A taste of baja in fullerton
Story and Photos by Yukie Bojorquez/CSUF Comm 334 --
Just in time for summer a new and exciting taco restaurant brings a unique taste of traditional tacos to Fullerton residents.
From the outside, the restaurant seems always busy and as though it does not have to attract more customers with a flashy banner or menu specials. The restaurant is for locals especially the many Cal State Fullerton students living nearby.
On Tuesdays, Baja California Fish Tacos offers meat tacos (chicken, carne asada, and barbacoa) for $1.15. Wednesdays, they also offer discounted fish tacos for only $1.15.
The outside patio of the restaurant looks calm and inviting during the evening because they have low hanging lights to give it a warmer feel.
“This place looks too American for tacos,” my boyfriend says disillusioned, pointing to the big bold blue letters that read Baja California Fish Tacos.
“Maybe we should try something different,” he said.
I had heard from friends and classmates that the food here was good at accessible prices. I also wanted to get a good bang for my buck.
Some patrons left with boxes to go while others impatiently waited for a table to free up.
Wow! I thought. The restaurant not only sells tacos but they also have quesadillas, sopes, tostadas, and shrimp cocktails.
I walked around the restaurant. I overheard a woman in line ordering two shrimp tacos, one fish taco, one barbacoa taco, and two mahi tacos. She turned around and said to her friend, “I love these tacos and the variety.” After she had ordered, I asked what she recommended, she said that everything was delicious, but that the shrimp tacos were her favorite.
After I finish touring the place I leaned on the wooden trash bin near the entrance before I could decide on what to order. The bright slideshow of pictures on the menu board was enticing my appetite and I wanted try all the menu options. But my boyfriend who was convinced by the woman in front of us picked the shrimp tacos.
No tables were available inside. My boyfriend attempted for seating on the outside patio but no luck. The service was great: Our cashier was friendly and our order took less than 10 minutes to be ready. The expediter shouted out our order number and my boyfriend rushed to pick up our order. As he walked back towards me, he picked up one of the shrimps from his taco and showed it to me. In a blink of an eye, it was gone. The shrimp was firm yet soft and just pink enough. He took a bite of the double tortilla taco and closing his eyes devoured the rest of it with three bites.
“No time to waste,” he said.
As a family of four was leaving the restaurant they refilled their drinks from the many fountain drink options and took the cups with them like souvenirs. The waitress rushed to clean the table, she aligned the salsas and with a white rag wiped down the tomato and cabbage pieces. I wanted that table because it was close to the window where I would have a view to the students walking to and from class, but an elderly couple beat me to it.
The man ordered a mixed seafood soup for him and his wife.
“We usually come just for the soup, my wife used to make it but she doesn’t want to anymore and this one is just as good but don’t let her hear me say that,” said Jose Mercado.
As a college student on a budget, I chose the fish taco special.
The waitress cleaned a second table but this time she saved it for us.
“This rush is normal on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and people like to stay to drink a beer after they’re done with their food,” said waitress Tania Cedilla.
The battered fish was hanging out from my tortilla like an oversized hot dog. I was not going to let that piece of hanging fish all alone so I helped by biting the edges off. Now my taco was perfect. But then, I realized the fish did not have much taste. No flavor at all, it wasn’t fishy or salty. All I could taste was flour and oil. Too greasy. I picked up the ‘Salsa Picante Negra’ to season the bland taco.
Baja California Fish Tacos has launched four successful restaurants in Southern California with ratings of five stars on Yelp. But the new location on Nutwood Avenue and Placentia Avenue has only a four-star rating. However, this new location had its grand opening just seven months ago so it might be a matter of time to gain more popularity.
But I did not want to give up on them so quick. I now tackled, the shrimp quesadilla.
It was huge and cut into rectangles which was perfect for sharing. The complementary white rice and fried beans gave it that baja taste, you would only know what that is if you have visited Baja cities like San Felipe, Tijuana and Cabo San Lucas. Fresh pico de gallo and rich in lemon flavor. The grilled yellow chiles garnished with tajin all around will tingle your taste buds by giving your bite a spicy and enriching flavor to your tacos.
This plate costs and tastes as good as it looks and for only $9.99 you can get lunch for two.
Maybe this place should be called ‘Baja California Shrimp Tacos’ their shrimp is exquisite. In almost every bite of my shrimp quesadilla, the long strips of Monterey cheese hung from it connecting to my mouth. I loved it.
And if the tacos were not enough, a tart-like pastry called Flan with a caramel topping will for sure convince you to go back.
WHERE: 2931 Nutwood Avenue. Fullerton, CA 92831
WHEN: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-9:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.
CONTACT: (714) 983-7785 or bajacaliforniafishtacos.com