Monday, October 11, 2010

La Fachada, Barrio Logan (20 25th St.)

Wish you were here at La Fachada

Just a quick jaunt from downtown San Diego, La Fachada in Logan Heights is no secret to San Diegans who love their tacos, so it's a good thing they offer service both in the restaurant and from the taco stand outside. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and after-hours tacos al carbon, La Fachada offers a huge menu of classic taqueria specialties as well as fresh juices and street favorites, so it can be crowded with regulars at any hour of the day. I stopped in one Friday to refresh my memory of their tacos de buche and wound up going back for more the same weekend, which is the kind of thing I'm known to do.
Trio de tacos: from top down, buche, cabeza and lengua.

Simple street tacos are the truest test of any taqueria's merits, so my friend and I shared a sampling. My favorite taco threesome consists of lengua, cabeza and buche, and all of these were great - particularly the buche, which was coarsely chopped, tender and juicy (but not at all drippy). The fresh, in-house tortillas, unabashedly yellow in a the white corn world of soft tacos, were tasty and resilient enough to hold up to the last bite - no need to double-stack, as they didn't get soggy. And that wasn't because the meat was dry - on the contrary, the tongue was stewed to almost liquid softness, and the head was meaty and succulent, with none of the excess fat that one sometimes encounters. Onions and cilantro are optional, and while I personally can't imagine abstaining from either, it's worth noting that the onions are cut on the chunky side. 

We also tried the birria de chivo, which I found a bit stringy and disappointingly bland, though my friend was decidedly more enthusiastic. The fish tacos were impressive (La Fachada is known for its mariscos and other seafood) - I prefer mine with cabbage, but in this case it didn't taste like anything was missing.  The fish was fried in the lightest and crispiest of possible batters.

Salsa bars are hardly a mainstay of taquerias in San Diego, but La Fachada's thin guacamole and roasted tomatillo salsa make it a mandatory stop, and I feel incomplete if I don't have a few hot carrots with my tacos. Chips are on the house, and they're fresh, as are the blended juices,  also available at their own stand (so you can pop in for an agua fresca without waiting in the lunch line).

On our way out, we grabbed a couple tamales from the cart for later. They were the last of the batch and a little on the dry side despite being huge (plenty of taquerias sell inferior tamales half the size for the same price), but both the corn-husk wrapped chile verde pork and the pollo en mole (steamed in banana leaf) were stuffed with generous amounts of truly memorable filling. The heat of the chile verde was offset by fruity, sweet tomatillo flavor, and the chicken mole was really something special, with an unexpectedly ethereal interplay of spices that set it apart from more leaden mole preparations.

My idea of comfort food
When I went back to La Fachada I was planning to try some of their seafood, but a daily special caught my eye - pollo frito. That's right, I ordered fried chicken at a taco shop. Dusted in flour at most,  it was delicate and crisp the same way the fish had been the other day - whoever works the fryer really has the touch. The bird was juicy and went great with the hearty, broth-steeped rice and lard-enriched refried beans. The guacamole "salsa" was a little on the salty side this visit, but it was hard not to go away satisfied from such an honest, stick-to-yer-ribs meal.

There's plenty more on their extensive menu that I'll have to get to another time, including less common offerings like melty mulitas and the seldom-seen huarache. While there are plenty of great choices in Logan, if you're a pilgrim on the taco trail, La Fachada is a destination that would be unwise to overlook.

La Fachada on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Nicely done Ojo, I want tacos now. NOW! Skeletor