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May 23, 2008 09:49 PM

Las Morelianas Carnitas Estilo Michoacan (San Diego)

Had kind of a disappointing vegetarian meal tonight at Super Cocina, and was still feeling hungry, so decided to pop into this neighboring carnitas joint to see if they had any of the pork belly carnitas, figuring the absence of meat from my light meal was the problem. I didn't see any, but I did see an intriguing looking dark, almost brick shaped hunk of meat in the case.

I don't speak Spanish, so attempted my best to figure out all the bits. I was shown kidneys, the heart, fatty skin (versus lean skin), before we got to the mysterious brick, which wound up being tongue, just viewed from the base where it was cut. I like tongue, so ordered a tongue carnitas taco.

The cook laughed when the girl told him my order. I asked why he was laughing, and she said he always laughs whenever an order comes in. I don't believe her.

In any case, the tacos were served up with a nice mound of sliced tongue deep-fried in lard, atop two corn tortillas. I was pointed to the salsa bar, where I was happy to see a pickled blend of onions and habaneros. I dressed my tacos with these, and some cilantro.

My initial impression of these was that there were amazing. The texture of the tongue cooked in this way was completely unlike any other tongue preparation I've had. The meat had almost a soft, sponge-like quality to it, almost a fluffy texture, if that makes sense. The flavor was deep and meaty, and the pickled onion/habanero combination lightened up it's unctuousness.

As much as I enjoyed the texture and flavor, later I did feel like I'd eaten too much grease. I don't eat a lot of fried food, and this was like the mother of fatty fried stuff. I think I'd have been happy with about half as much meat - it was very rich.

Anyway, sorry this is so long, but Alex demanded I report on this. I would say that it's worth a try if you're feeling adventurous.

I didn't have my good camera with me, so this phone pic will have to suffice.

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  1. "The cook laughed when the girl told him my order. I asked why he was laughing, and she said he always laughs whenever an order comes in. I don't believe her."

    >>This made me laugh!

    So I am curious what you had at cocina?

    Your decription of taco and the pickled onion/habs makes my mouth water.


    1 Reply
    1. re: kare_raisu

      SC I had a chile relleno, beans, and 1 of the potato cakes. Potato cake was cold, and the girl slopped the broth from the chile relleno over it, making it soggy. The broth for the chile relleno was very thin and watery, and had almost no flavor at all. It was a really, really off night for them. The meat dishes I sampled at the counter were good, though. Very strange.

    2. Josh, I had a very similar experience. I was a frutilandia and the musky sent of Carnitas from next door hypnotized me.I just wanted to sample the goods so I ordered 1 taco to go. Boy I'm I glad I ordered only one, these things are huge.

      When I grabbed the bag I thought they made a mistake and gave me a burrito, the bag was very heavy. When I sat down at frutilandia and opened the box my eyes bulged out. This has got to be one of the biggest carnitas tacos I've ever had.

      I ordered a different cut then you however I came away with the same impression. I'm sure some people would enjoy these but, they are a little to rich, greasy and heavy for my taste. I'm willing to go back and try different cuts, problem is I can only finish one of these at a time :P

      1. Wow, Josh! Sounds good and your pic doesn't make it look greasy at all...I wish there were more places that served tongue. They are few and far between for such a delicious, tender delicacy!