Frugal Find of the Week: Tacos Baja Ensenada

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East L.A.’s Tacos Baja Ensenada has developed a cult status among pescado enthusiasts over the last 10 years. In the summer months especially, lines stretch out the door, even as cooks churn out crispy fish tacos with the efficiency of a Shanghai assembly line. Much like New York pizza or Chicago hot dogs, Ensenada-style fish tacos have become the subject of international obsession for those who’ve sampled the real thing. Tacos Baja serves a fine example of what many crave: crispy battered white fish filets wrapped in corn tortillas topped with chopped cabbage, diced tomato, rich crema mexicana, and hot sauce. Tacos are $1.59 each ($.99 on Wednesdays) and for only two quarters more, plump fried shrimp can be subbed in for fish (an option we highly recommend). A more adventurous choice might be the tacos de cahaumanta served on weekends, which roughly translates to “turtle-style manta ray”. This dish was traditionally made with stewed sea turtle, but manta ray was swapped in when Chelonia mydas was placed on the endangered species list in 1978. The result tastes surprisingly similar to trout and other delicate buttery fish, even if it’s rippled texture might be slightly reminiscent of a tire tread. Seafood cocteles, doused in tomato sauce and lime, serve as the perfect antidote for the summer heat. No matter how hot it gets, though, crowds will always jostle for the complimentary trays of spicy guero chiles dusted with red chili powder. Just make sure to have a glass of horchata on hand afterwards.
5385 Whittier Blvd
Los Angeles, CA
(323) 887-1980

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