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La Barbacoa: Authentica de Borrego SD

This is the elusive Mexican -sweet store by-week- "secret" Barbacoa restaurant that I have heard about when talking with friends in the local Mexican dining scene. I finally made it here today for an early lunch on this chilly morning after my initial recon pass back in January [if you remember the post].

Its not secret to the county of Health as you can see the Candyland Dulceria is listed here:

I can only describe the restaurant as akin to an open air garage on the back side of the Dulceria. Inside there are benches and tables. The restaurant is waited by a mother and daughter team -and both are super friendly.

To drink you have a daily agua fresca - horchata, sangria, sidral or sodas.

They have orders [which i think composes of a quarter kilo with rice beans and consomme
)and by the #lbs.

Tacos are available in Pansita or Maszica form and there quesadillas are huitlacoche, rajas or flor the calabaza and possibly requeson.

Cosommes come as sencillo, doble or grande.

I ordered: Consomme, 2 pancita tacos, maciza and a huitlacoche quesadilla.

Interestingly very spicy! I thought this may have masked quite a bit of lamb flavor - almost greaseless- garbanzos where nicely made from scratch (not canned), nice pieces of meat.

Straight up delicious, moist, rich lamb flavor - would come back for orders

Very Good!!!! This was my favorite of all - not quite strong of a pate, livery flavor, much lighter and milder -not a strong adobada paste content either - in a word balanced. They are doing these innards perfect justice!!!

Oye, Masa Assassin sauve blanditas hechas a mano y deliciosas!
They also offer tlacoyos on the menu - a First for San Diego with that fresh masa - filled with chich, papas, or frijoles etc

>> Huitlacoche Ques.<<
Much like the the pansita - the hand of the cook is deft - equal marriage of mild rich cheese and deep huitlacoche happyness. I liked that it was not overflowing.

The green is an exact replica of El Borregos - bright - pleasant acidic ness and a roasted tomato - arbol which was smokey. And a really well done coarse molcajete salsa.

They are indeed related to the El Borrego folks here - her aunt is the older lady overthere on El Cajon.

To me - what is very intriguing is they offer Cenaduria Friday and Saturday evenings from 4-9pm this is in charge of her mother and brother.

La Barbacoa: Authentica de Borrego
3502 Fairmount Ave.
San Diego, CA

Borrego Hours
Sat 8am-8;30pm
Sun 8am-2pm


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  1. Fresh masa? Are they nixtamalizing and grinding the corn themselves. If so, they are probably pretty special.

    1 Reply
    1. re: DiningDiva

      DD I think they are getting the masa from Tortillas Lily just there on Univ - less than 5 min away.

    2. This sounds fantastic defiantly worth a trip next weekend. A Tlacoyo from fresh masa filled with chich, I'm so their!!!!

      1. Excelente! Can't wait to hear about the cenaduria offerings.Quesadillas de huitlacoche make life worth living.

        1. If you are trying to understand why I think this food - Central Mexican Lamb pit BBQ - is so special and unique, I invite you to watch this video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7gOqHT...

          It shows the beauty of the process but be warned its not for vegetarians!

          1. Thank you for mentioning this place. I just had one of the best lunches I've had in an age!

            While there today I learned that they do Barbacoa on Satuday and Sunday, 8 am to 2 pm. Then Sergio takes over and a new menu comes out!

            2 Replies
            1. re: juliebird

              Fantastic that you went and enjoyed yourself julie! What did you have?

              I went there friday night for the Cenaduria - I will be writting an epic report on that!!!

              1. re: kare_raisu

                Besides way too much to eat?

                I had the consomme, which I just loved. It was spicy but in an interesting way. My mouth did not really burn but I sure felt a kick in my throat. The texture of the garbanzo beans really did it for me. I got a single, but I'll never make that mistake again. A double next time, no question!

                Then I had the combo plate. Came with maybe 5 tortillas. And I ate every single one. The lamb had such amazing flavor. I did try both varieties of salsa but I ate my little tacos naked. It was so delicious that I did not want to alter the flavor!

                The combo plate comes with rice and beans, which were really good. But rice and beans are not my Manna, so next time I'll skip the combo plate and just get lamb and tortillas.

                To drink I had horchata. Horchata might be my favorite drink in general right now. This was, without a doubt, my favorite version of my favorite drink.

                I saw your reconnaissance report on the Cenaduria. I am very excited to give that a try.

            2. Thanks for the rec, kare_raisu! We stopped in here for lunch on Sunday and loved the pansita tacos. I admit I didn't know what I was eating at the time, but it was delicious!

              We were also impressed by the huitlacoche quesadilla, the fresh tortillas, and the excellent chunky salsa.

              Looking forward to your report on the cenaduria!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Lillian Hsu

                Orale! My taco max compadre! The pansita is super mild and delicious here. - glad you liked it Lillian! Innard lovers unite

              2. I had the perfect Saturday morning breakfast here with the Masa Assassin Family. We shared pancita, barbacoa tacos, flautas, consomees and some tlacoyos.

                >> Consomee was even tighter in flavor this time - not overly spicy either. Sipping on this soup with its smokiness and richness lent from the moritas and meat and bulked with rice and garbanzos on a cool morning has to be one of lifes great pleasures.

                >> Tlacoyos were AMAZING - these near literal pillows enrichened with cream have to be one of the finest mexican foods available in San Diego.

                >> Flautas were very good - but I prefer the thinner tortillas at Aqui. Nice to eat with rice and consomee.

