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El Huarache Azteca, Oakland report w/ pics and Dia de Los Muertos Oakland Fruitvale

hhc Nov 5, 2006 10:02 PM

We went to Oakland's Fruitvale district to see the Dia de Los Muertos festival. We got there a bit after 10am and that's a good time to see everything without the crowds.

Rworange asked before if you can eat the sugar skulls-and we found out from the lady selling some that the answer is Yes! Just don't eat the glitter things they use for eyes. We bought 2 for $5. Haven't tried them though.

We had lunch at El Huarache Azteca because I saw the restaurant on Check Please and it seemed interesting. 3842 International Blvd (@ 39th Ave) Oakland.

We tried: #3 Barbacoa plate $10.50-smoked lamb plate w/ rice, beans & catus. Includes 1 order of handmade tortillas. I liked the catus and the handmade tortillas. The meat tasted a bit strange to me and I usually like lamb, B. liked it.

huarache w/ chicken tinga-the huarache is lighly fried and covered w/ chicken and cheese. It was pretty good.

huitlacoche quesadillas-black corn mushroom. Didn't have much taste but it was ok.

B. said the chips & salsa were really good.

Horchata was just ok-sweet and a bit gritty.

Total of 3 dishes, 3 horchatas, tip & tax $30.

Saw a few churros carts w/ the fresh oil, and the "Sonoran-style" hot dogs, & fruit carts but we didn't get any.

I'd recommend it for next year and go early like 10am. Getting there at 1pm is really too late, glad we left by then.

old post on Fruitvale's Day of the Dead: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/26318

pics: http://www.kodakgallery.com/Slideshow.jsp?mode=fromshare&Uc=t5dik17.5c92a1xv&Uy=vk3&Ux=0
or fewer of the same pics:

  1. Cecelia Nov 5, 2006 11:54 PM

    Thanks for the great post and terrific slide show. Next year, I'm there!


    1. Dave MP Nov 6, 2006 03:49 PM

      I also went to the Day of the Dead Festival in Fruitvale yesterday, and practically all we did was eat. To start, a friend and I shared a bag of mixed fruit with lime, chili and salt (this included jicama, cucumber, grapes, canteloupe, mango, coconut). After that I got a freshly made cheese pupusa...I forget the name of the restaurant that had the stand, but it was great. After that my friends and I continued to eat fruit....between the 5 of us we ate two bags of mixed fruit, 1 bag jicama, 2 bags of mango, 1 bag tuna and 1 bag of coconut, all with lime and salt, some with chili too. Mango was the standout.

      After this, a friend bought some strange Mexican candy that I'd never had called 'gusanos' (worms). It consisted of small tamarind flavored worm candies (twizzler-like) with a side of spicy bbq sauce to pour over them. I'd never had anything like that before.

      Next up were snowcones...one friend had tamarind with chili. I had guava, both were homemade syrups. Pretty tasty, although by this point I had had way too much fruit.

      We were there from 3 PM to 5 PM, so it was crowded but fun. Lots of good music and food to be had, this festival is definitely a chow-worthy destination.

      Dave MP

      10 Replies
      1. re: Dave MP
        Ruth Lafler Nov 6, 2006 04:26 PM

        I was there about the same time yesterday. It seemed like there was more, and more varied, food than last time. It really pays to check out all your options before buying; for example, some vendors were selling premade churros and some were selling fresh-made (and filled) churros. I noticed at least one of the stands was making pupusas fresh, but I don't know if all of them were.

        One thing that struck and amused me was that the trendy fair-food item this year was something I'd never seen before: chicharrones con cueritos, a 4x8 inch sheet of chicharrones slathered with crema and topped with chopped lettuce, salsa and sliced pickled pigs skin. A search revealed that tostadas with pickled pigs feet are a Jalisco specialty, and apparently this is a variation on that. At any rate, they were selling them up and down the street, and they seemed to be quite popular.

        Here's a blog that mentions this dish in connection with day of the dead festivals, but I can's quite parse the Spanish: http://alfrodolozano.blogspot.com/

        1. re: Ruth Lafler
          Dave MP Nov 6, 2006 05:12 PM

          Yeah, I saw the chicharrones with toppings too....they looked good, but I didn't try them. I don't think all the stands were making fresh pupusas, but many were..the one I ate was cooked before my eyes (as I took pictures) and it was amazing. Also seemed like there was lots of horchata and agua de jamaica, but not many other fresh juices. My friends in I were in search of aguas frescas but couldn't find any, only fresh fruit. But the festival was really huge....we didn't even walk through all of it!

