Fish taco review #2: Sancho’s, with baby

sancho’s fish tacos
Originally uploaded by Liz Henry.

Sancho’s is in a struggling strip mall in Emerald Hills, an unincorporated bit of Redwood City that’s up in the hilly bit — where houses get mega expensive and there’s no sidewalks. In that context Sancho’s is a miraculous piece of real life and public social possibilities, across the street from the gas station and the skeevy Canyon Inn; next to the defunct Emerald City Market (under construction for the last 5 years); next to a nail parlor and a tiny cafe and a corner store.

The fish tacos are humonguous. I remembered them as being delish, and it’s Squid’s favorite taco joint, so, was prepared for heaven.

It was more like fish taco limbo. The tortillas were reasonable, but were flour ones from a package. The fish was dense, heavy, chewy – and I’ve come to prefer light flaky fish. It was good, andn plentiful, but maybe a tiny bit too fishy. The spicy cream sauce … not spicy. Limes! (A huge plus.) Three kinds of salsa in a side bar, and free chips in a basket. The cabbage was okay.

Somehow, it fell short of Al’s. It didn’t have the caribbeanness that I associate with a good fish taco – spicy and citrus. It has the perfectness of a good thai spring roll.

So, Sancho’s was good and has a *great* atmosphere. There’s always hunky cops and firemen and construction workers in there, somehow, chatting. (CANDY.) There’s cool art on the walls, including some retablos that I like a lot. They have free Sancho’s fridge magnets. It has a hang-out feel to it, with regular customers. Coca-Cola in oldstyle glass bottles, bottled in Mexico, which tastes different. Soccer was on the flat screen TV, but we sat out at a sidewalk table. (I saw Italy score a point against Ghana.) Close to heavy traffic, and yet pleasant in the way of feeling that we were part of our neighborhood!

Squid’s baby, Mali, read to us from the ABC Seuss book. I swear to god she was saying “F F F” on the correct page. When I sneezed, she blessed me. (How old is she, like 18 months? WTF!) And then she demanded that I walk up and down the sidewalk with her. “I walk! I walk! I walk!” Usually kids that small don’t use pronouns correctly. Ep’s son entertained us by counting the seconds that would make up 10 minutes. I swear to god if his energy could be harnessed, we would solve a lot of the world’s problems – he’s like a wind farm or magma. I wish I had some of that. In between teasing the grownups, he did something mysterious in a mind-meld with his Pokemon Gameboy Thingie, which perhaps is an alien conspiracy to harness that very energy in a little-kid-exploiting SETI@Home project.

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