This week in every sense ended up going in the complete opposite direction of the way in which it was planned. I was supposed to head home for a weekend with my family, but as fate would have it, we ended up staying in St. Augustine and my family will be driving up tomorrow afternoon for a little cake celebration. I was bummed not to be able to go home and spend time with them, but Ryan and a few of our friends turned my entire week around with a little impromptu, pre-birthday taco crawl.
We mapped out six different taco places between Jacksonville and St. Augustine. Ryan made us a taco score card which labeled all of our stops and five taco icons for us to rate each stop; five tacos being amazing and one taco being not our exact cup of tea (luckily no one gave any place one star!)
We hopped in the car late morning and drove up to Jacksonville for our first stop: Flying Iguana. I've heard from multiple people around town that Flying Iguana has the best tacos and I at some point had to go. Now was the time! I ordered a fried green tomato taco with black eyed peas and pimento cheese sauce and a chipotle shrimp taco with a mango salsa. Ryan had a fried chicken, gravy, pickled okra and slaw taco and a pork belly taco with pickled onions and watermelon. Kyle tried the steak taco and the same fried chicken taco that Ryan had. Lastly, Katie had the fried green tomato taco, the pork belly and an achiote chicken. We all really loved the tacos and I'm fairly certain we all gave it a 4 star review.
Next stop on our list was Corner Taco in Jacksonville! I love the atmosphere in the little shop, the flowers on all of the tables in recycled Coca Cola bottles, and the tacos are pretty good. Ryan and I have been several times but this was Katie and Kyle's first time eating there. I tried the daily special, a fried shrimp taco with habanero sauce. Ryan had the dijon buttermilk fried chicken taco, which is his usual go to whenever we make a stop in. Katie had the homemade chorizo taco while Kyle had a homemade chorizo taco and a fried catfish taco. Kyle and I gave Corner Taco three stars, Ryan gave them five and Katie gave them four.
The third stop we made was at Pepe's Hacienda. Ryan had been once before, but it had been quite some time since he'd be back for lunch or dinner. It had been on our list for months to try and now this was the perfect opportunity! We tried the chips and salsa, the chips were pretty nice and crunchy, you could tell they were fresh, but they weren't my absolute favorite. We each ordered one taco which was called the Taco Pepe. It had your choice of meat, avocado, cilantro, onion and sour cream. I ordered mine with just the veggies, Katie had pork, Kyle had steak, and Ryan had chicken. This place was easily our favorite out of all the stops. It was authentic, the service was great, and the tacos were amazing. Not to mention, the entire store is covered in colorful bunting and next door is a grocery store filled with rows of produce, cheeses, tortillas, sodas, candies and other imported items you cannot really find at most other places. We all gave Pepe's a five out of five taco stars.
Stop number four was Nalu's Tropical Take Out in St. Augustine! Ryan and I had each been here once before, but again, it was Katie and Kyle's first time eating here as well. Ryan, Katie and I each had a baja fish taco while Kyle tried the lower trestles taco which was a seasoned chicken taco with lettuce, beans, cheddar jack cheese and baja sauce. Katie, Ryan and I really loved our fish taco, but Kyle wasn't wow'd by his taco, he said he wished it had more sauce and it was bit dry. Kyle gave Nalu's a two star review, Ryan and I gave it four stars and Katie stuck with 3.5 stars.
We decided we would make Mojo's, our fifth stop, our last stop of the evening; at this point, we had been eating tacos on and off for almost six hours. Per the suggestion of the cashier, Katie and I both ordered the avocado taco, Ryan had a chicken taco and Kyle ordered the mahi mahi taco. All of Mojo's tacos come with on a flour tortilla that is layered with a crunchy tortilla and held together by melted cheese. The tacos are simple, but in my option still really delicious!
In lieu of going to Taco Shop, we've all been before, we walked next door to the Circle K and were lucky enough to find four choco tacos waiting just for us. It was the perfect way to end the day and I believe we all agreed, five out of five stars would choco taco again!
Here are our final score cards!
Taco 'bout a pretty wonderful day!