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Carnitas Snack Shack..

I don't eat the stuff but this sure looks good..


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  1. Good tip.

    Looks like it took over the old Vo's Cafe location.

    1. I had the pork sandwich (pulled pork, bacon, fried pork loin cutlet), which was obviously porky, and had an interesting melange of textures, but would have been too much pork had there not been the sour pickle and pepper relish.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jmtreg

        Agreed, it was a pork cavalcade but at the end of the meal I had the [very] rare opinion of something have TOO much pork. My GF had the carnitas tacos which were quite fat and very well done. I look forward to returning to force the rest of the menu thru my arteries.

      2. Nice presentation of their menu, is this enough to get you over to the 'dark side'? Nice Pulled Pork Poutine!!

        5 Replies
        1. re: cstr

          Never been into eating meat...but love that you all are into it and the menu/pics look great.
          They have a veggie dish and the jalapeno bread looks delicious.
          When are you going so you can report back?

          Wishing them all the best...love the North 'Pork' reference..

          1. re: Beach Chick

            "Never been into eating meat"

            But Beach Chick aren't you the Patty Melt Maven?
            If not then I've been blaming the wrong person for my new found food obsession!

            1. re: Island

              Yes sista..I am the Patty Melt Maven!

              I love my Patty Melts but I do a garden burger and gussy it up just like a PM..
              I order them at restaurants this way too...they are so frigging good!
              I do eat an occasional double double with extra sauce and grilled onions maybe once a year but half way through I just can't finish it...same with the Patty Melt thing.
              Weird I know.

              Let the blame game for the love of the beloved Patty Melt start and end with me..

            2. re: Beach Chick

              Yeah, I thought you were Patty Melt Bonkers?

              1. re: stevewag23

                Bonkers for Patty Melt's...love that!

          2. Usually have a veggie special of the day that's very well executed and tasty. Sometimes I even chose it over sweet sweet pork.

            1 Reply
            1. re: zmirzlina

              Love that they have a 'Veggie Special' of the day...and that you chose it over the sweet sweet Pork.

            2. I'm quite pleased with the spot thus far. The pork belly, carnitas torta, and the salads have all been spot on goodness. The only curiosity is they take the time to make their own ketchup but not their own salsa. Hopefully they will come to their senses. Alas all should go forth and sample their fare.

              1. Loving the Carnitas Snack Shack! I had the steak sandwich on the brioche - fabulous. I also really like the corn side/relish that came on the side. My friend had to pork sandwich and I it was great also. The fries were good but not the best I ever had. The lack of indoor seating is made up by a cool patio and ample heaters. My only complaint, and it's a small one, is the lack of salt and pepper anywhere. I know this is a chef thing, but I still contend seasoning is like music, everyone has different taste.

                1. I was born and raised in Tucson, whats the deal with french fries? We never had this stuff before. Things change I guess.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                    It's really annoying if restaurants come up with new things.

                      1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                        Where do you see fries in tamales...am I missing something?

                        1. re: Beach Chick

                          They've cropped up all over the place in southern AZ. There's been quite a number of carcenerias open up in the last few years, thats where they usually are.

                  2. So- it's just me who finds the food underseasoned and bland? I like the people behind it, they've done a great job with the space. Their ingredients are obviously high quality, I like they are trying new and interesting dishes, but I'm underwhelmed with the flavors.

                    17 Replies
                    1. re: Fake Name

                      Super Sergio's has set the bar really high..
                      Maybe the veggie dish of the day is the seasoned ticket!

                      1. re: Fake Name

                        Yeah, this almost seems like a high quality food truck idea, with out the truck. Cool idea.

                        So what is the verdict on this place?

                        Good, Bad, great?

                        1. re: stevewag23

                          Great decor- very nicely done.
                          Nice people.

                          1. re: Fake Name

                            Do they have beer and wine yet?

                            Steve..when you go, report back..loved to know your take..

                            1. re: Beach Chick

                              Dunno. Last time I went, I dashed over to the dive liquor store across the street for a tall boy and a paper sack.

                              1. re: Fake Name

                                solid...nothing like a tall boy in a paper sack.

                          2. re: stevewag23

                            After having tried only three things, and incorporating my above comments, I say "good" with potential to be great for what they are doing i. e. gourmet quick serve ala Burger Lounge. They're new & will have to tweek things a little bit to do the volume they need. Fakey is correct that they need more seasoning or as I said more home made sauces to compliment the perfectly prepared meats. After all people, a carnitas torta wants more than a Tapatio accent.

                            1. re: Charlie SanDiego

                              A carnitas torta wants to go "ahogada"...

                            2. re: stevewag23

                              Some stuff is good. I had one thing that was really bad, but only because of one ingredient applied with a much too heavy hand.

                            3. re: Fake Name

                              It's not just you. I find liberal application of the Crystal hot sauce is needed.

                              1. re: Fake Name

                                I left feeling very impressed upon my first visit. Didn't think anything we had wanted for any seasoning.

                                For once, a truly unique concept. Love the understated "taco stand" storefront and ordering, a striking, architecturally designed and sheltered dining area, a dynamic menu, very fair prices with an unexpected attention to presentation, and actual flatware and porcelain plates!

                                Glad it's not in my neighborhood, as I'd likely spend too many of my meals there.

                                1. re: 4thTimesTheCharm

                                  "Love the understated "taco stand" storefront and ordering, a striking, architecturally designed and sheltered dining area"

                                  Those were a hold over from Vo's.

