Fourteen or so Chowhounds met at Casa Maria on International Blvd in Oakland, intending to sample their barbacoa, available only on weekends. Unfortunately, at 12:30 they were out of barbacoa! They also were apparently out of chips: the chips they bought us while we waited for everyone to arrive before ordering were straight out a bag, I think...
We were devestated. Basically, we had come for the barbacoa. The servers said that usually barbacoa is available until four or five on Sundays, but that there had been a run on it that am. Personally, I suspect it was more likely that they had had a run on it the night before at a big party: many of the tables looked stained and used, but it is hard for me to imagine that huge hords of folks had been and gone by noon on Sunday. (There were only perhaps four other tables occupied with small groups when we arrived).
So, our report on Casa Maria will have to wait. Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, we called over to El Huarache Azteca, and they not only had barbacoa, they had space for all fourteen of us. Chowhounds are flexible and resourceful once again, and determined when it comes to seeking out the foods they want to try.....
So, the following is a summary of what we ordered at El Huarache Azteca. I will let others chime in with their thoughts before I add my own. Cost per person was $23 with tax and tip, drinks, etc., but that was for LOTS of food....
Special thanks to Marlon for helping me navigate the communication and for the great job ordering, and to Ruth for helping to organize.
Barbacoa (smoked lamb)
Consume de Barbacoa (smoked lamb soup)
tostadas with pickled pig knuckles
various Huaraches (basically large sopes, or thick tortillas), topped with huitlacoche (corn fungus), nopales (cactus), squash blossom (flor de calabaza), and tinga (stewed chicken).
whew! hope I didn't miss anything...
What did you all think?
El Huarache Azteca
3800 Block of International Blvd