Eat This Now: Popcorn Shrimp Tacos at Memphis Soul Cafe

Bite size. Photo by Nick Schou

Ever since executive chef Diego Velasco began cooking food at Costa Mesa’s Memphis Soul Cafe, I’ve been eating one of his most tastiest creations—the popcorn shrimp tacos—at the rate of about one or two times per week. I have always been a fan of Baja-style shrimp tacos, but Diego’s ingenious twist on the classic Mexican dish calls for plump crustaceans lightly fried in cornmeal, then placed in flour tortillas with a generous portion of romaine lettuce, roasted red-pepper slices, chipotle aioli, and a pico de gallo garnish of onion and corn. I always ask for them with cheese, as the finely shredded pepper jack—along with a splash of Red Rooster Louisiana hot sauce—produces exactly the right amount of heat, as well as a fine excuse to quench it with a soothing IPA or two.

Memphis Soul Cafe, 920 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, (714) 432-7685;

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