We had other eating plans for later in the day, so I opted for something smaller than my usual wet burrito lengua. Their menu is rather expansive, so I just chose the special from a sign on the counter: Costillas de Puerco en Salsa Quemada (pork ribs in salsa quemada).
Salsa quemada isn’t exactly standardized, but the basic idea is that at least the tomatoes and chiles are smoked. Tacos Ensenada’s salsa quemada is indeed nicely smoky, but it also has a great fruity spice from whatever various chiles Tacos Ensenada uses, and he dish overall is hearty and pork-y. Salsa quemada is also available from their salsa bar, but one doesn’t get the benefit of the costillas and all the goodness they bring to the table. It comes with rice, beans, and tortillas, all of which are always good.
It’s a good value for $7.95, too.
I have no idea how I did not about Tacos Ensenada before a couple of months ago. I had always thought the area around El Toro and the 5 was something of an culinary wasteland – Guitar Center and Smart & Final were always the main reasons to venture to the area. To illustrate just how bleak my perception of the area was, I can say that I was genuinely happy when Lee’s Sandwiches opened there! Tacos Ensenada is somewhat hidden from view off Raymond, a small side street, in one of the many subdivided shopping centers running along each side of that stretch of El Toro. I don’t usually get wet burritos, but the first time I went there, the person taking our order offered the wet option. Without really thinking, I said yes, and chose green sauce over red. Going to a new place always spurs me to try something new, and it turned out I had no idea what I was missing. The burrito is massive, wet or not, and filled simply with meat, rice, and beans. Wet, it comes covered in melted, not to mention activated, cheese and your chosen sauce. Silverware is, of course, needed.
I did say it was big.