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Jun 30, 2009 07:16 PM

Mexican North of I-8 (SD)

ISO great Mexican food north of the 8. Does such a thing exist? I know that most, if not all, of our great Mexican eateries are located in the southern half of the county, but I'm a denizen of north county and would love to have some places to call my own up here. About the best I've found is Aliberto's next to Target in Poway. They have a killer machaca burrito, but I would like to branch out. Please no rice and beans Tex-Mex combo plates; I'm looking for authentic, regional Mexican cooking. Thanks and cheers!

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  1. kare_raisu often brings up good spots in Temecula and Escondido so you might want to do a search for suggestions he's made. I've never really been to any because I don't spend much time up that direction, but you can easily trust any of his recommendations.

    7 Replies
    1. re: DougOLis

      Thanks dougolis
      I actually think Escondido is as good as the SouthBay. Ive actually been trying to convince Paco of Aqui es Texcoco to open shop there. He's make a killing.

      Las Brisas in Fallbrook is the restaurant that holds the most special place in my heart. I have not had better carnitas anywhere and the Menudo is money. Its the only place I will order a chile relleno outside of Super Cocina. They cook Zacatecas style - the costillitas rancheras and barbacoa sopes are also reccomended by me. - Pictures

      La Cocina de Maria - Guanajuato homestyle food/ I miss this restaurant they do everything well.

      Fiesta Oaxaquena/ El Tejate

      Go to the Escondido Swapmeet for a real taste of Mexico too.

      Would love to hear back if you actually go and this chow work was worthwhile.

      San Diego chowhounds are going to have to buck up and cross the border to TJ if they want real Mexican cooking

      1. re: kare_raisu

        Wow! I clearly don't get out much. Thanks, kare, for all the suggestions -- I wasn't expecting to get so many. The swapmeet intrigues me; I haven't been to one of those in decades and never to one that features a real taste of Mexico. I'm going to try that one first! Thanks again.

        1. re: kare_raisu

          The Chilaquiles Verde at Cocina de Maria far exceed any I've experienced before...possibly the best breakfast item in SD County.

          El Tejate was excellent as well save for the lousy tortillas.

          1. re: deckape

            My fiancee recently mentioned wanting to try Chilaquiles (she apparently never has). Any suggestion on the best place for Chilaquiles any where between DT and La Jolla. My first instinct would be Old Town (I have a number of favorites) but it's never occured to look for Chilaquiles?

            1. re: csils

              Super Cocina has great chilaquiles.

              1. re: Josh

                I have a friend who lives right around the corner... I will definitely give it a try one these days....thank you.

          2. re: kare_raisu

            I happened to be in Fallbrook today and had seen your post. Great timing. Got a carnitas and cabeza taco and they were fantastic! The Cabeza melted in my mouth and had that great beefy-flavor. The carnitas were first rate.

            I tried the dark looking salsa that they said was made with a few kinds of roasted chilis and it was tasty, but I felt like it had an almost fishy aftertaste. Was I just way off on that?

        2. Bety's Tacos in Encinitas is what you are looking for.

          1464 Encinitas Blvd
          Encinitas, CA
          (760) 632-1512

          1 Reply
          1. re: sdnativa

            Report (short because I'm full and sleepy). Went to the swap meet today. Made rookie mistake and showed up just as it was opening; only 1/3 of the vendors were there. Wandered around, didn't see any interesting food offerings (most places were not operating yet), bought some dried chiles, and left. Went to Cocina de Maria (forgot the location of El Tejate but upon leaving Maria's discovered it's right across the street). Hubby had the carnitas burrito (best carnitas I've had -- moist yet crunchy), daughter had the chorizo and egg burrito (best chorizo I've had; the spices were slightly different than what I've come to expect from chorizo -- it was clearly chorizo but it had a quality I can only describe as mellower, less piquant, "mysterious," but in a good way), and I had four tacos: carnitas, chicharron (where have I been all my life?), adobado, and pico de gallo. The flour tortillas of the burritos were exactly what I love about real tortillas: large patches of brown giving a distinct griddled flavor yet soft and chewy and stretchy (I love the stretchy). When the food arrived, no one said anything for the next 20 minutes. Occasionally, hubby would grunt and nod his head, a tribute usually reserved for my cooking. This was some of the best Mexican food I've had in a long time. Added bonus: found a fantastic wine store just a block up the street (Holiday Wine Cellar). Next time will try El Tejate. Cheers!