                1. Delicious lamb, I like everything that I ate there. Gaby which is one of the owners and which by the way, just learned when I talked to her (friendly lady), that she cooks the lamb and runs La Barbacoa. I also learned that El Borrego was born in La Barbacoa. Gaby's mom and her aunt were partners but after a while they decided to go separate ways. The salsas are really good, the lamb is exquisite, the quesadillas flor de calabaza, cuitlacoche and rajas are out of this world (delicious). Just eating the lamb by itself taste really amazing and the consome has a great taste. I also eat at the cenaduria the gorditas de chicharron are really amizing. If you want really antojitos go to La Barbacoa and cenaduria and you will know what is real mexican food.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: relsa45

                    I agree with you - this is real mexican food here and the lamb by its self is extraordinary.

                    1. re: relsa45

                      Gorditas de Chicarrone? Now you've really got my attention. Nothing beats pork fat and corn <sigh>

                      Have you guys ever had tamales with ground chicarron and some piloncillo has been added (and sometimes pasas)? I've not seen them in SD, but they are absolutely exquisite. Rich, sweet, porky,salty.

                      1. re: DiningDiva

                        I had a great such a great weekend. Highlights are
                        Dining with K.R. at La Barbacoa and enjoying cold Michoacán treats at Neveria Tocumbo.
                        Dinner at Mariscos Godoy enjoying the special shrimp ceviche and chili stuffed with Marlin.
                        Chowing on Pescado Zarandeado on the beach from a fish caught within the hour (Popotla BC Mex).

                        Of the dining in San Diego the tlacoyas at La Barbacoa were definitely most memorable.
                        Corn Masa formed into a flattish elongated oval and stuffed with frijoles topped with queso and creama. The Tlacoyos here are delightful. They didn’t have the papa or chicharron filling available but the frijoles definitely did not disappoint. The tlacoyos are the perfect accompaniment with the fabulous consomme.

                        Just the consommé and tlacoyos are worth the trip here for me. Thanks for this great find K.R. I never thought I would find tlacoyos this side of the border, why I’m I not surprised you found them. I will post some pics up later.

                        DD your description of the tamales sounds so intriguing !

                        1. re: Masa Assassin

                          Not many people know about Popotla...fascinating place.

                    2. The wonderful Tlacoyos



                      I think this is featured item at the cenaduria, I did not see it on the menu.

                      1. Pictures of both La Barbacoa and the Cenaduria de Candyland can be found here:

                        2 Replies
                          1. re: kare_raisu

                            KR thank you for joining us. It was delicioso!

                        1. Update ********

                          I had a mad craving for a Tlacoyo so I stopped by today and had 3. Rajas, Chic, and Frijoles.
                          Just as good as ever. I wondered why mine looked different then KRs pics (His had lettuce). I learned you can order with or without lettuce, I prefer without.

                          I also learned very soon they will combine the La Barbacoa and Cenaduria Menu and offer it from 8-5. Turns out the business after dark is not as great as they are getting in the morning. For now you can still order any Cenaduria item in the morning.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Masa Assassin

                            Masa - La Barbacoa closes at 5 every day?

                            1. re: fishermb

                              This place is Saturday and Sunday only

                              They are still open until around 830pm now. The close time will soon change to 5pm when they officially combine the Morning menu with the Cenaduria. I'm not sure on an exact date of these changes but from the info I gathered it looked to be in January.

                              I know it sounds confusing but La Barbacoa and Cenaduria are at the same place of business offering different menus depending on time of day. As of now (although not on the menu) you can order anything anytime of day. The tlacoyos are not on the La Barbacoa Menu but this is my favorite item here.

                              K.R outlined more of what is on the Cenaduria menu here.

                          2. I just found out that the founders (Gaby and Sergio) of La Barbaco are no longer owners of the Barbacoa. I went last saturday and the environment is not the same, the food is not what I was expecting, it taste so much different. Honestly not to my liking. The formers owners knew what they were doing especially the way they cooked the lamb. These new owners are just hungry for money and nothing else, they have bad attitude with the customers and the food is HORRIBLE. I really miss the former owners and their food. Good news are that they are opening a new restaurant with the same menu and more in El Cajon Valley just 25 minutes from the old place.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: relsa45

                              Do you know when it will open or what it's name/location is?

                              1. re: DougOLis

                                NO kidding - inquiring minds in the E. County want to know!

                              2. re: relsa45

                                Actually the food is very delicious now better than with the other owner Gaby, i was a constant client with Gaby and Sergio, when i heard they swithched owners i stopped going for a while then i read your comment and ended up going last weekend. I noticed that the quality of the food is much better,the consome is not as salty, they treat the costumers in the best of ways, the serving is more than before,the salsas is much better, spicy but comfortable spicy, and the barbacoa is as delicious as before ,and the quesadillas are delicious. And the comment that you made about the new owners been hungry for money i dont believe it because i have spoken with many of the customers that still currently go every saturday and sunday because the food is still very good. actually they have told me that is better than before because Gaby the previuos owner didn't care any more for the bussiness and actually i know the story about how the new owners acquire the store and the Barbacoa if you want to know more just ask me. And from what I experience the new owners Alfredo and Lorenia have a great attitude and are very friendly to the customers and employees and if you have the opportunity to stop by again you will see that they even remodel the cenaduria for there customers to feel more comfortable while eating there.Something Gaby and Sergio Never Did anything about. so my question is who may be more about the Money owners who improve and spend on customer service or owners who can not keep track of their finances. it is rare that when someone does not like the way they treat you specially on a restaurant or cenaduria in this case you come back to eat again because this place is still packed of people every saturday and sunday. IT MUST BE THE FOOD AND THE CUSTOMER CARE.

                              3. Anyone know what happened to this place>?

                                1. Anyone know if this place is still around? It was on my list a while ago and never made it.