          Dave MP

          1. re: Ruth Lafler
            Melanie Wong Nov 6, 2006 06:21 PM

            Here's my photo of the cueritos topped chicharron I had at the Cinco de Mayo festival on Sebastopol Road in Santa rosa this year.

            1. re: Melanie Wong
              Eat_Nopal Nov 6, 2006 06:30 PM

              Beautiful especially if you are going low carb & craving something carb like that is natural.

              1. re: Eat_Nopal
                Ruth Lafler Nov 6, 2006 06:49 PM

                Yeah, as long as you don't have to worry about your cholesterol (two forms of pork fat plus crema -- yikes!).

                The popularity of this item really spoke to the authenticity of the event, since it's a dish that's going to strike most "gringos" as weird, if not downright unappetizing.

                1. re: Ruth Lafler
                  Melanie Wong Nov 6, 2006 09:19 PM

                  the "chicharron" is actually made from flour, so not low-carb.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong
                    Ruth Lafler Nov 6, 2006 10:22 PM

                    I always wondered about that -- are they just chicharron-flavored flour, or is it ground chicharron bound with flour, or what?

                    1. re: Ruth Lafler
                      jerry i h Nov 7, 2006 04:45 AM

                      I had one of those god-awful things. It tasted like flour batter deep-fried in one of those big, industrial strength machines. To my knowledge, it was new, since I had not seen it at the Dio de los Muertos celebration in the past couple of years. You know those 'shrimp chips' in the chinese grocery? Well, these were the same , except it had 'chicarones flavor', whatever that is. I threw mine in the garbage after licking off the fresh onions. On the good side, I had one of the best things in a long time: the huaraches de nopales from La Torta Loca.

                      1. re: jerry i h
                        rworange Nov 7, 2006 09:03 AM

                        Chicarrone flavor is pretty much lard/pork. They are usually fried in lard. These are the same as the bagged little wheels that are commonly seen sold in plastic bags. Actually I like them and think they are pretty addictive especially with hot sauce on them. Sort of like Mexican cheetos.

                      2. re: Ruth Lafler
                        rworange Nov 7, 2006 08:59 AM

                        are they just chicharron-flavored flour, or is it ground chicharron bound with flour, or what?

                        Neither. Totally flour based and called duritos

                        You will see them in Mexican markets. The little wheels are the most popular. Once you see the wheels, next to them you will see the flat sheets. It looks like dried pasta.

                        There's a vendor that always sells them at night in San Pablo. The vendor said they made them in Pueblo where he was from.

                        BTW, the hot churro guy seems to be showing up Monday evenings on the corner of Rheem and 23rd in Richmond.

          2. p
            P. Punko Nov 6, 2006 11:13 PM

            Where to get a sonoran hot dog normally- is there a place/cart that has a usual spot? I really want to try one.

            1. Eat_Nopal Nov 7, 2006 12:12 AM

              I wonder what makes them Sonoran... the whole bacon wrapped hot dog is more of a Mexico City thing.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Eat_Nopal
                Melanie Wong Nov 7, 2006 08:00 AM

                Our chow friends in Arizona and New Mexico call them Sonoran dogs, so I have as well. My first taste of one was from a street vendor in Santa Rosa, who has disappeared, unfortunately.


                Cinco de Mayo post

                1. re: Melanie Wong
                  Eat_Nopal Nov 7, 2006 03:47 PM

                  Thanks for the info.

                2. re: Eat_Nopal
                  P. Punko Nov 7, 2006 06:48 PM

                  They are really big in Arizona, like MW said-

                3. m
                  merle Nov 7, 2006 05:44 PM

                  Be sure to return to El Huarache Azteca when there isn't a festival going on: I found the food there on Monday at lunchtime was a lot better than what I had during the festival (because the kitchen is scurrying around, trying to deal with their taco stand outside).

                  Actually, I thought the taco stand for Otaez was a lot better than all the others this year. But last year it was not...

                  1. hhc Sep 19, 2008 05:49 AM

                    This yr it'll be Sun 10/26/08! I'll be there:

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