One day I was hungry.
I was at Jake’s and started looking on Yelp and found this one place called Carnitas Las Michoacanas. Carnitas was right in the name! It had like three reviews, all good. The place was also very, very close to Jake’s house. We had unknowingly passed it so many times without ever noticing it.
On our first visit, Jake, T and I sort of stood awkwardly outside the shop, watching people go up and get carnitas. There was this nice gentleman outside, rapidly chopping meat like nobody’s business.
[the carnitas man]
Everyone was speaking super fast Spanish and I just looked at Jake and said, “Uhhh, what do we do?”
He shrugged at me. He was being so helpful.
I tried to get him to go up there but he shook his head and refused. My usually talkative boyfriend suddenly clammed up on me when facing native Spanish speakers.
I walked up and asked what was up. We found out you can buy carnitas by the pound, with all of the fixings. Then they gave us samples.
[three sample carnitas – just plain meat and fresh tortilla]
Well, one sample was all we needed to be convinced. We got a pound to go that first visit. We’ve visited since – they moved a few blocks down the road closer to La Mesa, pretty close to the Kroc Center.
We were again greeted with free sample tacos! Man, I love this place.
[their full menu with a bunch of other stuff I’ve never tried]
The carnitas are still sold the same way at $10.99lb. They had just run out when we stopped by so we had to wait for a bit. You can ask for a “mixture” of carnitas or get only belly meat. Your choice.
The newer spot is a little bit larger and a bit more cleaned up their old spot. When we sat to wait for our tacos, we were brought a bunch of condiments. Pickled carrots and onions, limes, cilantro and onions and two kinds of salsa. There’s a red one and a green one. The red one is pretty darn spicy.
Here’s our pound of carnitas – we got the just the belly this time around. The carnitas are very sweet and very tender here. There are a few crunchy bits, but for the most part their carnitas are incredibly moist and full of flavor. Porky heaven!
[refried beans and rice]
With your carnitas you get included sides: beans and rice! I’m not a beans fan, but I did enjoy the rice. Tender rice, not overcooked with a bit of flavor. It’s Mexican rice but without the chunks of tomato (which I’ve always hated).
You also get a stack of corn tortillas.They as are pretty darn good and taste very fresh.
[ my plate of goodness]
I just added cilantro and onions with maybe 5 drops of that hot red salsa. It honestly doesn’t need anything else – the meat just speaks for itself. It’s super delicious and this one pound meal, for just over $11 bucks, was more than enough for their three of us to stuff ourselves silly with tacos. We ate til the tortillas were all gone and took home the remainder of the carnitas.
Good, cheap, stuff! Fair warning: it is cash only and hardly anyone speaks English. But it’s totally worth it.
Carnitas Las Michoacanas
6503 University Ave
San Diego, CA 92115