I first read about Carnitas’ Snack Shack on Serious Eats, one of my favorite food websites. After reading about 1/3 of the article, I knew I had to check out this place. A whole shop dedicated to pork? Sounds like my kind of heaven. The place is literally a shack, with ordering window in front and open sitting area in the back. There are about 30 seats total available, including tables and the “counter.”
There is a fence sort of adjacent to the seating area, separating it from the next set of shops I guess. It’s been decorated with cute pig drawings:
Onto the food.
I’m not sure if their menu changes daily, but it’s written on a chalkboard next to the ordering window. I ordered the pork sandwich, which has “pork four ways” and two sauces, all on a sesame bun.
It was a glorious sandwich, with a lot of meat (as you can imagine). In fact it was almost too much to handle, haha. But I was surprised at how balanced the sandwich tasted despite being pretty much 90% meat. It wasn’t nearly as salty as I expected (although still a good dosage of sodium), and while I couldn’t taste much of the pickle relish, I really loved the aioli and thought that it went especially well with the bacon. The corn salad on the side was also a much-needed, very refreshing treat.
SK ordered the carnitas torta, which was bigger than my face.
To be honest, I’m not sure what those “standard accompaniments” meant – lettuce and tomato, I guess, and I don’t remember what sort of sauce was used (if any) – but the sandwich was delicious. I liked the carnitas a lot, sort of reminded me of crispy pulled pork (does that even make sense?), and the bun was lightly toasted. Overall, a very pleasant torta.
Finally, we shared a side of fries.
Fries were decent – not crispy enough for me, but since SK likes soggy fries, it was a good compromise for the two of us. I’m also a sucker for good homemade ketchup, and this was very satisfying.
Overall, I really enjoyed my dining experience here. I loved the food and atmosphere (although I wish we hadn’t gone on a chilly night), and you could tell how much the restaurant cared about its food. There are a few other things on the menu that I would love to try (such as the pork belly appetizer and Shack poutine), so you can be sure that I’ll be back!
**The photos were taken in low-light conditions, which means the colors are kind of off. That means you should check out this place and see what it’s really like :)
Carnitas’ Snack Shack
2632 University Avenue, San Diego, CA
Daily (except Tu): 12pm-12am