Southern California has no shortage of taco spots. And being from Arizona, I have no shortage of taco knowledge. It's practically my life's mission to eat as many tacos as possible.
In early May, I spent two weeks traveling up the west coast from San Diego to Seattle. The main goal was to eat a lot of great food, and hang out with family and friends. And in the San Diego area, the main food-focus was to eat as many tacos as possible.
I got there before my family, so I went to Poseidon in Del Mar for their daily, taco-focused happy hour on Monday. The next day, my parents and I went to Taco Tuesday at The Brigantine. On Thursday, I picked up my brother and his girlfriend, and we stopped at a taco shop he found along the highway. Friday it was his birthday, so he picked the taco spot. And it was this fateful day we discovered The Taco Stand.
As is hilariously customary in our house, he did extensive research on the taco shop he wanted to visit. The Taco Stand came with great reviews, and they had a location close to the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla. Family-owned, they're on a mission to provide tacos just like you'd find them in Tijuana. They have the classics like carne asada and al pastor, but also a few unique options like nopales (cactus paddles). They also stock an impressive salsa bar, and their tortillas are hand-pressed in-house. The tacos are amazing, salsas are droll-worthy, and I think about their tacos every day.
So, now that I'm officially obsessed with The Taco Stand, I reached out to them to learn a little more about their pursuit in SoCal's greatest Tijuana-style tacos.
Hook & Blade: Tell us a bit about your story.
The Taco Stand: We started The Taco Stand a few years ago basically because we didn't want to have to go down to Tijuana for tacos anymore. We thought, 'Why don't we bring that experience and food to San Diego?'
H&B: In a market that's already filled with high-quality taco shops, why did you pick Southern California? Why do you think you stand out?
TS: When we decided to build The Taco Stand we didn't really see any of the other taco shops as competition for us. We were going to do our thing and do it much better than anything that exists. We wanted to follow that model from the beginning and we will never change that. We have the absolute highest quality for all our products and the freshest ingredients you can find.
H&B: Why did you decide to focus on just tacos?
TS: We are known best for our tacos but we also have burritos and a couple of extras like corn on the cob Mexican Style. We understand that being in San Diego, burritos are a big favorite and thought we should offer them as well.
[Editor's note: We must have had blinders on when we went because my family only ordered tacos and we didn't even discuss anything else as an option. We went in with a plan to order a table full of tacos and that's it. Seems like we missed out!]
H&B: What makes a taco authentic? Do you think it's important that there's a level of cultural authenticity to tacos?
TS: Being authentic is very subjective. To me, authentic means doing something well and being true to yourself. Authentic is an overrated word. There are hundreds of versions of tacos throughout Mexico and they are all authentic in their own way. We are authentic to ourselves and we are inspired by the tacos we grew to love while growing up in Mexico.
H&B: Corn or flour tortillas?
H&B: What are your favorite toppings for tacos?
TS: Guacamole, cilantro, onion, and some of our habañero salsa.
H&B: What's next for The Taco Stand?
TS: The Taco Stand is going to open in Miami next year and after that, we'll see what happens!
[Editor's note: This post was not sponsored by The Taco Stand. I literally loved their tacos so much I reached out to them after we left.]
Brianna is the Founder & Editor-in-Chief at Hook & Blade Mag. She is based out of New York City where she enjoys exploring the city, trying new foods, and people watching. She works as an Email Marketing Manager at General Assembly, and tries to travel as much as she can.