Carnitas' Snack Shack – Seen on Wine & Dine San Diego
April 17, 2012
“One of the best sandwiches I have sunk my fangs into.”
—Ron James, San Diego Wine & Dine
Carnitas’ Snack Shack: A Small Place With Giant Flavors
By David Nelson, WDSD Executive Editor
North Park – At lunch the other day, Sara Stroud noted that Carnitas, the pet pig she owns jointly with husband Hanis Cavin, was “home, in bed and sleeping.” But just how soundly can this spoiled porker snooze, given that Carnitas’ Snack Shack, the cute North Park outdoor cafe named after him, specializes in a rotating menu of dishes like braised pork belly with frisee salad, mac ‘n’ cheese with bacon, pork belly burritos and pork rillettes with pickled onions and artisan-crafted baguette?
All things porcine are possible at Carnitas’, where Chef Hanis (formerly of Kensington Grill, Chive and Mixx, among other San Diego hot spots) likes to piggyback pulled pork and pepperoni atop a crisp pork schnitzel in the amazing “Triple-Threat” sandwich. This particular beauty is garnished with the house aioli, which Cavin uses as a creamy insurance policy to guarantee that the sandwich is memorably rich.
(Editor’s note: The above mentioned “Triple-Threat” was mine on this dining occasion and it was one of the best sandwiches I have sunk my fangs into. You would think this would be over-the-top porkyness, but the aioli and pickled veggies all worked to contrast perfectly with the rich savory meats. I ate the whole thing! – Ron James)
Living high on the hog is normal at Carnitas’, since even the pastries delivered by a “rogue” (as in self-employed) pastry chef may contain bacon, like the “bacon brittle” ice cream sandwich that provides a delicious follow-up to deluxe specialties like the overstuffed bacon BLT (lots and lots of bacon, crisp and juicy and as appealing as can be) served on buttery brioche slathered with aioli.
If simply reading this seems to be packing pounds on your waistline, take heart – Carnitas’ also offers a vegetable sandwich with pesto, and crispy Brussels sprouts flavored with Serrano chiles and plenty of tart lime juice.