La Mission, Berkeley, CA

If you ever crave some good mole poblana, La Mission is your answer. Tender slow cooked pork generously immersed in a dark rich sauce, carefully wrapped in a fresh tortilla - the result is a lovely mole burrito that is sure to please any palate.

La Mission is not your typical taco joint that serves greasy Mexican food. The tacos and burritos, despite their hearty portions, are all relatively clean creations.

The restaurant is tiny with indoor seating that could accommodate no more than 10. They do have a fairly large outdoor patio with large tables. On a nice sunny day it would be great to enjoy some nice food outdoor. Parking lot is small and fills up rather easily. Street parking is your best bet.

Loteria Taco Bar, San Pedro Marketplace, San Jose, CA

Loteria Taco Bar is a relatively new tenant at the San Pedro Market serving Californian style Mexican bites. The tacos were decent but a bit pricey for what they are. Had the shrimp one and al pastor one. Both tasted fine but nothing significantly better than what you could find at any other Mexican eateries. For a $3+ each, the taco size is surprisingly small.

The $4 churros order came as basket of half a dozen churro chunks with chocolate dip on the side. Make sure you have friends to share them with if you want to get that. The agua fresca was good.

I love their clever use of technology. You can opt to get a text message alert when your food is ready. You can also check the status of your order to see how many orders are in front your yours.

Final Verdict

Food: 3/5. Fresh ingredients but perhaps a bit too healthy and too Californian.

Service: 3/5. Cute little counter with smart use of technology.

Ambiance: 3/5. Common dining area shared with other tenants at San Pedro Square.

Price to Value: 3/5. A bit pricey for tacos.

Catch Isle, Westfield Shopping Mall, San Francisco, CA

Cheap bites at the Westfield Shopping Mall food court.

The fish tacos weren’t so great. Topping were weak. Tortilla shells were dry and the flavors were very bland. You can have your fish grilled or fried but neither was impressive at all.

The blackened catfish was surprisingly good. Portion is tiny but the fillet was tender and full of juice. Wish it came with something else other than the fairly tasteless blackeyed peas.

Final Verdict

Food: 2/5. Fresh fish with little flavors.

Service: 2/5. Order from the counter and wait patiently for your buzzer to go off.

Ambiance: 1/5. Mall food court common dining area.

Price to Value: 3/5. Cheap light bites that will fill you up for just a few bucks.

Island Taco, Waimea, Kauai Island, HI

The tacos here were the most memorable things I have eaten during my Kauai trip. Just because they sell tacos don’t immediately assume it is a Mexican eatery. It is a 100% Hawaiian place with a lot of island flair.

Ahi and Mahi Mahi tacos were both heavenly. If it is your first visit, do not leave without trying either one (preferably both). You will be really silly to order something like pork or chicken and pass up the seafood. The fish tasted very fresh and the seasoning really complimented it well.

One thing you need to know - these tacos are not human size. A single one is filling enough for most. Don’t even think about getting two unless you are training for an eating competition. Their freshly made tortilla tasted amazing. The fried tortilla chips on the side were irresistible too. I love the variety of dipping sauce available. Cilantro Lime and Shoyu Curry were both so very delicious.

Make it a must stop on your way to Waimea Canyon.

Final Verdict

Food: 4/5. Really can’t say no to those fish tacos.

Service: 5/5. Very friendly and full of smiles.

Ambiance: 3/5. Very small restaurant with mostly outdoor table, you get to enjoy the island sunshine.

Price to Value: 4/5. Big and tasty.