Cocina de Barrio in Hillcrest

So the old Swami’s at 5th & Pennsylvania has been convereted into Cocina de Barrio. It’s menu allegedly focuses on Oaxaqeno food. Having spent a good amount of time in Oaxaca over the last 15 years, I was left scratching my head because other than a tlyuda, a couple of items with mole and the use of sal de gusano, the food of Oaxaca was not particularly well represented. Lamb appears to be the non-seafood protein of choice here, appearing in many of the menu items.

A friend and I stopped in for lunch today. The restaurant is small, fairly well appointed and comfortable. Perhaps it was the rain or perhaps it’s because they’ve ony been open 3 weeks but there were very few other customers.

My friend ordered this gorgeous looking aguachile dish.

But looks can be deceiving. The lime cured shrimp was tough and rubbery. The mango habanero salsa, on the other hand, was delicious and just hot enough without being overpowering.

I chose the callo de acha,

Again, another beautiful dish. The scallops were meltingly tender but were overshadowed by a heavy hand with the sal de gusano and wasabi aoli, which had no business on the plate. The hibiscus chile salsa was pretty darn good and paired well with the scallops and greenage on the plate

My friend tried the Zarandeado

The fish was declared perfectly cooked, once it was found under the mound of salad. Overall the dish was bland. Zarandeado was invented along the coast, just not the Oaxacan coast, and generally has a little zip to it, unfortunately, this piece of fish, while well cooked, was zip-less.

I tried one of the antojito plates, molotes mixteco

Molotes are cylendrical tubes of masa filled with almost anything. These promised chorizo de Ismeno, or chorizo from the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and potato. The molotes were well filled but the chorizo resembled plain ground beef an awful lot more than it did chorizo, both in texture and flavor. The tomato salsa they arrived on was nice, the cilantro/serrano aoli tasted pretty much like Best Foods mayo into which some pureed cilantro and serrano had been whipped. But like the Zarandeado, the molotes were bland, bland, bland.


A 12 oz water glass is NOT, repeat, NOT the appropriate vessel in which to serve tequila, especially Siete Leguas Tequila.

Okay, so my shot of tequila, my friend’s margarita (which was quite delicious), 2 appetizers, 1 antojito plate and 1 entree all came to - I hope you’re sitting down - $93. The 2 drinks accounted for $30 of the tab.

The restaurant is pleasant, the service was weak, there was nothing wrong with the food, it was “okay” but bland. For the prices they’re charging the service should have been an awful lot better, my tequila should have come in a proper tequila glass and the food should have left an impression. As my friend said…“no wow factor, no reason to come back”


well the photographs are beautiful

1 Like

Yes, agree.

Wow this forum is pretty over i guess

It’s been over for a long time :upside_down_face:

I think everyone’s more or less migrated over to Eating & Drinking in San Diego on Facebook.

People who once populated the venerated CH have been migrating like nomads for quite some time now. In the beginning, there was CH. When CH changed its format, everyone more or less migrated to FTC in protest. Then, beginning about a year ago, everyone more or less migrated to Facebook, as a private group.

Sad to see the direct, open food-talk sites so slimly supported, but it’s a sign of the times, I guess. CH was a very active site in SD just a few years (three? four?) ago. It was fun, informative and interesting to follow.

I myself am not a Facebook person. At least not now. Maybe at some point in the future, but not now.

I tried to join the Facebook group but was never allowed in. Not on FB anymore though. Oh well, on to other things.

For my part, I’m going to stay the course.

RD, you aren’t really missing much. EDSD is kind of like Yelp with better pictures. It trends very young and there isn’t much in the way of discussion

That’s a shame.

So where did everyone migrate after EDSD, then? Which is to say, where are they now?

Do you know of anything more active than here or CH @DoctorChow?

No, I don’t. I wish I did. (Maybe DD will enlighten us.)

A resurgence on either would be elating and encouraging, though.

The conversation mode is engaging; interesting. And entertaining.

I’ll admit to frequently looking to see what people have to say and show on Yelp. But I take things posted there, and the number of stars, with more than just one grain of salt.

I have nothing new. As far as I know EDSD is still going strong. If people have migrated from it I don’t know where they’ve gone.

The SD board makes up for the lack of quantity with quality. I don’t go down to SD as much when we were Zoo members but we still get down 1-2 times per year. The SD board helped me find lots of great places to try like Bird Rock Roasters, Wayfarer, Super Cocina, Extraordinary Desserts, Carnitas Snack Shack and many others.

Hopefully you guys will start to get new blood and some of the OG will come back to FTC.

I tried to join, but never heard back. Do you have to be “in the industry” to be admitted?

@MsVerde, I’m not sure what “credentials” you need to get in. I tried twice and could not get approved. Probably for the best, FB seems mostly about who hates what the most.