By Jay Bennett
The Two Hippies empire has expanded to include a fun taco and burrito stand on East Camelback Road. Said hippies (who also own Two Hippies Magic Mushroom Burger on Indian School Road) took over the shuttered boutique Gold Lion, on the corner of Camelback and Fifth Street, to open Two Hippies Beach House, a much-needed taquería in that part of town. Mind you, it's pretty white-bread Mexican grub at this point (it's been open only two weeks), but it does fill a niche, and it's a cool place to stop in for a cheap, quick, and filling bite to eat.
If it weren't sitting 20 feet from busy Camelback Road, Two Hippies would feel like the kind of food stand you might at the beach. There's virtually no room inside for anyone other than the person ordering food at the tall counter. Those who don't mind the crowded interior can stand and wait for their food while gazing at walls festooned with posters and record covers from the '70s and lots of comic books in plastic sleeves.
If you're not taking your food to go, there is an outside counter with stools where you can munch on your tacos, and there are four picnic tables situated on a wooden deck that is elevated about 4 feet off the ground. It is covered, misted, and filled with plant life. Even with the weather still being toasty, the deck is a great place to enjoy your eats.
Two Hippies' sign declares it to be "home of the fish taco," which is what really caught the eyes of the missus and me. Ain't nothing better than a good fish taco. Back in our Michigan homeland, we'd never had such a thing. Even in Chicago, where we'd live before Phoenix, a fish taco was a rarity. Since moving out here, we've fallen in love with the delicacy.
I'm pleased to report that the fish taco at Two Hippies is pretty good, though not quite a home run. Going for it is the fish itself — chunks of actual whitefish (not some processed fish stick). It was super-flavorful and, obviously, cooked fresh to order. It was garnished with shredded cabbage, tomatoes, and cheddar cheese, which is a no-no in my book. A fish taco does not need cheese, especially when it's lame, food-service shredded cheddar. Also, the flour tortilla was not great. Corn is superior in the world of fish tacos. Don't get me wrong; the tacos were decent and, at $4.50 for three big ones, an amazing deal.
Fish taco: See that drink? It's mango lemonade. Yum! I tried the pork burrito, which wasn't bad and, at $4, was also good deal. Filled with not especially flavorful pork, shredded cabbage, tomatoes, and more of that wretched food-service cheese, the burrito was big and filling and fit the bill for a quick lunch. Unfortunately, the flour tortilla wasn't as fresh and flavorful as probably should've been. Because the edge of the tortillas was crunchy, I got the feeling that it'd been exposed to the air too long as it sat in its bag. Overall, it was just sort of bland-tasting. Luckily, they give you a little container of both green and red salsa with which you can dress up your burrito.
Pork burrito: Filling, cheap, but kinda eh. (Photos by Laura Hahnefeld)
Like I said, Two Hippies is brand new and likely still working out the kinks. There's a lot to like about the place. For one thing, the menu is simple and small — mostly tacos and burros featuring all the key meats. Though I wasn't blown away by the food, I can see myself hitting up this place fairly frequently because I like the concept, the vibe, and the fact that it exists where it does.
I look forward to hearing what esteemed Budget Beat readers think about Two Hippies because I have a feeling this place is going to catch on as sort of a cult favorite cheap-o place to eat.
Please e-mail me at [email protected] with suggestions and recommendations and places you'd like to see me cover in this blog.
Two Hippies Beach House 501 East Camelback Road 602-277-0399 Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.