Since Santa Barbara is devoid of any daily printed news source worth reading, I'm an avid reader of the local news site, Edhat, which amongst the numerous daily postings about the daily gang stabbings and trouble with the annoying homeless fucks that have completely overtaken the town, people post up tidbits of local knowledge, often involving food. Well, there was a thread the other day where someone asked where to get the 'best fish tacos'. Ahhhhhh, now there's some news worth reading!
I was pleasantly surprised to find that my personal favorite fish taco, the always wonderful Palapa, was being mentioned more than anyplace else, but another name that came up a few times was Mexican Fresh on the Mesa. Interesting. Even more interesting was the revelation that they make their tacos out of fresh caught local fish. Now that sounds bueno.
I used to go to Mexican Fresh quite often, but it seems that a few years ago the food took a turn for the worse, not sure if the ownership changed or what. Hell, maybe it was just me losing my taste for it, but I've probably only been there a couple times in the last 8-10 years and I've never had their fish taco.
So I headed over on a hot Saturday afternoon to give it a try. Sure enough, the 'specials' chalkboard noted that the catch of the day was swordfish or salmon (I hear that they get their fish from The Santa Barbara Fish Market). Tacos are $3.45 for the salmon and $3.95 for the swordfish, perfectly acceptable prices, and available grilled or fried. I ordered up a grilled swordfish taco and a Pacifico and sat down on the patio to enjoy the always pleasant Mesa scenery of young City College coeds making their daily jaunt to Blender's or to the laundromat next door.
Taco was up a few minutes later. Very, very nice. A size-able portion of fish on top of a couple tortillas, piled high with a nice cabbage sauce and the excellent Mexican Fresh pico de gallo (they've always had excellent salsas). A less hungry reviewer may have remembered to take a photo, but alas, I dove right in and forgot. The swordfish was fresh and perfectly grilled, sprinkled with a bit of lime and a touch of salsa verde made it a truly really excellent taco for not a lot of coin. Better than Palapa? Maybe, but kind of a different animal so it's hard to compare. This is more of a Baja style 'pick up a quick taco' type while Palapa serves up a much larger (and more expensive) 'sit down and feast' type. Not really worth comparing, so I won't bother. They both rule.