There I was.
I thought to myself: This feels like a taco day. (Every day is a taco day, BTW.)
I was a little pressed for time so I wanted to go somewhere easy to get to. I remembered doing a review of Cowbell Taqueria a couple of months ago, and since it had been awhile, I felt it would be a good choice to stop in and grab a bite.
Driving up, however, I noticed there was a sign covering Cowbell Taqueria sign. Los Carnalitos? I quickly googled and found almost unanimously positive reviews of their food truck in Redwood City. I thought to myself: I gotta check this out.
Based on my previous experience at this location, I was fully prepared to walk in order my food to go and eat in my car.
But as I walked in, there was definitely a different feel to this place. All of a sudden, I wanted to sit down and take more time.
Inside the restaurant there are about 9 tables. Gone was the booth seating and flat screen menus. There is still the open kitchen in the back corner, and you can either place an order to go at the register near the door or be seated. The wait staff gave a warm welcome: he was super friendly and engaging as he directed me to an open table.
Although I already knew I was there for tacos, I sat down and took some time to scope out the rest of the menu. It has all the classic Mexico City offerings: quesadillas, haurraches, tostadas, gorditas, and more.
On the front cover of the menu, Los Carnalitos tells their story. Owners Alfredo Santos and Luis Alberto started their journey by opening a food truck in 2015. 3 years later they have taken the step to open a brick and mortar restaurant in Union City, California.
“We gathered our mother’s recipes and bring them to you with all of our love and experience.”
The name Los Carnalitos is a term used in Mexico City meaning friend or brother.
But as I said: I was there for the tacos.
For this trip, I had Suadero, Carnitas, Asada, Al Pastor, and Conchinita. The carnitas and pastor came with a green salsa that had a nice blend of chiles. Some spice, but nothing that will make you sweat it out. The suadero had chunks of tender beef: super flavorful with a good balance of fat, heat, and spice. The carnitas was hearty: fantastic pork flavor without being greasy. Asada had a some great flavors with a little char that gave the taco a crispiness that added to the textures. What can I say about the conchinita? First of all, I always get excited when I see cochinita on a menu, and this did not disappoint. The pastor was well-marinated and had a rich and smoky flavor. This one was my favorite. (And I had to order another before left!)
While finishing up, I had the chance to speak with one of the owners, Alfredo, for a few moments. He gave me a little more info on the restaurant and their food truck in Redwood City.
After speaking with him, I had to check out the chorizo. I’m glad he pointed me in that direction. The chorizo was legit. That green salsa blended well with the spices in the chorizo. As with most tacos, there was some collateral damage when some of the chorizo fell onto the plate but it was so exciting to scoop up the little bits on my plate.
Los Carnalitos serves classic Mexico City food with an undeniable authenticity. I am happy I had the chance to check them out. If you are in Union City or Redwood City, this is an authentic Taqueria worth visiting.
Los Carnalitos Restaurant
30200 Industrial Pkwy SW
Hayward, CA 94544 at Whipple Rd
Los Carnalitos – Food Truck
2907 El Camino Real
Redwood City, CA 94063