California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - 34

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA ROAD TRIP

Southern California
Taco Tour
Enjoy the tastiest tacos SoCal
has to offer on this two-day
journey from Los Angeles
to just north of the border

13

It's time to head west to Tito's Tacos. This Culver City institution
serves mid-century, Cali-Mex vibes right down to the iceberg lettuce.
Forget everything you may have heard about hard-shelled tacos;

Tito's version will make you a crunchy convert.
Get back in your taco taxi and snake south to Long Beach to
taste the classics at the family-run El Torazo Mexican Food (think
spicy chorizo or barbacoa). Just about 20 minutes away, among the
high-end boutiques of Costa Mesa's South Coast Collection, you'll
experience the taco's easy transition from fast food to haute cuisine.
At Taco María, three-time James Beard semifinalist Carlos Salgado
serves inspired gems like sturgeon with scallion aioli, cabbage, and
grapes. His commitment to perfection runs deep, including processing
masa in house from heirloom corn grown in Mexico. Next, give the old
estómago a break with a little detour. In Irvine, find the headquarters of
the one, the only, Taco Bell. Gaze in wonder at the glass walls behind
which dishes like the Wild Naked Chicken Chalupa were invented. Make
sure to take a selfie in front of the original Taco Bell restaurant, which
the company transported 45 miles to this location after its closing in
2015. The serene beauty of the Inn at Laguna Beach is the perfect
place to let those tortillas settle, with beachfront views and a rooftop
lounge begging for a sunset session.
Buenos días! Skip breakfast and start with a drive south through
a long stretch of protected coastline. Enjoy sweeping Pacific views
to your right and the rolling hills of Camp Pendleton to your left. Pull
over for a stunning vista at the Las Flores View Point. In Oceanside,
it's time to get back on the horse at Miramar Fish Tacos and Beer, a
classic SoCal pairing served at this hidden gem. If it's too early for
a cerveza, you can still enjoy battered fish, Baja-style, topped with
crunchy cabbage and sweet tomatoes.

LUC H A L I B R E

A bit farther south in Del Mar, you'll hit Roberto's Mexican Food, a
San Diego institution since 1967. Try the shredded-chicken rolled taco,
D O E S YO U R I D E A O F C U L I N A RY B L I S S involve charred meat

assembled to greasy-good perfection under a blanket of guacamole,

enveloped in a pillowy tortilla? If so, consider this your road map

and follow it up with a hike at nearby Torrey Pines State Natural

to heaven. Along the way, you will sample handheld delights from

Reserve. You'll work up an appetite on the rugged ocean-cliff trails.

serving up hot pockets clásico. Start hungry.

Ready for dinner? Enjoy punchy personality alongside tacos like
the Surf & Turf (with marinated steak and shrimp) at Lucha Libre

Get on the road early and begin with a bite out of history. For 80-

in San Diego's Mission Hills. If you happened to pack your Mexican

plus years, the humble taco has captured America's hearts-and many

wrestling mask, you'll get a discount for wearing it while you order.

historians trace its California roots to Cielito Lindo in East L.A. This
tiny stand has been serving rolled tacos smothered in avocado sauce

End your tasting tour with authentic eats close to the Mexican
border at Tacos El Gordo (there are three San Diego County locations,

since 1934. As you take your first bite, say a silent "thank you" to your

including two in Chula Vista). The adobada (spicy pork) is a life-

taquito for paving the way for this tasty tour.

changer. Order one for dinner-and two more for dessert.

2

days

S TA R T Los Angeles
F I N I S H Chula Vista

P O S H E S T S TO P Taco María, Costa Mesa

34
VISITCALIFORNIA.COM

242
miles

I N S I D E T I P Make sure to
photograph every taco you try.
You'll want to remember your
favorites, and your Instagram
followers will thank you.

PHOTOGRAPH: RYAN DONNELL

famous chefs who have reimagined the form as well as local heroes


http://www.VISITCALIFORNIA.COM

California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures

Contents
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Cover1
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Cover2
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - 1
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Contents
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - 3
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