Jalisco Cafe 1721 International Blvd., Oakland, 510-436-8696
Carnitas consists of succulent roasted pork chopped into bite-size pieces to fill tortillas or just eat off the plate. From the cuerito (skin) to the buche (hog maw), nothing is wasted. The cooking of carnitas happens during special occasions in Mexican families, but around these parts you can get them every weekend at Jalisco Restaurant in Oakland. Founded more than forty years ago by owner Bartolo Vasquez, the family-run business is renowned for making the best. When you order take-out, you can get a half-pound of mixed carnitas, a small nopal (cactus) salad, and fresh tortillas for less than $10. Perfect for tacos-for-two. The sit-down menu is short, with carnitas topping the entrée list. Jalisco is open only Friday through Sunday these days, but not for lack of loyalty. Customers will come here from miles around to pick up a pound or two for the weekend.