Aqui es Texcoco: Barbacoa For Breakfast in Chula Vista

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Mexican Restaurant San Diego

Baa! It’s what’s for breakfast. Well, not quite, but you can eat every part of the sheep except for the sound at Aqui es Texcoco, which has been a big part of the Chula Vista culinary landscape since 2008, when barbacoa specialist Francisco “Paco” Perez set up shop in a strip mall. His mom started operating a weekend-only barbacoa emporium in 1990, due south in Tijuana, and he carries on the family tradition, which honors the city of Texcoco in the State of Mexico.

The logo is a sleeping lamb in a basket, resting on a bed of maguey leaves, awaiting his delicious fate. Paco Perez doesn’t pit roast lamb in those leaves, as his mom does in Tijuana, but he still produces superior sheep, which isn’t just limited to weekends.

The man who introduced me to Aqui es Texcoco is Street Gourmet LA founder Bill Esparza, and he was coincidentally in San Diego when we were, so he joined us for breakfast. With Esparza, no meal is exempt from alcohol consumption, so we started our Mexican breakfast with frothy blackberry pulque, which Paco Perez imports from Hidalgo.

Yes, Aqui es Texcoco features lamb, but sells other animals, including rabbit mixiote and our first pick: Grilled Quail ($9.50). The bird trio featured a savory marinade and juicy meat.

Brain tacos ($1.85 each) incorporated griddled corn tortillas that cradled supple minced cortex, fragrant epazote, sweet onion and spicy serrano chilies.

They weren’t on the menu, but Paco Perez presented huitlacoche tacos with fresh corn fungus, molten cheese and sweet onion, which helped to round out the earthy core ingredient.

Perez roasted a Lamb Head ($17) whole and served the skull with corn tortillas, powerful bundled summer cilantro (aka papalo) and onion. Tender meat pulled easily from crannies, sockets and jaws, including tongue, cheek and eye.

Juicy ribs joined pink bony back meat and a meaty balloon of pancita, stomach filled with iron-rich chunks of lung, liver and heart.

Consomme involved lamb broth bobbing with bits of lamb fat and garbanzo beans.

Aqui es Texcoco provides three salsas: mild, sweeter pasilla; tangy tomatillo with jalapeno (or habanero, if necessary to achieve the proper spice level); and a kick-y roasted tomato, tomatillo and jalapeno slurry.

After we laid waste to our lamb, Perez provided vivid, refreshing Jamaica sorbet. The man clearly has a grasp on more than lamb.

Aqui es Texcoco: Barbacoa For Breakfast in Chula Vista


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

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