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Sep 5, 2001 11:18 PM

Pepito's Deli

  • r

I finally made it to this deli after six months or so of strong intentions. It's a pretty torquoise building at the corner of San Pablo and Allston in Berkeley which advertises fresh tamales and other Mexican savories. Knew I'd made a good decision as soon as I got out of the car and the smells swept over me. In the deli, a long line leading up to a bar where you order food, and a couple of shelves stocking Mexican products. On the menu everything you would expect to find (tacos, burritos, pozole, enchiladas, tamales, etc.), but in some unusual combinations. I ordered a special "tacos three ways" (al pastor, asada, and carnitas). Loved it. The side of refried beans were out of a can. But the meat was intensely flavorful, especially the carnitas, but also the other two. And the tacos were soft and fresh tasting. Dressed simply with chopped tomato and cilantro (although the al pastor was also topped with a very fresh guac). Tim had a papas con chorizo burrito which was all hot and oozy and gooey and satisfying -- but seemingly missing any large portions of sausage? I also ordered a Oaxacan-style tamale (wrapped in banana leaf) to go, but haven't tried it yet. Prices are cheap. There are a couple of picnic tables outside, and a couple of round tables inside. This is a definite find.

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  1. c
    Catfish aka The Other Half Of 2 Cheap Hungry Guys

    Yes, I agree. I've been going there off and on for a few years since discovering it myself. I'm not a real big fan of Mexican cuisine, but I usually just get a regular burrito without beans. Very good indeed...

    1. a
      Alexandra Eisler

      Definite find-I can't wait to check it out! Thanks for sharing.

      Does your junior chowhound enjoy hot sauce yet?

      6 Replies
      1. re: Alexandra Eisler

        The bambino doesn't seem to mind spicy. But he hates mango! Threw a real fuss after I had some for dessert one night (now chocolate he doesn't seem to mind). I also suspect an intolerance for coffee :(

        1. re: rachel hope
          Alexandra Eisler


          We went throught that coffee thing too, not fun. I started drinking a big glass of water or oj at the same time as I caffeinate, and the problem went away (or she got used to it!)

          If it makes you feel better, I couldn't eat garlic for her first 9 months...

          1. re: Alexandra Eisler

            What a sacrifice! I don't know if I could stand no garlic for 9 months.

            But this reminded me of something I once read: breast-fed babies grow up to be more adventurous eaters than bottle babies, because formula always tastes the same, while breast milk varies, which shapes the child's expectations of what eating should be like.

            The idea just also popped into my head that the blanding or dumbing down of food in America (especially in the '50s) could be related to the advent of wide-spread formula feeding around the same time.

            1. re: Ruth Lafler

              Interesting concept. My breast fed child is a VERY adventuresome eater.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler
                Burke and Wells

                Whereas li'l ol' bottle-fed me is a very adventurous eater.

                But I have to work at it. I'm still scared of bold spices (read Indian curries and native American peppers).



                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                  Christine Vallejo

                  I nursed two children: the oldest has always been very adventuresome and the youngest (19 in October) is finally learning to trust me when I tell him to try different foods. His favorite vegetable, alas, is still a pickle.

                  Maybe there's a male vs. female subtext to the bottle vs. breast fed infant.