco, most notably a flaccid/tasteless/greasy version from a branch of the Rubio's chain I had in Sacramento, California, and the crispy shrimp was delectable, but oh that crisp scallop taco. ~sigh~

    Soft Fish Taco/Crispy Shrimp Taco/Crispy Scallop Taco (left to right)
    Image

    Pacifico's ceviche tostada was quite good, especially with the Sazerac recommended addition of Salsa Huichol, but it's the Crispy Scallop Taco I'm still thinking about this morning.

    Ceviche Tostada
    Image

    Tacos del Pacifico is a perfect example of simple fresh ingredients combined with care, experience and a bit of love can yield results far beyond the sum of their parts. Pacifico's kitchen setup is minimal, griddle, deep fryer, but with Mario at the helm reaches far beyond the ordinary.

    Mario tending the fryer
    Image

    Lunch was enjoyable on a number of fronts, the Crisp Scallop Taco, which I may have already mentioned :), the company of fellow LTHers, the kind, caring, friendly Romero family, including their young daughter Valerie who was our waitress Saturday afternoon and, as Steve Z said, has the polished style of a veteran.

    Romero Family
    Image

    Interestingly, Squirt seems to be the drink of choice at Tacos del Pacifico, and I agree. Something about the light citrus flavor, combined with carbonation, that really compliments fish tacos.

    P Daane (left) Trixie-Pea (center)
    Image

    A sincere thank you to BJT for posting about Tacos del Pacifico, another wonderful place I would have never been to without LTHForum.

    After lunch we, Pigmon, Trixie-Pea, ReneG, Steve Z, Daane, went to Pupuseria El Salvador. Short version, very good. Light, with just a hint of sweet, corn tamales offset perfectly by the slightly salty crema. Flavorful choriso with hand made tortillas, and delicious cheese pupusas. I plan on posting to the Pupuseria El Salvador thread, with a few pictures, later today.

    A few of us stopped at Small World Inn, which is just West of Pacifico, for a beer. Small World Inn is a step out of time bar, mildly foreboding from the outside, but, once you are buzzed in the door, hospitable.

    Small World Inn
    Image


    Small World Inn has a number of Serbian specialties, including cevapcici. Small World seems well setup for food, but we did not have anything to eat as we were quite full from both Tacos del Pacifico and Pupuseria El Salvador. ReneG, who had been to Small World Inn before, had not tried any of the menu items either. JSM, who was working in the area, met us for a beer, but as he had just eaten lunch could not be coerced into an order of cevapcici. :)

    Small World Inn Menu
    Image

    Another very pleasant afternoon spent in the company of fellow LTHers.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Tacos del Pacifico
    3544 E. 106th St
    Chicago, IL 60607
    773-221-1143

    Pupuseria El Salvador
    3557 E 106th St.
    Chicago, 60607
    773-374-0490

    Small World Inn
    3325 E 106th St.
    Chicago, Il
    773-721-2727
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow

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