Monday, October 26, 2009

Tortilleria Salsa Market - El Cajon

Salsa Market in El Cajon

Over the many years I've lived in San Diego, It seems I've moved steadily to the East. I grew up in University City, lived in bachelorette apartments in Bankers Hill and Mission Hills and vintage houses in Normal Heights and Kensington, and finally settled on a 3/4 acre plot in Mt. Helix, on the far side of La Mesa.
Salsa Market in El Cajon
Though the East County has definitely grown on me, it's a tough place for a foodie to call home. I thought I had done a pretty good job of scouting out the gems, but I was delighted to find a new one in El Cajon recently on a recommendation from my friend Jora. A small Mexican grocery store and tortilleria with a takeout counter called Tortilleria Salsa Market.
Salsa Market in El Cajon

I'd heard her mention the place before, but my fire was really lit when her husband brought some food home when I happened to be visiting a few weeks ago. The chips, salsas and ceviche were so good that I went looking for the place myself the very next day. I found it on Chase, just a few blocks West of Avocado.
Salsa Market in El Cajon

Since then, the ceviche has become a staple in this household, and we've been making regular runs for their chips and salsa too (the verde is especially good.)
Salsa Market in El Cajon

They have a full carniceria - Jora sometimes buys their carne asada to grill for parties.
Salsa Market in El Cajon

The bags of chips are kind of hard to find - look for them stacked on top of the produce on the back wall. They're fresh, crisp and not too greasy. El Indio's might have the edge, but just barely.
Salsa Market in El Cajon

Their tortillas are perfection - made daily so they're ultra fresh. These were still warm. They make their own carnitas and chicharrones, and different guisados each day.
Salsa Market in El Cajon

The produce is inexpensive and includes pomegranates, quince, Mexican limes and finger bananas in addition to the usual suspects - potatoes, onions, avocados, sweet potatoes and citrus.
Salsa Market in El Cajon

Pinatas for children's birthday parties hang from the ceiling. They also have just about every Mexican grocery item you could want and some you might not necessarily expect. I needed ginger and soy sauce for a recipe and was able to find them here.
Salsa Market in El Cajon

I haven't had a chance to make my way through the rest of their menu yet because I'm still stuck on the ceviche and their carne asada burrito. The ceviche is a perfectly balanced sweet-tart blend of tomato, onion, lime and shrimp, and the burrito is are a cut above the usual taco shop fare - stuffed with juicy meat, fresh pico de gallo and guacamole. A burrito, a bag of chips, some ceviche and salsas make a delightful feast for two, with plenty of leftovers for around $20. You can trust me on this, I speak from experience!

Tortilleria Salsa Market
480 W. Chase Avenue
El Cajon, CA 92020
(619) 588-5217

6 comments:

  1. I love that place! The tortillas are so good! A quick jaunt down Avocado and it's right there. We go whenever we want to have an impromptu Mexican dinner at home.

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  2. I have read your blog for some time and am happy to hear that you are in East County now. I live in the Granite Hills area and am hoping you come across some gems to share with us!

    The Tortilleria Salsa Market is owned by the same people that own "Salsa" Mexican Restaurant on Chase and Avocado, in El Cajon. I haven't had take out from the Tortilleria, but have had carne asada and other food to go from "Salsa" and it is quite good.

    And gosh, homemade tortillas, still warm and soft ... mmmmmm.

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  3. So glad you like this place! They also have uncooked flour tortillas that you cook at home. We like those a lot. :)

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  4. We have a Mexican market that I've found a number of good items at but I have to admit that I'm too afraid to try anything from the carniceria.

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  5. Ooo! A great tip for my next visit to the East County... I grew up not too far from there, but am in desperate need of guidance.

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  6. I'm ex Los Angeleno living in the UK and I MISS Mexican food and markets. I have a pork shoulder and plan to make carnitas, but am struggling to find corn tortillas over here :/ Love your blog!!

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