Review – Carnitas’ Snack Shack – North Park, San Diego

We decided to walk down the street for our most recent (of many) trip to Carnitas.  We’ve been here a ton, but this is the first time since I started writing about food in more than 140 characters.  Here goes:

Ambiance: It’s a bit hard to describe, you order up front then walk around to an all-wood patio out back. I’ll call it super casual.

Service: The people who take your order are all very nice, but this isn’t a traditional sit down restaurant.

Price: Very inexpensive, price belies the tastiness.  Nothing on the menu over $9, all worth more than that.

Bacon, pulled pork & gravy atop seasoned fries. As good as it sounds.

Review: The signature dish is probably the carnitas taco (I prefer the torta because of the bread).  However, the Shack burger, triple pork sandwich and steak sandwich are all worth showing some love to.  On this visit I had the poutine pictured above.  Holding true to the principle that everything is better with bacon, this didn’t disappoint. Nice ratio of gravy/meat to fries and a big enough portion to eat as a stand alone. The other item that really shouldn’t be missed is the porkburger.  Oh, and the beet terine is a nice bit of local produce enveloping goat cheese and dressed in a bit of balsamic. Also very good.

local tip: University Avenue is pretty dicey right here because the road slopes down and people drive very fast. By car, park on the North side of University to be safe or a side street.  Or walk if you can, but cross further east at Pershing if you have to get across from the south. As of this writing (8/14/12), the ABC still hasn’t approved their beer/wine license, so have some water or a soda and enjoy

Nearby: this place is, as far as I can tell, the western outpost on University until you get to Jersey Joe’s, which has a good cheesesteak. My recommendation is to walk east on University back to the Foundry afterwards if you want a low-pretense adult beverage.

Dinner Lottery: Enter your review of any restaurant in San Diego here for a chance to win dinner for two (including drinks).

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