Haggo's Organic Taco is a located on Highway 101 between Encinitas and Leucadia. The owner is usually behind the grill making some of the most delicious, fresh and organic plates in town. You must stop by and order one of his special tacos or burritos. Once you've tried these delecable dishes, you will really appreciate fresh Mexican food.
Spotlight Article: Haggo's Organic Taco
It took over a year just to get a permit, but the establishment of Haggo's Organic Taco, a glorified food truck cum grade cafe that has become a Leucadia landmark, has been a boon to foodies and Encinitas residents. James Haggard, aka "Haggo," has created an organic oasis that could have been lifted from the set of a Wes Anderson film, Jacques Cousteau acting as spiritual avatar. And it is in the details, both the design and the food, that the spot thrives. The first time I went there, after patiently watching the "Organic Taco" sign for months before the opening, I was bewitched by the straight ahead jazz coming from inside the food truck. Jazz in public is about as rare as a frozen pond in San Diego, and after ordering my veggie taco, I asked what was playing. It turned out to be Booker Ervin, and between the music and the consummate freshness of the taco, I was hooked.
Haggo is always there, an engaging and calm presence in the truck, moving seamlessly between taking orders, cooking, and bantering with customers. Haggo's is relatively new on the scene, but in many ways it seems to have been around longer than many of the older establishments along the coast in northern Leucadia. It is perhaps true that Haggo's has spearheaded the food revolution in town, the first to offer an enlightened approach to food sourcing and preparation north of Leucadia Boulevard. Not long after Haggo's opened, several other category busters have launched: Fish 101, Solterra Winery, and he Regal Seagull among others.
I asked Haggo about the genesis of the idea and his influences:
What Inspired you to open the place?
I was motivated to start own business because I worked in high end resort in rancho Santa Fe and didn't like the quality if ingredients they were using and I was really starting to understand the difference between Organics and conventional foods and GMO's
How did the food truck concept come to be?
The food truck was used because I had a lack of start up capital for a restaurant location so I got crafty and applied for a permit through city of Encinitas which was very hard and took a year but did it
Haggo's is one of the funkiest spots in village that abounds with funk; what are some of your design influences from the surf culture and in general?
I don't really have any direct influences from the surf culture at all, i love the ocean and swimming bodysurfing and love to protect the oceans, Jacques Cousteau was a great explorer and protector of the oceans so that's where his name comes into play on my menu. Also I like Wes Anderson. His movies are so eclectic and colorful and full of art-- my small patio seating area is like this in some respects.
The menu is structured around tacos and burritos, but it really has an eclectic vibe; were you drawn o any specific culinary tradition or particular institutions?
The menu and food is all me honestly. I had no influences directly more just an accumulation of watching and learning from multiple chefs over the years at the resort.
Where do you source your ingredients?
I buy my product through Alberts Organics and UNFI, also I do a lot of small buying from Jimbos and Whole Foods and I grow a small percent, but my biggest thing is using certified organic 98% minimum.
What is next on the horizon?
Next I hope is a restaurant, something that I believe will blow minds in the food and beverage industry something totally different. That is a secret for now.
And finally, what is your take on all the development along the coast, particularly in "Nolu" (North Leucadia)?
North County is seeing a lot of new development, but it still needs to come along more. If you go down to North Park or Hillcrest and compare their scene to ours, it's pretty obvious what we are lacking. But that said, Leucadia / Encinitas is changing for the better.
The one tricky thing about Haggo's are the hours: closed on Mondays and pretty much open only for extended lunch (11-3). You could easily make the case that the ever-fresh, organic-themed food at Haggo's would be the perfect choice any time of the day. Recently munching on my "Cousteau," fish taco, licking the last of the mahi laced with cumin-lime crema off my plate, I mused that this would be perfect for breakfast. Haggo's new venture will have to be a spectacular one, as the bar has been set high by his first Encinitas venture.