          2. Taking a page off of kare_raisu and sdnativa above, I second Las Brisas Tacqueria in Fallbrook and Bety's Tacos in Encinitas.

            (The Menudo at Las Brisas is a revelation - it's to die for!)

            To which I'll add the Carne Asada (plate or Torta) at Rudy's in the Eden Gardens section of Solana Beach. (They reserve the Arranchera cut for their CA plates and Tortas, but use a different cut for their CA Tacos and Burritos...)

            The Carne Asada at Rudy's is off the charts, though I haven't yet tried the new stateside location of Yacqui (San Ysidro near the U.S./Mex. border) yet, which has a good chance of giving them a run for their money...

            A great kare_raisu find is Fiesta Oaxaquena at the Escondido Swap Meet. It's a bit hard to find as it is tucked way in the back towards the drive-in theatre's big screen. I've had their Tlayudas con Cecina which was a first for me and became an instant fave.

            Betty's Tacos Restaurant
            1464 Encinitas Blvd, Encinitas, CA 92024

            Las Brisas Taqueria
            1005 S Main Ave Ste A, Fallbrook, CA 92028

            Rudy's Taco Shop
            524 Stevens Ave, Solana Beach, CA 92075

            5 Replies
            1. re: cgfan

              Thanks, cgfan. I've got both Las Brisas and Bety's on my list. I was looking for Fiesta Oaxaquena when we went to the swapmeet last week but couldn't find it; your directions tell me why. I thought it was kare_raisu who said that Fiesta had opened a restaurant on Mission (El Tejate), but I can't find that post. We found El Tejate, but after we had already chowed down at Cocina de Maria across the street. So we've got all these places to try (along with Super Cocina) and have to go back to Maria's for chilaquiles as per deckape. Thanks again for your contribution!

              1. re: SDgirl

                I think kare_raisu's post that you are referring to is here:

                I went to El Tejate a while back and noticed Cocina de Maria on my way out. I definitely would like to check it out, and I can't believe that I've missed out on Las Brisas. That being said, I certainly wasn't disappointed with the molotes and empanadas that El Tejate served up. Really. The food makes you happy.

                The location of El Tejate is as follows:
                205 W Mission Ave Ste R
                (between Broadway & Escondido Blvd)
                Escondido, CA 92025

                1. re: littlemissthisandthat

                  Thank you, that's the one! You did the opposite of us: we went to Maria's and saw El Tejate as we were leaving. Hubby and I are taking a Zinfandel class/tasting at a wine store down the street (Holiday Wine Cellar) on the 23rd and we'll probably stop for some pre-imbibing fortifying at El Tejate. You should try Cocina de Maria; their carnitas are really good. I like happy food.

                  1. re: SDgirl

                    I had no idea that Holdiay Wine Celllar had tastings; now I wish I wasn't going to be out of town that day. But I'm thrilled to know that that exists in the Escondido area. Wine is good; very, very good. And I will most definitely try Maria's sooner rather than later; canitas makes my mouth water.

                    1. re: littlemissthisandthat

                      I think you'll really enjoy the wine store. Not only do they have a fantastic selection and tastings and classes, they also have the enomatic, a vacuum dispenser on which is set up ten (I think) different bottles (changing periodically) for your tasting pleasure. You purchase a card, load it with whatever dollar amount you please, and use that E ticket at the wino, I mean eno, matic ;-). Tastings range from one to three dollars; they are unlimited and the card is reloadable. Brilliant! The store also has a decent stock of spirits and almost an entire row of really cute sampler bottles of just about every liquor they carry. Have fun!