Happy 4th! So I do realize posting about the street tacos I had last night in front of a liquor store or the Brazilian steak I had for lunch may not be the most typical 4th of July meal subject but I happen to be finishing up another two meals episode and thought I would post it before heading into work.... :(
Looking back though, I sure ate a lot of meat yesterday, haha.
Anyhow, from what I gather Manny's TJ Tacos in Normal Heights used to be a cart which recently moved indoors into Corner Liquor. I imagine the place caters to the bar crowds, people coming off of work or starting the graveyard.. cafe squatters, night owls. In my case this day it would be a curious food blogger from a town over.
Manny and his crew gets situated about 9PM but it'd be safer to come a little past. What was a deli counter in a liquor store transforms into a make shift taco kitchen in a liquor store.. ;) Small but efficient. They pretty much had everything on the menu, two or four legged. Cabeza (face), lengua (tongue), buce (stomach), chorizo (probably don't want to know), tripe, etc. This meat lover's temple of sorts could not be more ironically situated right next door to Jyoti-Bihanga, the long time neighborhood vegan restaurant. (I remember having my first ever Neatloaf there..)
Nick the owner of Corner Liquor is super nice, the place is quite tidy, and the produce sold seemed fresher than many supermarkets. Manny that I got to meet later is also one of the coolest guys you'll meet. If you're in the area come here past 9PM for a tasty inexpensive treat. Goes on until well past midnight, I heard 2AM at one point.
All tacos are $1.25. I had one of each of the Cabeza, Pastor, and Asada. My personal sampler trio of sorts. Condiments were very fresh. The mustard and ketchup you see are for their bacon wrapped dogs which I'll need to get next time. Took my meal outside and devoured it in a matter of minutes. None were the least bit greasy but still moist enough, and though most meats were made ahead and reheated over the hot griddle, all had a good marinated flavor with nice crisp char ends.
The cabeza was rich, asada and pastor with nice savory flavors. I loved them all and I'll need to study each taco better next time because they seemed to all have individually distinctive spice blends that I really enjoyed. The very thin but doubled smaller tortillas did a great job of holding things together while giving just the right amount of starchy fill.
After the three I was still craving for more and ordered a pork carnitas and a spicy chicken (forgot the actual name).
Again surprisingly not greasy at all and just moist to taste the protein (personally not a big fan of overly wet meat fillings in tacos). I'm usually not that into shredded chicken but these were spiced great.
Especially for the price I feel these TJ tacos will be hard to beat in a 20-mile radius. Manny has just gained another new regular. :)
Manny's TJ Tacos (inside Corner Liquor), 3355 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116
Earlier in the day lunch was at a completely random Brazilian place I happened to find while running a work related errand. Brazil By the Bay is located near the end of East-bound Hancock St right behind Kobey's Swap Meet, or I guess I should say the Sports Arena..
The World Cup buzz was definitely in the air where I could imagine the place being a lot more packed later in the evening.
Had this Guarana soda which to me was a cross between a ginger ale and Mountain Dew but it got me in the mood.. :)
I was familiar with the Coxinha ($2.50) after my first visit to Latin Chef and so had ordered it again here. This version tasted richer and much guiltier with a lot of cheese flavor in the potato dough than Latin Chef's which I think I prefer a little more. It was very tasty nonetheless, I just won't be having more than one. :) Entrees come with a small side salad. Pretty basic with a ranch type dressing.
Had the Prato Fieto Acebolado Beef plate ($10.50). Although the menu is on their website I uploaded photos anyway because it was such a pretty menu and neat to document. :)
The powder like substance in the top corner of the plate I was told is Farofa, toasted manioc flour according to wiki. I really loved how the nutty flavor went well with the meal, especially the meats where it seemed to sponge up any stray liquid flavors in addition to adding its own.
They're definitely not afraid of seasoning and charring the meats and onions here and I really liked that. Even the rice and beans where I immediately thought they'd be bland was seasoned nicely.
Price and quality seemed very fair for a sports bar type deal and I'm pretty sure I'll be back if in the area again. If you ever make it don't forget to check out the little market next door although it would be hard to miss. I'm especially a sucker for cute packaging and some of the chocolate bars were hard to resist not to buy. There's also a good sized freezer filled from Brazilian goodies - smoked sausages to frozen Coxinhas to (what looked like) ice cream. Yay.
Brazil By the Bay, 3770 Hancock St, San Diego, CA 92107