Like most dynamic districts, Oakland's Fruitvale and San Antonio neighborhoods have personalities perennially in flux. Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Oaxacans — new waves of immigrants are constantly forcing the kind of recalibration that keeps East Oakland's taco zone an endless source of fascination for carnitas fanciers. Fortunately, a few places still hold to the Jaliscan specialties that gave the area its original Latin soul. Prime among them: Taqueria Campos, Ana Maria Campos' very tiny, very personal restaurant sequestered behind a takeout window opening onto Foothill Boulevard. Over the years, we've been fans of Campos' holy trinity of Jalisco rancho specialties — menudo blanco, pozole, and goat birria — and we're happy to say they're just as delicious, just as carefully made as ever. The birria here is the best we've tasted in Oakland, its broth stained carmine from chiles, and with the kind of deep flavor that comes from the slow simmering of meat and bones. Plus we're in love with the botana of warm chicharron and semiliquid refried beans Campos sends to your table as you wait for lunch to arrive.
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