June 18 2012 05:38 PM

Go right for the good Mexican grub

The tinga burrito is a Dos Palmas standout.
Photo by Jenny Montgomery

Stop trying to convince me that I like Mexican pastries. I accept that I'm likely outnumbered when it comes to this county's passion for panaderías, but the appeal is lost on me. If I wanted to eat fancy-shaped pastries that taste like sand, I'd take a mold down to Beacons and chew on a piece of shoreline. When it comes to baked goods, most pasteles are mediocre at best.

Dos Palmas Panadería & Grill in Leucadia (just down the road from Beacons) probably won't change my mind about conchas and the like, but I'll be able to fill my tummy with decent Mexican grub while everyone else goes gaga over pointlessly large Rice Krispies treats.

Dos Palmas is a great new addition to the Leuc. Yes, there's no shortage of taco shops along this stretch of the 101—with Juanita's and its carnitas still reigning supreme. But Dos Palmas brings a bit more style and charm, occupying a new structure of cool concrete and warm wood. Eating in the small, covered porch of a dining area allows you to look out over the highway and take in the mass of cars, people and bikes cruising in the sunshine.

Though breakfast is served all day, in my view, the lunch offerings stood out more than the early-morning options. The huevos rancheros marked off all the necessary check boxes for flavor, but I wasn't wowed. A bit more sauce and sizzle would have elevated the dish.

The sandwiches, however, hit the spot. Though I bitch about the sweeter baked goods, a fresh-baked bolillo roll is hard to beat. My sandwich straddled the breakfast / lunch line, stacked with almost-overcooked eggs, thin slices of juicy ham and warm, melted cheese. The side "salad" that came with my meal was confusing. A few tablespoons of shredded lettuce topped with cheese from a bag makes me question the kitchen. Better to forgo such a sad-looking side and focus on the tasty sandwich.

The tinga burrito was awesome and is the type of signature offering Dos Palmas should hang its hat on. A warm tortilla is wrapped around shredded chicken and rice, all of which is bound together by a smoky, zesty chipotle sauce. This is a great post-surf meal with more depth than your average burrito.

Dos Palmas hasn't been open long, and there remains an air of disorganization. Many of the menu choices are covered with blue painter's tape. Apparently, the signage was ordered before they had worked out all the kinks in the food. I'll definitely be back and hope that as they shake off the new-restaurant jitters, things get a little more polished.

I did eventually get suckered into buying a pastry. I couldn't resist the cute gingerbread cookie shaped like the bear on the California flag. I ate its head, then its foot and then my jaw got tired from all the chewing. Enjoy, everyone else; I'll stick with the tinga and grab a donut from down the street.

Write to jennym@sdcitybeat.com and editor@sdcitybeat.com. Follow Jenny on Twitter @jennymontyinsd.


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