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Sep 26, 2006 04:09 AM

Los Reyes Tortilleria in Vista ( ATTN: rworange)

Rworange's reply to my thread about Panaderia Ortiz in Escondido led me to my latest discovery in my North County Regional Mexican cuisine quest.

I decided to head West on the 78 to vista in search of this tortilleria with the fabled blue corn saturday morning tortillas. I also had heared that the latino population hovers somewhere around 40% - so I was bound to make a few dicoveries.

The tortilla factory is located on 218 Main St. but you'll now youve reached your destination by virtue of the scent of corn in the air alone. There is an impressive sign and some nice carnceria-style folk art painted outside -- depicting the tortilla making.

Inside, you step into to a narrow market and to your left you hear the charteristic 'pat-pat' of the tortilla makers slapping tortillas - hot off the press - together.

I was checking out the meat counter towards the back which looked really nice, and noticed a sign and empty steam tables. "Birria de chivo, rico carnitas, barbacoa, menudo estilo Jalisco y Tamales" but Saturday and sunday only. man!

Then the man who was stocking kindly asked if I needed any help. I began to ask him about the prepared food on the weekends and he started to really light up -- pretty passionate foodie, and obviously pround of the operation. Turns out his name is Elias and he is from Guadaljara. Really cool guy. I had told him how I had feasted on the speciality of his town, a torta ahogada in Santa Ana only the day previous and man was he jealous!

We began to talk about the Tamales and how the style they primarily prepare is from Jalisco and DF, both places he had lived. Then I got really excited because he started to tell me that they do different tamales rotating throughout the year in addition to the typical verde and rojo. Right now they have chicken mole.

Then paydirt! He told me of a special tamale from coastal Sinaloa which I had only read about in DK's Essential Cuisines of Mexico. It's a shrimp tamal or Tamales de Cameron, with the little whiskers enclosed and all! The downside is that they only make them in March and April. Another interesting variation was a dweet black bean.

I'll be back on Sabado - he told me to be sure to pick up their famous carnitas and Tortillas de Maiz Morado/

Thanks rworange for the great tip. This place is truly a treasure.

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  1. did you happen to note their hours?

    1. Wow, you make me want to move back. I read your other report about Panaderia Ortiz and was plotting to think how I could schedule a trip to San Diego.

      Great ... great find at Los Reyes. I'm sorry I wasn't more adventurous in those days and missed those tamales. However, definately worth a detour from the main drag if I'm down that way again.

      Hmmm ... what can I plan to be there in March/April for that Sinaloan shrimp tamal?

      Great job doing that sleuthing.

      To wowimadog, the thing with this place is the earlier the better. By 9am on Saturday the blue corn tortillas are gone.

      5 Replies
      1. re: rworange

        Hey -- my pleasure, I think I can only aspire to be equally as knowledgeable as you regarding cuisine (having read many of your enlightening posts).

        I did some research and it turns out that Elias (Reyes), the man I talked to is the manager. This, I culled from a newspaper article regarding the effect of el tigre on the proverbial corner carneceria.

        Not sure of the hours, but I did notice a clipping on the wall that detailed that the tortilla making starts out at 4 am each morning....I believe they are a pretty much 8 - 8 operation.

        Just next to the Pub (which Los Reyes borders) is a mexican restaurant advertising authentic mexican comida, called el ranchero. One Menu item, stood out - tortitas de camaron -- dried ground shrimp and pork patties in a red chili sauce. Further down main is a 'Juanitas' taco shop -- I am not sure if they are related to the famous one in Encintas though.

        On a side note, I saw an advertisment in a spanish newspaper for a restaurant known as Sabor a Mexico on Mission in Escondido. They list Cemitas Poblanas as their specialty!

        1. re: kare_raisu

          Yeah, don't know that much about different cuisines. Chowhound just gives me the opportunity to ask questions and get educated in small painless installments.

          Interesting about El Ranchero. It sort of goes back to my point on the General Board recently about looking for the odd ball item on restaurant menus.

          I ate some small thing at El Ranchero when I lived there but I wasn't into looking closely at menus at that point. Sounds like it might be good.

          Did you notice if there was that Italian bakery across the street or are they really RIP? The owners were from Rome and they had some great stuff.

          1. re: rworange

            Actually I did go in there! The people I talked to were from Mexico, but they still had the "stofiagalle(?)" a poster waxed about. There menu had tacos on it even a cochinita pibil but they were waiting for 'inspectors' before they could start serving.

            1. re: kare_raisu

              That was me waxing poetic about the sfogliatelle.


              It sounds like they changed owners though. Hope they were able to maintain the quality of that sfogliatelle though.

              1. re: rworange

                I dropped by the other day and the place was very bare. There was a large gap where a stove once had been. The shelves that had been full of pastas and salami were bare -literally- although the pastry display case still had some nice italian cookies. They did have sfogliatelle, but I think the quality has suffered from my last visit a year ago. Not as crisp, filling a little flat tasting. I had a sf. and a pizelle(?), and they were gone by the time I rolled in to my driveway. But on the whole, rather depressing.

                Does anyone else still make sfogliatelle in SD?