HOME > Chowhound > San Diego >


Found! Oaxacan Restaurant already in Escondido (+ extra Escondido info)

Ok...so I am down in Escondido today to pick up some Lobsters at Major Market which are on sale for $9/lb. I decide to swing by the Swap Meet because enterance is free today on Thursday.

The place was pretty empty compared to the weekends when you can hardly move around, vendors are pitching you left and right en espanol and the smoke of grilling asada fills the air.

Looked like just some of the produce people were open.

I wanted to take some pictures to post for these boards as a means to get you folks up to this part of town and check out Escondido's Mexican food scene. Thus far, I think Leucadian is the only one.

So I am taking some pictures of the closed restaurants in the food court area, and here comes the proverbial security guy running up telling me in broken english that its not allowed. A "Lo siento" and "No Mas" later I'm talking with the guy who turns out to be pretty cool and is from the Mecca of Carnitas: Uruapan, Michoachan.

I ask him where is his favorite place for comida in the swap meet. He says the magical words (in my mind) 'Birria de Chivo' at that Fiesta Oaxaquena restaurante down there, he points to the other side of the swap meet.

"What? There are more restaurants down there?" I ask him. I had never actually gone way over to the other side of the market. hmmmm....."Fiesta Oaxaqueno" you say?

He tells me go check it out...and I am off.

Turns out there is a second food court or alley at this swap meet....Lo and Behold I see the sign for "Restaurante Fiesta Oaxaquena." I am so happy! A secret Oax dive in SD!

I see two women inside doing preparation work --I strike up a conversation with one. I begin in my terrible spanish and she replies back in perfect english. Turns out her name is Lucy and she has lived in SD - Encintas, San Marcos, and Escondido for 20 years. She opened this restaurant 3 years ago.

We must have been talking for 20 minutes about everything possibly chow related. This woman is the epitome of passionate about the cuisine of her patrimony. She was surprised about me -a 20 year old young gringo- knowing about Oax. I explained my introduction through my Oaxaqueno co-cook and friend Francisco.

She told me that people pay the enterance fee to come to the swap meet just to eat her clayudas. She expressed her want to open a restaurant outside the SM. I asked her of the possiblity of teaching classes, she was enthuastic about willing to do so, should there be interest (!!!).

She makes different Oax guisados - even negro and Estafado! - my favorite.
Hate to break it to you but there was no chowing for me today here. Only Prep work is done thurs for the busy 3 day weekend at the Swap meet.

I am going this weekend. Anyone down for a chowdown?

Ive posted pictures on my flickr site for you guys to check out. Included also pics of a Tortilleria which I like for their Pina Tamales and the famous Rworange Paleteria.


Best Regards!

Ok Im tired.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Damn that sounds awesome.

    1. My hat's off to you. You have a nose for these things, that's obvious. Great write up, great find. When are you going back?

      1. Okay, details dude. Where is the swap meet, what are the hours and how much does it cost to get in. Can't do Saturday, but Sunday might be a real possibility. Did you happen to ask her about chapulines?

        5 Replies
        1. re: DiningDiva

          Ok, If you guys are coming on the 15 N: take the 78 E (Ramona) and get off on the first exit - Center City Pkwy. At the first light (Mission Ave.) make a right. Continue on Mission, till you see the big red Swap meet sign on your left - make that left. Turn into SM Parking lot.

          Its $1.50 or $1.75 to get in on Sat. or Sun. Not sure about hours. I've always gone in the afternoon.

          I'm down with Sunday.

          I forgot to ask about Chaupalines DD- but real deal with the asiento on the clayudas.

          1. re: kare_raisu

            7:00AM to 5:00PM on Sat and Sun,
            3:00PM to 9:30PM on Friday
            What time on Sunday?

            1. re: Leucadian

              Folks, we're all for in person meetups and great chow, but we ask that the communication & planning occur offline. We removed a bunch of posts going down that road.

              We ask someone here to take lead, post your email, and take this off site. Thank you.

              1. re: Leucadian

                Use SDChow, that's what it was set up for.


                To subscribe send an e-mail to SDChow-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
                Many of the frequent posters on this board are already members.

          2. re: DiningDiva

            This should answer your question:
            )Sorry I had to go today --- to check it out for you guys tommorow.

