Monday, May 6, 2013

The Carnitas Snack Shack - Carnivores' Dream

The Carnitas Snack Shack has quickly become one of the cool, hip places for carnivores in North Park, San Diego.  My wife surprised me with an impromptu stop a few weeks ago, and we were met by a long line and a longer wait.  I say that not as a point of criticism, but warning.  This place is great.  In fact, I want to live within walking distance so I can place an order, do some errands and walk over.  I will happily wait in that line, grab a beer, sit on their inviting patio and wait.  When my food pops up I will just grab another beer.  
Wait…I am supposed to explain the place before revealing my review.  Sorry, got excited.

So anticipate a line, and it won’t move fast.  That’s ok.  You will need the time to check out the menu which changes all the time.  In fact, just to make your mouth water, join them on Facebook.  They often post pictures of their menu and it’s enough to make a pork lover weep.  When you reach the little window you will likely be greeted with cheer.  Order a drink and get that part rolling.  Great selection of beers, by the way.  I ordered something from Green Flash or Stone, as one should do in San Diego.  But what to eat amongst all this deliciousness?!  I asked for the seared, chili-glazed pork belly with frisee and some fries with bacon ketchup.  You’re drooling now, aren’t you?  Then I waited.  And waited.  Waited some more.  Enjoyed the patio.  Talked to some regulars who assured me the wait was well worth it.  Fortunately the patio seems to invite conversations amongst patrons and the time passes quickly.  But once my food arrived in a paper bag I could not wait.  The fries were crisp and hot.  The ketchup had a tanginess mixed with smoky bacon that was really nice.  The frisee was dressed with a very acidic dressing that cut the fattiness of the pork belly beautifully.  And that pork belly….wow.  Tender, flavorful, mmmmm…like butter, but better.  This was porkiliciousness at its finest.  It is not a large piece.  You don’t need that!  But it was just right.  And the balance of fat and acid…I know this is what Aristotle meant when he discussed the Golden Mean…right?  

I wish I had the room and the time to try more, but I will be back.  And when I return I hope they have chilaquiles and that Triple Threat Pork Sandwich.  I saw one of those, and I think it looked so good, so delicious, I blushed.   

Get over to the Snack Shack.  Look for the pig on the roof and the line on the sidewalk.      
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