June 14 2013 04:59 PM

In Leucadia, healthy, non-GMO options taste great, if a bit crunchy

Haggo’s chicken tacos
Photo by Jenny Montgomery

As a former Leucadian, I still pay frequent visits to my old haunts and neighborhood pals. There's a lively debate among many Leucadians about whether this enclave is losing a bit of its much-loved funkiness. I'm not against change, and I refuse to have a knee-jerk negative reaction to new businesses and architecture going in along the 101, particularly on lots and in buildings that have sat vacant and weed-infested for quite some time. But I do understand the pang of worry at the thought that this odd little community at the northern edges of Encinitas might turn into just another generic patch of concrete. 

As long as Leucadia keeps nurturing little patches of quirkiness like Haggo's Organic Tacos (1114 N. Coast Hwy. 101), I think my sidewalk-eschewing, new-agey former hometown will remain firmly connected to its funky roots.

Haggo's is a ramshackle splotch of color tucked in a small lot it shares with, among other businesses, an acupuncturist, a psychic and a small plant nursery—a very Leucadian combination of commerce if ever there was one.

The Haggo's team has created a charming little patio by putting up blue wooden fencing around a simple, stationary food truck. There's a clear Wes Anderson obsession guiding this taco ship, evident in the nautical décor, Zissou / Cousteau fisherman caps and Moonrise Kingdom posters. Although they're open every day but Monday, this is a lunch-only place, so don't miss the 11 a.m.-to-3 p.m. dining window.

According to Haggo's, 95 percent of the menu is organic, and none of the food has GMOs. This isn't a taco stand so much as a healthy, organic little eatery whose food happens to be wrapped in whole-wheat tortillas. In particular, donít expect taco-stand prices. 

Ten bucks got me two chicken tacos with a side of red quinoa and beans. I'll admit, it's hard to get revved up about such oh-so-healthy sides, but I did feel virtuous, as well as less cranky about the cost. Healthy whole grains aren't cheap filler. 

The tacos were tasty and well-balanced. The marinated chicken was juicy and tender, and the tacos were filled out with lightly seasoned chunks of zucchini, fresh tomatoes and crunchy greens. A light, cumin-spiced crema binds everything together, making an altogether pleasing meal.

Vegans and vegetarians will be happy to find meatless options filled with sweet potatoes, tomatoes, garlic and even black kale that grows all around the patio in Haggo's tiny garden. 

The Burgundy burrito consists of a toothsome tortilla wrapped around delicate chunks of grass-fed beef and rich caramelized onions. I particularly liked this lunch option because it was ample and filling, without being so overloaded that it falls apart in your hands after a few bites—a common annoyance with many a burrito. My one complaint is about having to get through all the shredded cabbage. If you like a pointless, gross, leafy vegetable in your burrito, well then get pumped—this one's for you.

"Keep Leucadia Funky" is the beach townís battle cry. You can answer the call at Haggo's.

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


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