          3. That sounds amazing - and I love your pictures. I DEFINITELY have to get over to Super Cocina - I think I read it's veg right now for Lent, no?

            2 Replies
            1. re: Alice Q

              Hey Alice, didn't mean to give a wrong impression. It's not 100% veg for Lent, they just offer several veg items.

              1. re: Josh

                Ah - that makes sense. Thanks for clarifying!

            2. http://flickr.com/photos/98128783@N00...

              Did you guys notice this? See note in pic?

              Aliceq - Thank you. :) Ive been interested in the Lent dishes for a while since Josh first reported them. I have tried their 'Romeritos;' which are dried shrimp-potato cakes in a spicy tomato sauce with cactus. Very interesting, and quite a depth to this dish.

              7 Replies
              1. re: kare_raisu

                Actually, romeritos are an herb-like vegetable. It looks sort of like a sprig of rosemary crossed with a succulent. It has an herby, grassy flavor. IIRC it's fairly pungent. It is a common ingredient in the dish you described above, but the name comes from the fact that it includes romeritos.

                Torta de tamal is frequently sold on the streets of Mexico City for breakfast. It's a tamal stuffed into a torta - which would be a telera roll - and doused with salsa. Think carb loading.......

                1. re: kare_raisu

                  Around Yuma, those dried shrimp patties in red sauce with nopales are called tortas de cameron. I like 'em, but they tend to be salty.

                  Looks like an interesting spot, but too bad the place doesn't have homemade agua frescas.


                  1. re: Ed Dibble

                    I had these on Friday for lunch at Pico Rico, and boy were the salty and had the texture of a old sponge. The sauce and nopales were good. Might not be a good dish to sit around in a steam table.

                    1. re: stevuchan

                      Could you give me directions Stevuchan to Pico Rico if I am coming on the 15S/163s?

                      1. re: kare_raisu

                        15 would be exit miramar head west, it will be on the right, behind a Togo's and Denny's in the Tower Center. Here is a map.



                        1. re: stevuchan

                          Many thanks. This place is next on my list. Any other unusal guisados you have come across thus far?

                          1. re: kare_raisu

                            None that have not been already mentioned. I'll keep an eye out.

                2. Excellent work kare raisu! Please be sure to try the Flor de Calabaza emapnada at Fiesta Oaxaquena and report back, it's been such a long time since I had those!

                    1. re: kare_raisu

                      I finally found Cocina de Maria, as I drove East on Mission from Escondido Blvd. It's at 170 E. Mission, just a few blocks from El Tigre, the Paleteria, and Ritmo Latino. The place behind it is Bananas, which I think is the liquido shop, right? I didn't have time to go in to either one, but at least now I know where they are.

                      1. re: Leucadian

                        Its really a great attractive little restaurant Leucadian. I hAve the menu - i think- if I can find it I will scan it. I like the huaraches here.

                        On a side note, the place across the street -Sabor a Mexico folded - its now a ABC Japanese restaurant -- so sad.

                        Only Pueblan resto in SD with cemitas

                    2. kare_raisu's find was awesome. Had a dish called Tlayuda, which was an ultra-thin, crispy, flour tortilla (not fried, but toasted and partially charred), smeared with chorizo-spiked black beans, spread with shreds of moist Oaxacan cheese, and topped with a thin slice of cooked dried beef, tomatoes, and avocado. Also tried the grasshopper taco, which was interesting, though not something I'd likely get again. The grasshoppers were crisp, salty, and lemony.

                      They had a really hot habanero-based salsa that went very well with the various dishes.

                      I also had a bite of kare's ribs. These were stewed in a sweet, thick chili sauce, and were great. I will definitely go back to try more stuff, great find.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Josh

                        I had a great time finally meeting you guys. I love to be with people so evidently passionate about food....it made my day to see you guys liked the Fiesta Oaxaquena.

                        Those Pork spare ribs in a mole coloradito sauce (Costillas de Puerco en Chile Coloradito) knocked my socks off. I cant even begin to describe the complexity of the sauce. WOW! was that good with that earthy black bean puree, garnished with the lactic glory of queso oaxaca.

                        The marrow was literally coming out of the cross cut bones. I left there a very happy man. ;)

                        They were jamming when we all got in there. Sunday is the day to be at the Swap Meet evidently. Even some entertainment with the high unicycle guy juggling torches!

