4280 El Cajon Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92105
By Judi Curry
In March of this year, I received an invitation from a restaurateur to enjoy a meal at her restaurant. I tried to visit the day before Easter but they were closed and did not get back to it until today.
I really was not anxious to try it because their focus is on lamb, and I have not eaten lamb since 1956. (I got sick on the smell of it while pregnant and have never had it since.) However, the invitation and the recommendation of one of SDFP writers – Anna – made me decide to “bite the lamb” and give it a try.
I called Joe, my friend from on-line dating days, and he agreed to go with me to try it out. He lives in the neighborhood and was looking forward to another restaurant to add to his walking tours.
I met him at 12:50pm, and was surprised how empty it was. Everyone talks about how crowded it is, but I was able to park in front – with a little help from Joe – and immediately saw the large menu in front of the kitchen. We looked at everything that was offered, and I decided I had to have the lamb tamal because I judge most Mexican restaurants by their tamal and/or machaca.
I do not know if I was sad or not when Rosario, the mother of the mother-daughter team running the restaurant, informed me that they only had beef tamal’s today. I ordered it anyway ($3.99) and then ordered one rolled lamb taco ($1.99). Joe ordered the Carne Asada Burrito for $6.99 and we both ordered a glass of home-made Horchata.
After placing our order we took a table in the back of the small restaurant and I remembered that I had read a review stating that the chairs were uncomfortable.
The table and chairs that we sat at had cushions on them – but we still sat quite low in the chair. There was one television on and it was turned to “Days of Our Lives”. Later on, Rodnia, the daughter partner changed the channel and we found we were watching “Ozzie and Harriet.”
We were served the Horchata first and we tried to figure out what made it so sweet. Basically it is rice and cinnamon, but I suspect that sugar cane might be the sweet flavoring. What ever it is it was very nice. It is made in their kitchen.
When served my tamal and rolled taco I was surprised. I have never seen a tamal in banana leaves, and in opening it up it looked much different that other tamal’s I have eaten. It did not have the traditional “masa” . Joe and I tried to come up with descriptors but we could not. The texture is so much different than the others I have tasted; almost “mushy” but not; Suffice it to say it was very good, but different. The rolled lamb taco and cheese was delicious. Even though it was lamb, I would order it again. It did not have the odor that lamb frequently has; it was not greasy; and it tasted wonderful.
Joe’s more traditional Carne Asada Burrito was very good. The tortilla was packed full of meat; pico de gallo, seasonings and although he added some of the hot salsa, it was not necessary. There was a nice flavor, and it was juicy.
It has been fun discovering some of the restaurants in City Heights. Each one I have been to I would visit again. I have a few more that I will visit next week. Be creative – take a trip to City Heights. I think you will be very pleased with all it has to offer.