Restaurants & Bars

Tlaquepaque packs a mean burrito in Willow Glen (San Jose)

Alice Patis | Aug 1, 200609:32 PM     9

A long while ago I got a rec from withalonge on this board for Tlaquepaque, a sit-down Mexican restaurant in Willow Glen that serves both taqueria fare plus platillos. I never went until my work had a big group lunch there last May, and I was distracted by the conversation to really pay attention to the food. But I remember I loved the carnitas in my tacos. I meant to come back but when I did, I couldn't find parking within 3 (large) blocks so I gave up.

Last week I went to the Tlaquepaque #3 location, on Canoas & Curtner: easy on/easy off freeway access, plenty of parking in a small strip mall, and the best part, empty tables even during the lunch rush (the #1 location always has a wait).

I ordered a carnitas burrito, regular, no rice ($5.25) and snacked on chips & salsa during the brief wait. Their salsa is pretty spicy, with a nicely strong herbal cilantro note, and quite addictive. Their chips are not my favorite (I like thin style chips, these are the thicker home-made style).

Photo of chips & salsa:

The burrito came piping hot, a steamed tortilla encasing carnitas, whole pintos and pico de gallo. Now I remember why I love the carnitas here: small shreds, very juicy meat, a little bit of fat, and quite a few dark brown crunchy bits. There was a good ratio of meat over beans, and the beans were tender soft without being mushy. Very well done and with extra forkfuls of that addictive pureed but not watery salsa, it was perfect.

Photo of carnitas burrito:

Today, I came back and got food to go. I was tempted to get a repeat of the carnitas tacos, which here come with a slice of avocado, on 2 tortillas & sort of folded in half by the butcher paper, which makes it easier to eat. But I thought I’d branch out so I got the carne asada burrito, which is flame grilled here giving it a very nice chargrilled flavor. It’s a good rendition, though the meat is a tiny bit dry, there is no gristle. Again, good ratio of meat to beans. A second tub of that addictive salsa was happily given when requested, half of which I drank when I had finished my burrito (yes I burned my throat but it was sooo good). And the burrito was piping hot even 15 minutes after receiving it to go. Sorry no picture this time.

This place is almost a destination-worthy taqueria, not just good for the neighborhood. They’re also famous for their chavelas, a beer kind of drink served in a margarita glass rimmed with salt. No wonder #1 is always so packed. Go to #3 and skip the crowd. Quick before becoming a local chain zaps their quality.

Ken Hoffman's Tlaquepaque post, the only previous real report (with any details) that I could find:

Edited to fix one of the links

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