One of the cult foods in Santa Fe is the beef carnitas from Roque’s wagon, parked at the edge of Santa Fe Plaza. A whole half pound of sliced marinated beef top round is grilled with onions and green chiles (I’m presuming Hatch), picking up a smoky flavor, then piled into a large flour tortilla, topped with salsa, all rolled up in aluminum foil.
My vision of carnitas is the Mexican kind made with roasted pork and corn tortillas, so I am the first to admit that it is probably this pre-conception that dulled appreciation of Roque’s version (☆☆). First of all, it’s messy, really messy. As soon as you peel back the foil and take your first bite, pieces fall out and juices run down your hand (and, if you’re not careful, your clothes). This by itself is not enough to downgrade it. I did find though that the salsa seemed more like stewed tomatoes (again, I’m expecting pico de gallo). The carnitas itself had a bitterness likely from the smoke from the briquettes and a vinegariness that didn’t seem like limes. Tons of fans seem to love Roque’s product, so I chalk up my indifference to regional preference.
Southeast corner of Santa Fe Plaza
Santa Fe, NM 87501