all up in jimmy carter’s grill

San Diego has its share of fine dining establishments, as well as what’s suddenly become an almost ubiquitous culinary trend of contemporary American riffs on locally sourced foods – not to mention the previously documented hippie vegan fare I’ve lately grown so fond of, too. Yet with the Mexican border a scant fifteen miles away, the true star of this city’s dining scene is its geography. And as longtime readers of this blog know, nothing quite gets my juices flowing like south of the border cuisine. Moreover, you can dismiss all thoughts of those half-baked Cal-Mex-Tex-Mex bastardizations – in San Diego it’s easy to find the real deal. Up in Hillcrest with friends, we stumbled into the unassuming Jimmy Carter’s. When chips promptly arrived with a trio of salsa, salsa verde, and zanahoria, the addictive chunks of pickled carrot, cured with cumin and cloves, I knew we were in good hands. Score another notch for the simply prepared tilapia tacos (perhaps the worlds most perfect food, to my mind) and the all too infrequently seen sincronizado, Mexico’s flour tortilla answer to a grilled ham and cheese. I must have been delirious from all the zanahoria because somehow I neglected to partake of the homemade chorizo.  That alone warrants a return, I reckon.

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