Taqueria Chabelita is the must-see Mexican restaurant
Goat birria tacos, served on freshly made corn tortillas
Earlier this year I moved to a new part of town and one by one tried all the taco shops in the area. But I’m still trying to identify my new go-to. Everyone in San Diego needs this laid back Mexican restaurant near their home where they can find a reliable answer to any taco or burrito craving (usually late at night). I’m still looking for mine in East County, but I’m pretty sure I found one in Vista.
I’m talking about Deep Vista, far enough north on Vista Way to be almost Bonsall. It was luck – plus a few compelling online reviews – that brought me to Taqueria Chabelita. It’s pretty much in the middle of an indescribable shopping street planted behind a 7-Eleven, so it’s not something I might have noticed while driving. If anything, I may have spotted the tortilleria posted a few doors down.
Chabelita happens to make her own tortillas as well. And uses them wisely to compose the usual variety of tacos, including Birria from res (beef). But what caught my attention was a less common offering: the goat birria. The current craze for birrias in this country emphasizes Tijuana-style beef, but the dish is said to originate in the 16th century, when Spanish settlers first introduced goat to the native population. In parts of Mexico, the goat is still more common.
A small store on Vista Way near Bonsall
For $ 11.99, Taqueria Chabelita serves two tacos with goat birria, beans and rice. The seasoning isn’t as intense as I’m used to in the TJ beef tradition, but then the goat tends to add its own touch to the flavor of the dish. Somewhere between game and barnyard, the aromatic essence of the meat anchored the flavor, while the fresh tortillas made these tacos sing.
Speaking of fees masa, another unusual dish appears further on in Chabelita’s menu: huaraches. For $ 10.99, you can get one with a choice of meats, and I went with the house’s favorite carne asada.
A huarache: made like a tostada, with a large piece of masa sandal shaped
It’s that carne that people are bragging about online, and biting into the huarache, I could easily see why. The beef strips are well seasoned and tender like a sirloin. Huaraches The tostada-like street food originates from Mexico City, where it is named (and shaped) by a native type of sandal. Well the $ 10.99 huarache I got to Chabelita could have contained a big foot: along with the carne it was topped with pinto beans, lettuce, sour cream, pico de gallo and tons of crumbled cotija cheese.
Being almost an hour’s drive from my house, I’m about as likely to revisit Taqueria Chabelita often as I am finding goat birrias served at a decent taco shop in my new neighborhood. But if I ever move to North Vista, I now know of two reliable places for goat tacos.