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Carnitas Michoacan

Gilroy CA

7484 monterey st, gilroy CA 95020

Carnitas Michoacan

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Rating: 84
Price: $$

My trip to Carnitas Michoacan was inspired by my complete and utter disappointment at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Rather than a celebration of all things garlic, it was simply a gigantic version of my hometown Taste of Edmonds in a much hotter and dustier field, with the same overpriced food booths reappearing at several different locations.

Michoacan, however, is a very pleasant place of the sit-down variety right in downtown Gilroy. They've got a nice friendly facade and pleasing murals and plants on the walls. In addition to being a taqueria, they also sell bulk meats to the enlightened of Gilroy for consumption at home (a constant long line extended back into the seating area). The chips came with a delicious red salsa with just a hint of smoky flavor, and fellow attendees indicate that the horchata was excellent.

After discussion over the concept of buche with our waitress, I went ahead and ordered 3 tacos: asada, pollo, and carnitas. A delightful young lady, she brought us out a sample dish of buche so we could see what we were missing (or, in Cory's case, about to receive). While it certainly didn't taste bad, I agreed with her opinion on the subject: not my favorite. I may have liked it more had I not known that it was fried stomach and intestine lining, but I chose not to remain blissfully ignorant.

As much as I liked the rest of Michoacan, I can't say the tacos amazed. The carne asada was of a poor cut, very gristly and unappealing, and the pollo was bland. The carnitas, however, was a delicious meat that combined just the right spicy with a nice tender cut. The weaknesses of the asada and pollo could by slightly disguised by the salsa, a reasonably good spicy red, but unfortunately this was the only option. While it certainly wasn't bad, I've always been a green salsa man, and the lack of variety was disappointing. Overall, I worry I may have come on a bad day - a better asada cut could have swung this place into the upper 80s - but there's no getting around the fact that it's infinitely more enjoyable than the Garlic Festival.

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