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Jun 5, 2008 09:50 PM

Those 2 for 1 at Cabreras and well carmelized carnitas

I've had my ups and downs with Cabreras (in particular we usually go to the Lake Pasadena location), but I have to say we had a really nice meal last night with some of the best carnitas I've ever had. We do like those 2 for 1 coupons, and it is local, so it's been a place we've been off and on, with and without the coupons!

I like roasted meats, pot roasts, pork roasts and the like, but when I want carnitas, I want the traditional roasted then fried crispy carmelized type that is pretty much like dessert! And it was.

They have 2 salsas, the primary being too tomatoey tasting for our tastes, and the second a smoked chili tasting (chipotle? ?) which we like better, but we carried along a really hefty hot salsa verde because we really like the extra heat. I got a chili relleno and a carne asada fried taco combo (I usually go for the traditional). The carne asada was cut in the those smaller hence crispier size pieces I like, and you could really taste the lime. My only complaint is we ordinarily order double beans on the side well done/crispy, we didn't, and the regular sides of beans/rice were cool compared to the main items.

It was the best meal I've had there, I'm not sure if it was a change in cook (because they have had that over the years and shifts) but it was a really nice improvement and reassured me we need to go back!

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  1. The last time we tried the North Lake Cabrera's (we live just a few blocks away), the first thing we noticed was the red and green corn chips. This was followed by a meal that was memorable only for the arrival of an elderly guy in a leisure suit, who got onto the little stage and proceeded to sing, self-accompanied on keyboard plus one of those drum machines. We left as soon as we could without being too rude. Now, that was at least three years ago, so things might have improved, but with so many good Mexican places in the neighborhood we've had no particular reason to return. And for crummy Mexican, we frankly prefer Amigo's...

    4 Replies
    1. re: Will Owen

      I've never seen red and green chips there, and every time I've been there this past year or so, it's been quite busy (the other night there was also a large group of 28). I've never had a good meal at Amigos myself, but their margaritas didn't seem too bad as I recall, but the service weirded us out. The servers all just stood around and and stared at the customers the whole time the 2 times I was there, and both times it was not busy at all and yet the service was painfully slow, and the food took a long time even though the place was relatively empty. Maybe we just caught it on bad days.

      1. re: MaryT

        btw, i want to note i am also talking about a $5 dinner plate with the 2 for 1 if that means anything to anyone else!!!!

        1. re: MaryT

          As I said, our last Cabrera's trip was long enough ago for lots of changes to be made, so if they've lost the red & green chips so much the better.

          We've always had very good service at Amigo's especially on nights when Aurelia is the server. As for food vs. margs, we now go there mostly when our neighborhood buds declare one of their Margarita Fridays, and we get a big table and order pitchers. Eventually we get around to food - Mrs. O likes the too-sweet chicken molé, I have a weakness for their gloppy chiles rellenos, or sometimes the chewy machaca. It ain't Babita's - nor even Tonny's - but it works for us.

          1. re: Will Owen

            I haven't tried it in a coupla years so I need to give it another shot! Probably when Cabrera's was serving those red and green chips :-)

            However, Cabrera's and Amigo's are different places atmosphere wise always, no matter what. And I confess Babita's has been on my go-to list for a while, and Tonny's just mm mm good. (Yes, I'm also up for a bargain. I like taqueria and truck food.)

            I too had given up on Cabrera's at one point, they told me they had changed cooks (seems like several of the help have been there a long time) and we had some bad luck and didn't go back for a while.