                        Let me know when you are going back...I need no convincing. There is a whole menu and specials to work through - that is - if we get there early enought before they run out!

                        1. re: kare_raisu

                          It's always fun to hang with Gayla and we did have a terrific day yesterday.
                          So nice to meet you, Kare, and Josh. Doubly nice to partake of such delectable goodies. I loved my costillas (cut them with a fork) in that delicious mole. The sope was a BIG surprise...big, being the operative word and tasty too. We were salivating over the carne de res that so many people were ordering. Sold out early so we'll definitely have to go back. Champurado is yummy too but it's a complete meal on a cool morning, I wouldn't be able to eat anything else.
                          The bakery was real interesting. I got some awesome, fresh chicharones. Can't wait to make my chile colorado tonight and have another great meal.
                          Thanks, Josh (not Chris..excuse me!) for the rec to visit the Wine Cellar. We left a bit lighter in the pocket but worth it. What a great selection of wines and liquors of all types. And cigars too, no less,....my preferred dessert. I also picked up some Schweppes Bitter Lemon which I have difficulty finding although I don't know why. It just seems to have gone out of favor but makes a terrific drink on it's own and a decent mixer for a number of drinks. Besides the very extensive wine selection, they have a comprehensive selection of miniatures and some nice glassware and decanters. An all in one beverage stop.
                          I had a terrific day in Escondido. Never get up that way but will certainly return. I sure wasn't aware they had such hidden gems. Alex, you are a valuable resource and fun too!

                          1. re: P Macias

                            Thank you for the kind words Pat. :) I can't tell you how much I enjoyed 'breaking bread' with you guys (and learning quite a bit about Mexican and Vietnamese(!) cuisine). I only wished we could have had nicer weather.

                            It is great to find such a place with delicious food but eating alone has always made me kind of sad, hence my happiness.

                            Let us know how the chile colorado turns out! I am kicking myself for not grabbing one of those chicharrones too!

                            I hope to see you at the Panaderia's restaurant opening.

                      2. Another bookmark for if I get down that way again. Isn't it about time for those special spring tamales at the tortilla place in Vista?

                        Great find. I can't believe for the half yearl I lived in the area that I turned down going to the Swap market week after week.

                        Me: Do they sell produce or food there?

                        Roommate: Nothing special

                        Me: Ok, maybe next week.


                        3 Replies
                        1. re: rworange

                          Did you see your Paleteria on my flickr site, rworange?

                          Rworange you need to get back here! I''ll have to call Tortilleria Los Reyes and check on those special tamales!

                          Coincendentally, I found out my favorite carnecero in Fallbrook is from Sinaloa, the state of these tamales and those of the sweet bean (frijol dulces). He might be able to convince his wife to make some extra for me should Los Reyes flake out.

                          1. re: kare_raisu

                            The rollover options ont that clayuda is too cool ... where you identify each part of the dish ... including the table stain ... lol.

                            Aw, gee. I wanted to get in the car and get a palata. Brought a frozen tear to my eye.

                            Great photos.

                          2. re: rworange

                            Well, at least you're still in the area to enjoy it <sigh>. I moved to Northern Cal four months ago and lived in San Marcos previously for a few years (and in North County for 6 1/2 years). I knew about the swap meet but never thought about going. Had I known about the sopes, I would've ventured out there. Ah, well! If I'd known about Chowhound before I moved away, there are a lot of eateries I would've checked out before I'd left.

                          3. I will second Josh, Fiesta Oaxaqueno is very good. I had the tlayuda as well but ordered mine as the combination, which gives you a choice of cecina, tasajo or chorizo. I chose cecina and tasajo (which is cecina enchilado) and realized later I probably should have tried the chorizo. The tlayuda extended over the rim of the 9" plate on which is was served. The portion of cecina and tasajo were both generous and tasty. I thought it was good.

                            I also ordered a sope for us to share. The sopes are about 5-6" in diameter and come with a choice of 5 or 6 toppings including pollo, chorizo and quesillo. I went with the quesillo which a fresh Oaxacan cheese that strings and melts like mozz but is tangier and, I think, creamier. The sope ($1.50) was good with a layer of beans, the quesillo, some shredded lettuce and capped off with a very generous shower of fine cotija. The problem I always have with sopes is that the masa base is always tough. This sope was too, but not as much as others I've eaten. I would order it again, especially on a warm day if I was just looking for a snack.

