i'm always in the mood for a good fish taco, as fish tacos are among my favorite culinary delights on the planet, and on Monday afternoon, October 18, 2010, I was cruisin' West 8th Street in Yuma, Arizona, which is "Taco Row" in Yuma, as that's where many of the indigenous, small, family owned and operated taquerķas are located. Like always, I was on the lookout for interesting taco operations, when I spotted Juanita's sign, that read Tacos y Mariscos Juanita... and restaurant that advertises tacos and mariscos definitely gets my attention, and I knew that I'd hit the jackpot when I pulled into the parking lot and say that Juanita's operates out of a taco truck!
Photo: Tacos y Mariscos Juanita is not your Joe-average taco truck, as it features plenty of shaded, sit-down dining and clean restrooms. It's truly a class operation, staffed by friendly people.
In the United States, some of the most authentic Mexican food is dispensed from taco trucks, as taco trucks don't seem to be regulated as stringently as brick and mortar restaurants. Some folks consider taco trucks an annoyance, as they attract crowds who don't always do the right thing with their litter, and, yes, they do generate a bit of "noise," as all good taco trucks play Mexican "banda" music in the background - music seems to enhance the flavor of good tacos. Taco trucks also have a reputation of dispensing poor quality food, which is maybe a smear originated by the brick and mortar crowd. Whatever the case, I love taco trucks, and I patronize them whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Juanita's isn't an ordinary taco truck operation for several reasons, including...
Dining is under a canopy, to protect diners from the searing
Yuma sun, and the afternoon thunderstorms
How many taco trucks offer those kind of amenities?
Photo: Josefina prepares my fish tacos in the shiny, clean kitchen, inside the taco truck.
Photo: Guadalupe waits for Josefina to finish making my tacos, as I sit at a table and relax... and take photos. Note the clean, comfortable seating, which is a rarity of a taco truck restaurant.
I parked my truck under a shady tree, got out, and walked over to the taco truck. Two ladies were inside chatting in Spanish; I was the only customer, The older of the two, Guadalupe, smiled at me and greeted me with a cheery "Buenos tardes," and I mumbled a greeting, but I wasn't paying too much attention, as my eyes were scanning the menu, posted above the order window, on the side of the taco truck. As the sign on 8th street states, Juanita's specialises in seafood, and they definitely have mariscos, including various combinations of "mariscos," which are a Mexican seafood cocktail, generic fish tacos, shrimp tacos, and more. They're located in Arizona, so of course the menu features local favorites such as tacos de lengua and carne asada. Just like everything about the restaurant, the outside of the truck is clean, bright and shiny.
Guadalupe and Josefina, the other gal working at the restaurant, were waiting at the order counter when I finally made up my mind to order two fish tacos. So I said something like, "OK, I'd like two fish tacos with everything that you have to offer on them, especially lots of avocado." I received a blank stare from both of them... did I say something wrong to offend them? Then a little light bulb flickered in my mind - language - so I switched to Spanish and placed my order in that language. The door opened, and Guadalupe instantly emerged as a very friendly and talkative person.
Photo: Guadalupe holds my plate of two delicious fish tacos.
Photo: Here's the real deal... two delicious fish tacos. These almost made me think that I was on the beach at San Felipe.
Guadalupe was amazed that I was able to speak Spanish, as she mentioned that most of their "gringo" customers don't speak the language, and that they get mad when they find out that she only speaks Spanish. I'm sort of on the fence with that one, as when you're in the U.S., you need to speak English; consequently when you're in Mexico, you need a grasp of the Spanish language, but I can't understand why clients would insult Guadalupe because of her lack of English skills... anyway, Guadalupe introduced me to her co-worker, Josefina, who smiled, but said little. I placed my order of two fish tacos, and sat down at one of the comfortable, clean tables, under the shaded canopy.
Guadalupe asked, "why are you taking photos," - that's a universal question that most people seem to ask when you're photographing restaurants - and I told her about this web site and the fact that their restaurant would be published on the Internet. She told me a lot about the operation, like... a) They open around eight in the morning, and stay until everything is sold out... b) She is not the owner, as she and Josefina are just workers... c) They take the truck home every night, after they close for the evening. I was able to verify that statement, as the next morning, on the way to breakfast at Las Manjares de Pepe, I noticed that the taco truck was absent. Guess they really do take it home after hours...
Photo: Guadalupe was kind enough to snap my photo, as I'm sitting at one of the tables about ready to enjoy two of some of the best fish tacos that I've ever had the pleasure to enjoy during my travels to Arizona.
Photo: Josefina and Guadalupe, the friendly fish taco ladies that make the tacos and mariscos happen at Tacos y Mariscos Juanita.
Guadalupe brought my plate of fish tacos to my table. Yuma is only a few miles north of the Mexican border, but was I really in the United States, or was I in Mexico? The tacos were good... very good ... delicious ... and some of the best fish tacos that I've ever had the pleasure to enjoy in the good ol' 'states. For starters, each taco was built on a perfectly cooked corn tortilla... then the deep fried fish was placed on top of the tortillas... yummmm.... then the condiments were added, which included, shredded cabbage, diced red onions, radishes and tomatoes, with key lines, and topped with your typical Mexican fish taco sauce, which is, basically, sour cream or mayonnaise, diluted with lime juice until it's somewhat runny. When you bit into one of Juanita's fish tacos, you'd swear that you were sitting under a palapa, on the beach at San Felipe, as these tacos are truly authentic. At the price of $1.50 each, they represent a good meal deal.
Oh yes!!!! Juanita's Tacos y Mariscos serves delicious fish tacos!
Tacos y Mariscos
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