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Mexican restaurants in Gaslamp and/or Pacific Beach that lay off the lard

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Hi folks-

Headed to San Diego for a conference (walking distance to restaurants in Gaslamp) then a few days of R&R in the Pacific Beach neighborhood.

I am greatly looking forward to some wonderful Mexican food! However, I abstain from eating pork and pork products. I understand that it is traditional to use lard in many dishes like tortillas, tamales, beans, etc, and wanted to know of any favorite spots where you know that lard is less commonly used. I do plan to ask at restaurants where I am not sure....but since I'll be with colleagues and friends, I don't want to be the pain-in-the-butt who has to have everything double-checked with the kitchen.

Any advice you have would be wonderful. Also, if there are places that sell good fresh tortillas without lard, that would be fantastic.

Thanks so much!

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  1. Actually, corn tortillas don't have any lard in them at all, so you should be okay if you stick with tacos filled with non-pork products (carne asada, pollo asada, fish, etc.,). Pokez, which is downtown, doesn't have the best food, but it does have several vegetarian and vegan dishes. The Mariscos German taco trucks are also a good bet as they serve primarily seafood, again, using corn tortillas.

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    Mariscos German
    3515 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92104

    1 Reply
    1. re: jmtreg

      Thanks so much for the information!

    2. You can find fresh tortillas at just about any Mexican Market ("Tortilleria" will be somewhere on the building or signage). Two larger markets that make them are Northgate Gonzalez and Pancho Villa.

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      Pancho Villa's
      3245 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104

      1. I don't think many places use lard anymore for the common dishes, it is too expensive so they use vegetable oil.

        1. If you avoid flour tortillas, beans, and tamales, you shouldn't have issues. Taco Surf in Pacific Beach is not super authentic, but real Socal surfer atmosphere and pretty good standard Mexican food. (I'd ask about their beans, however).

          1 Reply
          1. re: Ed Dibble

            it's authentic SDMex!

            (also the place I had my first rolled tacos years and years ago so I have a nostalgic affection for it)

          2. Hello everyone,

            Thanks so much for your help! As you'd mentioned, most restaurants had corn tortillas that were not made with lard. And as it turned out, most of the places we ate at were actually not Mexican restaurants....lots of dinner meetings at the conference center or in hotel meeting rooms.

            I got my fix by spending a few extra days in SD for vacation, at a place with a kitchen.....so I had the opportunity to COOK lots of amazing seafood and produce, and to buy warm, fresh corn tortillas at the farmers' market. In particular, I was over the moon for:
            -beautiful, ripe avocados
            -fragrant, juicy citrus
            -spicy chilies
            -fresh seafood from Catalina Offshore Products

            Incidentally, I had a wonderful meal at French Gourmet, where I tried an outstanding duck pate that was made without pork. Felt special to indulge in something that I rarely get to enjoy because of the proclivity to use pork.

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            French Gourmet
            960 Turquoise St, San Diego, CA 92109

            1 Reply
            1. re: 4Snisl

              Wish I had seen your post earlier...I assume since you referenced PB you might have had a car in which case I would have steered you to Chula Vista/Bonita....Los Arcos is outstanding Mexican seafood (blows away the canned response on this forum of go to South Beach in OB) and Romesco's is outstanding Baja cuisine--run by the Plasencia family, well acclaimed chef in TJ who is receiving many accolades for his Mision 19 restaurant (and with good reason).