A few weeks ago a friend and I stood in line on the street to order lunch at Carnitas’ Snack Shack on University Avenue in North Park just east of Texas Street.  Rarely do I think about a place with food and flavors that leave me craving another visit.  After mentioning the shack (a stand alone tiny building with heated outdoor seating in the back along the alley) to friends, they ate there three times in three days…and continue working their way through the tiny menu.

So, what’s good?  Anything with pork.  The BLT  with ham, bacon, tomato, lettuce and a jazzed up “shack aioli” all piled on lightly grilled (thickly sliced) brioche bread ($8)–a sumptuous mouthful.  If you see it on the menu, the eggplant, tomato and blue cheese appetizer features lightly breaded and deep fried  Japanese eggplant rounds stacked with the other ingredients on two long toothpicks ($4). Ask for the skinny cut fries to be cooked crisp unless you like them soft and wimpy ($2.50).  A local organic half roasted chicken missed in flavor and preparation–bland at best and a special one day.  Other menu items include carnitas taco or torta ($7), steak sandwich ($9), Shack burger ($9) panzanella salad ($7)  and glazed pork belly with frisee salad ($7).  Generous portions too.

You’ll find chef/owner Hanis Cavin at the stove when you peek through the order window.   Buzz would love to know why the zippy side/slaw that comes with many of the dishes is  out-of-season corn?   Why not local corn for summer and cabbage for winter?  2632 University Avenue, North Park, 619-294-7675.  Open noon to midnight, closed Tuesday.

 


Buzz popped into the recently opened Snooze, an A.M.Eatery, to meet a friend for a late breakfast.  The place hops at 10:30 on a Tuesday morning–so get your name on the waiting list since they seat when all of your party arrives.  It’s a big fun room, with seating that includes a counter, booths and casual banquettes. In 2006, Snooze woke up in Denver and has locations in Colorado;  San Diego is their first out of that state.

The menu includes eggs and pancakes, both with twists and liberties taken in name and flavors.   Niman Ranch cage free eggs come in a variety of possibilities.  A three egg omelet or scramble ($8.5) allows a choice of three fillings—everything from bacon, sausage, pulled pork, soyrizo, salmon, prosciutto to roasted garlic, spinach, caramelized onions, and arugula, and don’t forget various cheeses.  A stack of crisp topped hash browns come with most of the egg concoctions.

My Tuscan Benedict ($9), one of many riffs on eggs Benedict, arrives with two lovely, runny-yolk poached eggs, perched on small slices of ciabatta bread and a “ragout of tomatoes, white beans, kale and squash” with cream cheese hollandaise.  Unfortunately, the ragout needs to be more than just steamed vegetables with little if any herbs or seasoning–the flavors don’t meld.  Snooze ought to call their sauces of either cream cheese or smoked cheddar cheese what they are—cheese sauces–NOT hollandaise since neither resembles the ethereal sauce of butter, egg yolks and lemon juice.

Check the menu here and you’ll find a BLT, burger and even fish tacos if eggs and pancakes aren’t your thing. Though Buzz didn’t try the pancakes, Keli Dailey did and Amy T. Granite tried a few other items.  3940 Fifth Avenue, (619) 500-3344, Open from 6:30am to 2:30pm weekdays and 7am to 2:30pm weekends.

 

 


UPDATE:  To clarifiy the status of Sea Rocket Bistro, according to an early morning email from Chad:  He will train and mentor his replacement.  He still is a part owner of the restaurant that expects to continue doing well in 2012.
The food at Brian Malarkey’s  soon-to-open Gabardine in Point Loma will feature a “Portugese-esque seafood bar” according to the press release that arrived today.  Overseeing this “heavy focus on shellfish paired with an extensive selection of local craft brews” menu you’ll find chef Chad White who made news at Sea Rocket Bistro in North Park.  Prior to that gig, White was two blocks from Gabardine as Roseville’s last chef before it closed more than a year ago.  For a bit more on Gabardine (expect a February opening), see item 3 here.  One wonders what prices customers can expect with a shellfish and seafood centric menu (hint, likely not low budget).