location: The Beach Taqueria / Meeting Anton
What is it supposed to be on the show?
A. An outdoor
taqueria (taco cafe).
Q. Where is it supposed to be on the show?
A. On the beach,
Q. When did we see it on the show?
A. In Episode 1 (of Season 3), "Our Father".
Debra is having problems trying to track down Freebo, the suspected killer of Miguel Prado's brother.
A fellow officer, Quinn, tells her to talk to a C.I. (Confidential Informant) of his, named Anton.
When this scene starts, we see the faces of happy people talking at tables, drinking beer and playing dominoes, at what looks like a café on the beach.
The ocean is visible in the background, as is beach sand and palm trees, and a city skyline in the background. A small sign glimpsed briefly on a nearby wall reads"Taqueria" and sports a short menu.
Debra sees Anton playing his guitar, and joins him at his bench. She shows him a photo of her suspect, Freebo, expecting Anton to be able to tell her something about him, but instead he just plays with her head, until she gets mad. He knows nothing about Freebo.
As she's about to walk away, she turns around and shows him a photo of Prado's dead brother.
We learn later that Anton told her that Miguel Prado's brother, Oscar, was into drugs and owed money to Freebo.
Q. What is it actually in real life?
A. A snack shop
and a stretch of beach.
Q. Where can I find it in real life?
A. The taqueria doesn't really exist.
But the producers used existing structures and the surrounding beach area to create the fictional taqueria.
In real life, it's known as "Alfredo's Beach Club", a somewhat highfalutin' name for what is, in real life, just a beach snack shop, plus a rental window where sun-lovers can rent bikes, rollerblades & pedal surreys to enjoy on the nearby bike path. ( However, Alfredo's apparently can pull out the stops for special events. It even It has its own webpage, at http://www.alfredosbeachclub.com ).
The address is 700 Shoreline Drive, in Long Beach, and you'll find it just northeast of Linden Ave, between Shoreline Village and Ocean Avenue.
It's where the west end of the beach at Long Beach meets the east end of Marina Green Park, just south of Shoreline Drive.
For atmosphere, the producers added the small (fake) Taqueria sign, a few tables and some house plants for a more tropical feel, plus those two criss-crossed palm trees (that they seem to insert in every other beach scene).
The nearby Marina Green Park is a narrow, grassy lawn that runs along the north side of the parking lots that lie east of Shoreline Village. The grassy park runs between the parking lots there and busy Shoreline Drive.
Tucked away between the last bit of green grass (of the park), the sandy beach, and another parking lot (just south of the landmark Villa Riviera building), this small triangle is paved with red brick and houses the snack shop, rental stand, a cluster of palm trees, and some patio tables.
To find the exact spot, take
Shoreline Drive to Linden Ave. and turn south/southeast into the parking
lot. Once in the parking lot, turn left (east/northeast) and drive a short
ways to the very end of that parking lot. Running along the north edge
of this parking lot (between the lot and Shoreline Drive). Park your
car, get out, and follow the park grass northeast (about 100 yards) to
where it ends at the red-brick area.
I shot the photos below in March 2009
The photo above
shows a wide-angle view of both the red brick and the beach
There is a connection between Alfredo's Beach Club and another location: the tropical beach cafe we saw in the first season. That was shot at the Kayak Cafe, which is owned and operated by the same company that runs Alfredo's Beach Club (and a host of other concession stands across Southern California).
The area is very close to
where they filmed several other scenes for Season Three, including the
Prado's beach party and the scene
where Dexter & Miguel sat
on the beach (following an incident with Ramon). And it's a very short
drive from Shoreline Village, where the "Dexter" crew has filmed
multiple scenes, for all three seasons.
Q. How the heck did you figure out where it was?
A. I had originally been told, incorrectly, that the taqueria scenes would be shot over near the Belmont Pier (where they filmed other scenes this season). So when I first saw this scene, I assumed that was where it had been filmed.
But a closer look revealed a skyline in the background that didn't match that of the Belmont Pier area. So I looked for the most obvious building seen in the background, a zig-zag tower that turned out to be at 1310 E. Ocean Blvd (the Ocean Club condos).
I also noticed that you could see one of Long Beach's oil islands in the background, as well as boats anchored at the marina, and a breakwater.
It was then just a matter of triangulating those various points to determine the position of the cameras.
a real breakthrough came when I briefly spotted red brick under the feet
of the diners in the scene. That allowed me to precisely pinpoint
the exact spot where they filmed.
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