Edit: Taqueria Campos is now called La Casita, and it’s the same family as before.
Living in Temescal I’m lucky enough to have gray weather comfort food options just a stone’s throw away: there’s a decent pho joint down the street and I’m only a five minute drive (errr, plus an hour wait) from Ramen Shop, which in my humble opinion is one of the best restaurants in Oakland, if not the best. But, often all I want is a big Mexican soup. Could be just a simple chicken soup with chunks of potatoes and slices of corn on the cob (I forgive the overcooked green beans), could be the hangover-halting tripe soup called menudo, and most definitely could be pozole, hominy and tender pork galore. For this I head to Fruitvale.
At Taqueria Campos soup is not a side dish. The portions are big enough to feed two or keep you satisfied all day. Still, I ordered tacos on the side because the corn tortillas are homemade and fresh off the comal. And we can always fit in a taco, can’t we? There are several types of caldos (usually clearish broth soups) including chicken, beef, veggie or tlalpeño (a chicken soup usually made with chickpeas and chipotle chiles), menudo (known for curing hangovers), and birria (usually a rich goat or lamb stew). I went for the pozole and ate way more than I thought was possible.
This is a tiny place and if the building wasn’t bright orange you could easily miss it. There are four tables in the dining room and two women in the kitchen. There’s a small window up front where you pay when you’re done, through it you can see the kitchen and the four jugs of agua frescas sitting on the counter. Our waiter, obviously the son of the cook, was probably in middle school but his swag was off the charts. As soon as we sat down he brought us a plate of refried beans sprinkled with queso fresco, some chicharrones, salsa, and a basket of chips. And then he was on it: goat or lamb birria? Homemade tortillas or regular? Tostadas for your pozole or tortillas? Agua fresca or jarritos? The jamaica was not too sweet, which is a rarity. Essence ordered four tacos and they beautifully crowded each other and a few pickled veggies on a bright yellow plate. The carnitas taco, greasy and crispy, was the best.
I hope the rain comes back, mostly for environmental reasons, but also because I have a lot more caldos to try.
3659 Foothill Blvd
Oakland, CA 94601
Soups are about $6-$8
Good for lunch
Closed Tues & Wed