I don't lunch in downtown very often because it is rather out of the way from my work. The thought of having to deal with parking isn't that pleasant either. But there are a few spots along 10th Street (a main artery off of South I-5 that will shoot you straight into downtown SD) that I found fairly quick and easy to get to. I just need to remind myself about the quarters for the meter..
Pokez is hard to miss and will be to your right on 10th and E. It's been a while since I visited last but remembered they had pretty good food. Lots of vegetarian dishes if you're into that too. Although the menu can be downloaded as a PDF on their website for the sake of my documenting I uploaded photos of it here.
Typical me, what I had ordered first was on the breakfast menu (served all day). The Machaca ($5.50).
Eggs with shredded beef, sauteed onions, bell peppers and tomatoes. The grill char was so lovely.. You win a man's heart through food? Only partially correct.. That is you win through food with a nice grill char! ha.
I find the free chips and salsa always fresh and tasty. A rather simple thing but something that shouldn't be underestimated to also win customers' hearts in my opinion.
Watch out for the salsa though, it's Very Hot and dangerously addicting.
I used the beans to help subdue the fire in my mouth. It has decent flavor for not using lard and that goes same with the rice. In fact I believe lard isn't used in any of the dishes here.
While I typically like focusing on food on my posts it seems the topic of service is hard not to bring up judging by the many comments I have read on the net about the restaurant.
Basically they are that the service is often slow and inattentive. While I found this somewhat true in the past, at least for the several visits I had recently I found it very fare. The servers may not smile (unless it is the lady) but they play good music which in my book makes up for it. :)
So back to the food.. The second meal I had was #13 listed under Combos called the "You Don't Want It!" Curious. Was it extremely hot? A Gianormous portioned plate? Maybe both? The only thing you are promised is following through with your choice of a meat or veggie version. I chose meat of course and got this messy but yummy looking dish..
Seemed like marinated chicken (again great char) smothered in a spicy green tomatillo sauce, melted cheese and a dollop of sour cream.
It was really very good. The only problem for me was that the YDWI plate supposedly varied by the cook so it would depend on my luck if I ever got the craving for this again. Or so I thought (which I will get to).. I was curious why I was charged much less than the $8.25 listed.
Third visit was the Combo #3 ($8.25).
A Cheese Enchilada, Beef Taco and Bean Tostada (and rice, beans, flour or corn tortillas).
Melty cheese wrapped in a fluffy corn tortilla is never a bad thing. Especially when there is sauce and more melted cheese on top, but I really enjoyed it which was also very fresh tasting.
The Beef Taco despite its Tex-Mex looks was really good too. In the non-greasy crispy taco shell were non-greasy but very moist and flavorful shredded beef.
The Bean Tostada I had to take home. The beans are the same as what is used for the plate sides.
To be honest if I took the time and read the menu more carefully I probably would've chosen the #5 with the Chille Relleno instead. Still I had doused the tostada with the very spicy salsa before boxing to-go and by the time it was dinner it had morphed into a indecipherable tasty food cluster with the additional leftover rice and enchilada sauce. Which reminds me, more often than not I have a small meal to take home.
I know I already mentioned the free chips and salsa were good.. I hate wasting food and food photos.. :)
On the fourth visit I tried the Joey's Special ($6.50).
Your choice of Green or Red Sauce.. (I was recommended green so went for that.) Sauteed marinated chicken, melted cheese and sour cream.. Hmm great but strangely familiar... I think this is what I had when asking for the "You Don't Wan't It!"..
Not that I'd be complaining because the dish was something I eventually wanted to order again. I just felt mixed between being glad that I can now have the tasty green mess whenever but also wondering why the server somehow deemed me unfit for the YDWI.. Now I'm even more curious. Was it my brazen use of my camera and that they wanted to keep the secret under wraps?? :)
Don't know but I also had a Potato, Tofu, Mushroom Taco ($3.50) that tasted good.
Aside from the Bean Tostada that came with my #3, the only vegetarian item I had ordered. It was surprisingly very flavorful, well seasoned with what my very amature description would be as Mexican seasoning.
Time for another chips and salsa photo break.. mmm.
I often see people wave their hands in front of their mouth. So spicy.
The taco was a good size and filled me up more than some. So below was my dinner for the day.
My final most recent visit I had the Steak Ranchero ($7.25).
Strange that I felt only ok about the first few bites..
But as the juices from the sauteed onions, bell pepper, mushrooms and tomatoes started to settle into the gravy, I enjoyed it immensely. :)
As good as it was I was left again with a decent amount to take with. On my way back to work though I had a small driving mishap. My car smelled like Steak Ranchero Sauce for the rest of the day. Wasn't necessarily a bad thing.. ;)
My future visits I'd like to try more of their tacos, oh and definitely get to the bottom of the #13 "You Don't Want It!" Also a few personal wishes would be a Mole type dish and somehow I'd imagine they would do a very decent job with a Burger too.. (Like maybe with Roasted Peppers and sauteed onions.. etc.) Now why would I think that?
Pokez Mexican Restaurant, 947 E Street, San Diego, CA 92101