The ever popular Carnitas’ Snack Shack opened its second location last week, inside Del Mar Highlands Town Center (which seems to be the designated spot for second restaurant locations as it also houses the North County branches of Searsucker and Snooze). I was extremely excited to check out the new digs, which are bigger with indoor seating and a better parking situation.
The menu is pretty much the same, though they do offer a monthly doughnut special and the pork burger is a permanent menu item at this new branch. The restaurant has both indoor seating and some patio seating.
While the restaurant was busy, it was not nearly as crowded as the original location, which is what I was hoping for. We were able to order and grab a table right away.
The doughnut had a peanut butter glaze and is topped with chocolate chips, candied bacon and a cinnamon sugar dusted plantain chip. I was a little disappointed that the donut itself was plain, with all the flavors coming from the frosting and toppings. This was a decent doughnut, but a bit overpriced at $5.
The pork patty is topped with Gorgonzola cheese and candied bacon. I’ve had this before and enjoyed it but I actually found the candied bacon on this occasion to be overwhelming and it made the burger too salty. The patty itself is flavorful and juicy. The burger is accompanied by their corn and jicama slaw, which is light, crunchy and refreshing.
The carnitas tacos here are completely loaded with tender pork carnitas. It’s actually a little hard to hold up because of the heavy amount of pork, but I’m really happy with the portions.
Pork Belly App
Of course, no meal for us is complete here without an order of their pork belly, hands-down our favorite item here. The generous, tender braised pork belly is paired with a sweet and spicy glaze reminsicent of Asian inspired flavors. I’ve been meaning to try making it at home, but Mr. K insisted I make a crispy version instead, hence the crispy golden pork belly I recently made. I did find this recipe online that seems like it would produce similar results to Carnitas’ version. The pork belly is accompanied by an apple frisée salad that is both refreshing and cuts into the sweetness of the glaze.
Overall, we had a good meal here. I was worried that they would still be working out the kinks, but things ran very smoothly. The quality of food was on par with the original location, and I love the additional space and parking this new location provides. We’ll definitely be visiting more often.
Carnitas’ Snack Shack – Carmel Valley/ Del Mar
12873 El Camino Real, Ste M4
San Diego, CA 92130
San Diego, CA 92130 – See more at: https://carnitassnackshack.com/del-mar/#sthash.2hEVOlcY.dpuf