As I pedaled my BCycle south on the River Walk trail, the seat kept slipping and the clock kept ticking away against my free hour of ride time. Following my morning of walking and taco sampling, I hoped to give my belly a break by riding to Mission San Jose. While no locals I asked could agree on their favorite taco in town — hence my need to try so many — nearly all of them agreed that I should visit Mission San Jose.
After a lifetime of explaining to people that the view from the Space Needle sucks because Seattle doesn’t look like itself without the iconic tower sticking up from the skyline, I listened when everyone — from my cheeseball riverboat tour guide to the chefs I interviewed during my visit — told me to forget the Alamo. Avoiding the tourist trap is a staple of food travel: The obvious choices, the ones that other travelers mention and that top the standard “best-of” lists, often proffer a watered-down version of the city’s culinary culture. My job, as a food writer, is to dig below that level.