When I told my friend, Myranda Propaganda, (her own spin on her name) that I was coming to San Diego, both of us thought the same thing. Food and where. She was fretting on picking the right places, but ever since she moved from Nashville, I would hear about this meal and that meal, so I knew she would pick well. I told her the first thing I wanted was tacos. Carnitas. Pork. Simple. She said she knew exactly where to meet. The Carnitas Snack Shack in North Park, San Diego.
We pulled up to a small green building, a long line of 25 people in front of us, and no where to park. Good thing neither the parking nor the line scared us away, because the line moves quickly, parking can and will be found, and hidden behind this little building is a large garden patio with lots of tables, and happy eaters.
Since the tables are hidden from the ordering window, I had no peak at what the food looked like. There are about 8 things written on a chalk board, very reasonably priced for such high quality, casual food.
The menu changes daily, and the ingredients are sourced locally, as much as possible, and listed here. The pastured pork is not local, and comes from Salmon Creek Farms, which they believe provides the best nutrition, cleanest environment and humane treatment. No wonder the food is so good. Orders are given at the window and will be delivered to your table in the large, garden patio in the back.
As Doug was getting carnitas tacos, I ordered what I think three out of four people order, which I discovered once we got to the seating area, and after eating this, it’s all I would ever order.
The pork belly, glistening in a sweet soy glaze is accompanied by frisee dressed in a light lemon vinaigrette, exactly what you need to cut through the rich fatty pork that has just moved into first place as best bite of the year. Pork Belly might just be my new go to.
The carnitas were no disappointment either. Tender, succulent pork, piled high on homemade tortillas with guacamole, so ample in size, two could almost be shared.
Myranda Propaganda ordered the triple threat, proving to bacon lovers everywhere that even a deep fried pork cutlet can be made better with bacon. The french fries are seasoned, skinny and crisp and can’t be improved.
The caramel brownie with bacon sounds cliche and possibly overdone. It’s not. It’s just enough bacon to bring texture and a little salt to the sweet. While I was bound to only take a bite, I yielded a few times. I’m convinced that bacon on desserts should no longer be considered trendy, but considered a baking staple the way sea salt now is.
Locally owned by Chef Hanis Cavin and Sarah Stroud, this is their first joint venture. Stay tuned. The inspiration for the name comes from their vegan pig, Carnitas Speck. I like a chef with a good sense of humor.
Chef Cavin knows how to slow cook pork, keep the menu simple and stunning.
Located at 2632 University Ave, North Park, San Diego, CA 92104 | 619-294-PORK | Open Daily 12PM-12AM.
Find the Carnitas Snack Shack in San Diego by looking for the long line.