At that time, fish tacos were a weird and unlikely combination of food items in my mind, as I’d yet to be introduced to the wonderful flavors of Tex-Mex, or in the case of Wahoo’s, Hawaiian-Mex cuisine. But I took a chance and found a flavor that would linger in my memory and not be satisfied easily elsewhere. Considering I’ve lived in the Tex-Mex capital of cuisine (Austin, TX) and the place where Hawaiian food originated, it says a lot that I clamor for the particular type of fish tacos and side dishes that are served up at Wahoo’s. No where have I found better.
Walk into Wahoo’s in La Jolla and be ready for a bright-light, garish visual overload as every square inch of the place is plastered with vibrant surf stickers exploding with the sport’s energy. Sidewalk surfing claims it’s rights with a giant placard stating, "Skateboarding is not a crime!" Videos of extreme sports play on the overhead TV screens, and if you don’t drop salsa down the front of your shirt while being awed by the guys doing flips off the sides of mountains on their motocross machines, well, I’ll buy you a drink. Wahoo’s serves beer and wine but no margaritas, even though the food really cries out for some top drawer tequila and limes.
Place your order at the counter and have a choice of white or brown rice, pinto or black beans, chicken, beef, shrimp, fish or bean enchiladas and tacos. Sides include Maui onion rings, guacamole, salsa and chips. There are Big Kahuna options and Maui Wraps. The statement of dedication to customer satisfaction and the highest quality food ingredients ends with a warm hearted, "Mahalo." Reading it I had to check my coordinates -- was I still in Hawaii? Of course not! There are no Wahoo’s in Hawaii!
Within a few minutes our waiter delivered two giant platters to the table. Ah, the cabbage cloaked grilled fish taco was just as I remembered it. The cheese smothered chicken enchilada formed a fitting duet in the gastronomical glee club. Even the rice, mixed with a bit of the spicy salsa and fresh and fragrant cilantro played a great top note.
Wahoo’s is delicious food at a bargain price with an ultra-casual, happy atmosphere. They seems to respect what’s fresh, young and Hawaiian. There’s no doubt that Hawaii would offer major mahalo, aloha and respect if only Wahoo would please come to the islands. Till then, you’ll just have to go to So. Cal. for Hawaiian-Mex this good.
by smmmarti guide
October 17, 2002
From journal Pleasantville, with a nude beach