                                  1. re: stevewag23

                                    Is the all wood sheltered dining area a hold over from Vo's? I thought I read somewhere that it was put in the chef and his wife.

                                    1. re: sdnosh

                                      They might have redone it, but the structure is a holdover from Vo's.

                                      1. re: stevewag23

                                        Actually, it predates Vo's- it was left by the taco shop before Vo's.

                                          1. re: stevewag23

                                            It had been Tio Tito, Los Charrito and Cotija...with a "Drive Thrue" lane...

                              2. Had the opportunity to revisit CSS yesterday, and I really enjoyed my meal. I had the Pork Burger, despite my burger boycott, and was very happy.

                                LONG wait for service, but they warn you at the counter, and it not that they're slacking in the kitchen. They work HARD in a very small space.

                                I'll go back, but off prime-times.

                                8 Replies
                                1. re: Fake Name

                                  probably can't throw that 'porkie burger' in the general burger category.

                                  1. re: cstr

                                    Yeah, I felt it did not fit within the definition of "over-played", the reason for my boycott. Last year it was mac and cheese also short ribs.

                                    1. re: Fake Name

                                      Did you notice while you were waiting and perusing the menu, did they have a 'pork like plant based' product that something this chica could eat?

                                      1. re: Beach Chick

                                        I did not notice. They serve a corn relish with the burger.

                                        I think you'd be happier at the Celery Snack Shack.

                                        1. re: Fake Name

                                          Celery Snack Shack...love that!
                                          You're giving the beloved Don Rickles a run for his money..
                                          I love teeing it up so Fakey can be big man on campus and hit it out of the park!

                                        2. re: Beach Chick

                                          can't wait to see what the infamous FN comes up with.

                                          1. re: cstr

                                            You are all too kind.

                                            I just figure I'm fortunate to still be here.

                                  2. For those who like Carnitas (I'm definitely in this group), or those who are curious, I saw that the chef will be doing a cooking demonstration at the North Park farmers' market this Thursday from 5-7. Good chance to sample some great cooking.


                                    1. I like this place.

                                      Great burger, although I did not care for the bacon jam, the patty had just the right texture and cooked to perfection. I have to go back and try the steak sandwich.

                                      The pork belly was way too rich, if pork belly can be too fatty, then this was it. The sauce was also icky sweet. Sweet globs of fat ... Not a good thing.

                                      I had a bite of the carnitas it was very rich but much better than the pork belly.

                                      Meal was topped off with some chocolate truffles and the bacon brittle ice cream sandwich.

                                      (And Beach Chick I spied a beet terrine and some crispy brussel sprouts on the chalkboard...)

                                      2 Replies
                                        1. re: ipsedixit

                                          Thanks sista...
                                          Beets and Brussel sprouts...two of my faves..

                                        2. News just reported that an armed robber went in to CSS last night and stole the wedding ring from a cook. What a low life.

                                          11 Replies
                                          1. re: cstr

                                            Unbelievable. .that puts the 'd' in douche bag.

                                            1. re: Beach Chick

                                              not very surprising based on the neighborhood and what I have witnessed while eating there several times . Or maybe the assailant was just angry about the one hour wait in line.

                                              1. re: MrKrispy

                                                Sort of an odd story. I don't think robbery was the motive; almost sounds like somebody that was mentally deranged:


                                                I went there once when the line was not too bad, and had their triple threat sandwich (probably the signature). I thought it was decent, but a bit too salty for my tastes, and lacked an "oomph" for the lack of a better term. W/o any line I'd return, but if it were over 10 people I'd take a pass.

                                                1. re: RB Hound

                                                  This is one of the most overrated restaurants in SD. They're saying, "look how many different ways I can put pork together. Don't you love pork on top of pork? What's wrong with you? You don't like pork with pork?" Everyone loses their minds for this concept, as if it's better than sliced bread. It's pork people, not manna from heaven. I've eaten at this place three times. That triple threat sandwich is gross.

                                                  1. re: Jottle

                                                    Um. . .pork is fantastic. Pork is, in fact, manna from heaven (or, as referred to in "Field of Dreams," Iowa). But I kid. . .

                                                    Is Carnitas Snack Shack overrated? Probably. The food is, IMHO, excellent and well prepared. Now, if you aren't a pork person, then things like the Triple Threat sando would not be your thing - which is why you could have ordered the steak sando or the cheesburger.

                                                    Now, is the Carnitas Snack Shack the best restaurant in San Diego? Heavens no, but for a place that you order from a counter and then get your food after waiting way too long in line, its pretty damn good. In fact, I'd say it compares favorably to Hot Doug's in Chicago. Sure, there are no duck fat fries, but CSS has beer. Lovely, lovely beer.

                                                      1. re: jmtreg

                                                        In all honestly, I do love pork like many other people. And to somewhat soften my earlier comments, I went to CSS a few days ago and had a fantastic steak sandwich. One other person I was with had the burger and raved about it. The seasoning on their fries was excellent as well. So it turns out they do non-pork items extremely well. Their pork dishes always leave me wanting, ironically. One other unusual thing. Their guacamole was also really strange. The guy at the counter raved about it, but it was clearly just mashed avocados. You gotta put something else in there to call it guacamole.

                                                      2. re: Jottle

                                                        Can you return her ring, now?

                                                        1. re: Jottle

                                                          The Food Networkization of food.