                            My friend Pat ordered the guisado of costillas. Small and very meaty pork ribs were swimming in a delicious mole rojo. The meat was very tender and falling off the bone. The mole was delicious with pronounced hints of canela.

                            They were sold out of Caldo de Res, tamales and champurrado by the time we got there unfortunately. The caldo is served Sunday only and the bowls that Pat and I saw while waiting for Josh and kare looked fabulous, not to mention that they were ENORMOUS. I would definitely go back, and I'd go back early enough for champurrado and the caldo.

                            After the swap meet we headed over to Panaderia Ortiz. I am almost always seduced by the aromas in a panaderia and then disappointed when I eat the goods. Not here. As usual my senses took over and I loaded up a tray with a variety of goodies. I nibbled on a couple of them when I got home, and so far I have not been disappointed.

                            And to rworange, shame on your ex-roommate. Not only does the swap meet have food vendors it sells the raw materials too. There were the requisite mountains of chile, mostly chile de arbols, guajillos and pasillas but dried chipotles as well. Many varieties of beans, Mexican pastas and even some good looking dried pozole corn. Fresh chiles were pretty much limited to poblanos, serranos and jalapenos. The remaining produce was pretty standard stuff, much of what can be found at a farmers market, though not as expensive as some of the local farmers markets here in SD. At one end of the swap meet was a vendor with 2 large grills loaded up with seasoned chickens grilling away, there were licuados, tortas, tacos, BBQ, the SubMex deli and even chinese food. But by far the most unusual food stand we saw was the one with the sign proclaiming "BAVARIAN FOOD" above the door, but inside the door was decorated completely in Chinese knick knacks and all the signs were in Spanish. I took a picture but have not down loaded it yet. Having read a lot of your posts over the years I think you would have enjoyed wandering around this place.

                            And Josh, thanks for the tip on Holiday Wine Cellar. We stopped by after the bakery. All I have to say is, thank god it's not local to me. It does have about the best selection of Tequila I think I've seen in San Diego. And, per our discussion at lunch, they do have several bottles of the Del Maguey mezcal ($74).

                            7 Replies
                            1. re: DiningDiva

                              My 21 Birthday is on St Patricks day. I know what I have to pick up. Your description of the process DD is one of the most interesting, intriguing things I have heard. Next time you go to Mexico - can I tag along?

                              1. re: kare_raisu

                                Kare, you share a B-day with nephew :-).

                                Contact me off-line via SDChow about going to Mexico. I think that is something we can arrange and you will be AMAZED.

                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                  I can only imagine! It really got my itching on planning a trip to Mexico when you said that the little swap meet is nothing compared to the markets you have experienced in Mexico. Not to mention your Guadalajara Market report on your blog!

                                  1. re: kare_raisu

                                    I second the motion, Kare. You and the DD come down here together and I'll show you the high spots of Guadalajara--and points east.

                                    1. re: cristina

                                      I can taste the messy tortas ahogadas already... :)

                                      This would be awesome, could not picture more perfect tour guides!

                              2. re: DiningDiva

                                Cool, glad you made it over there. I had to get home, so I didn't have a lot of time to browse looking for that mezcal. Glad to hear they have it, that will be my next splurge bottle for sure.

                                1. re: Josh

                                  With all the fabulous wine they had, I ended up buying some asepticly packaged French import just for the novelty of it. It was surprisingly drinkable.

                              3. Birria breakfast accomp. by chaupulines amuse bouche

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: kare_raisu

                                  And I'll bet if some fancy restaurant had an amuse bouche of them, people would be scrafing them down. nice picture. So, are they eaten separately like potato chips or are they sprinkled on the birria ... gosh, I hope not the latter ... waiter there's a grasshopper in my goat soup ... birriea de chivo?

                                  1. re: rworange


                                    Actually, the owner called me whie I was hunched over my soothing soup: "Alex, you want some chaupalines today!?"

                                    Me: "Uh....umm...Ok, yeah Simon!"

                                    They are actually growing on me. Salty, bright and citrusy, crispy --what not to like?