Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

The only cemitas shop in San Diego

Cemitas Fandanguero takes on New York

This Cubano Cemita features breaded pork, ham, and sausage with avocado, panela cheese, and papalo leaves.
This Cubano Cemita features breaded pork, ham, and sausage with avocado, panela cheese, and papalo leaves.
Place

Cemitas Fandanguero

1275 S. Santa Fe Avenue, Vista

While chatting with a friend in New York recently, he told me, “I know you don’t think we have good Mexican food in the city, but I just got the best cemita in Brooklyn.”

“Yeah, yeah,” I said. “Whatever it is, I’m sure we have better.” But after I hung up the phone, I had to wonder: Do we?

Of course I couldn’t admit I didn’t know what a cemita was and that I had to learn via Google that it’s a type of torta native to the Puebla region of Mexico, named for the sesame-encrusted bun used to make it. I immediately started scouring the menus of trusted local Mexican restaurants looking for it, without luck. Finally, using every web-search trick I know, I found one place in the entire county that serves this mystery sandwich — in Vista.

Cemitas Fandanguero

Cemitas Fandanguero specializes in cemita and bakes their rolls fresh daily. They’re funny little hat-shaped things, with a slightly softer texture than the telera or bolillo rolls used to make most of the tortas I’ve eaten. Plus, sesame seeds make everything better.

A diagram on the menu explained that Cemitas’ cemitas feature a choice of meat, sliced avocado, pickled onions, and thick slices of panela cheese. There’s also a cilantro-like herb called papalo and a choice of jalapeños or chipotle sauce.

Most of the meat options involve pork, including the familiar carnitas and al pastor. There’s a breaded milanesa-style pork, pork-skin cueritos, and salt-cured cecina. Prices range from six to ten dollars, the cost going up the more unfamiliar the pork gets. Those last two made me curious to experiment, but the woman behind the counter said one sandwich was far and away the restaurant’s most popular, so I went with that. The Cubano.

It features that milanesa, along with thin slices of ham and thick slices of a frankenfurter-like sausage. Since it was nine bucks, I demurred on an upgrade in the cheese department. I like panela’s mild flavor and chewy texture and wanted to focus on the flavors of the chipotle sauce and papalo. However, for $1.25 extra you get quesillo, aka Oaxacan string cheese. After the sandwich was made, I tried a little of this. It was sharp and slightly pungent, with amazing texture. Made from stretched cheese curds, it’s flavorful enough to make for a great sandwich on its own, without any meat (also an option here).

My first cemita experience was a winner. The chipotle sauce overpowered the pork a little bit, but the thick sandwich satisfied me beyond just the novelty. And I want to believe it’s better than any cemitas they’re eating in Brooklyn.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Finding a different world inside Samarkand Uzbek Café

Don’t miss this overachieving tent restaurant tucked away in a City Heights parking lot
This Cubano Cemita features breaded pork, ham, and sausage with avocado, panela cheese, and papalo leaves.
This Cubano Cemita features breaded pork, ham, and sausage with avocado, panela cheese, and papalo leaves.
Place

Cemitas Fandanguero

1275 S. Santa Fe Avenue, Vista

While chatting with a friend in New York recently, he told me, “I know you don’t think we have good Mexican food in the city, but I just got the best cemita in Brooklyn.”

“Yeah, yeah,” I said. “Whatever it is, I’m sure we have better.” But after I hung up the phone, I had to wonder: Do we?

Of course I couldn’t admit I didn’t know what a cemita was and that I had to learn via Google that it’s a type of torta native to the Puebla region of Mexico, named for the sesame-encrusted bun used to make it. I immediately started scouring the menus of trusted local Mexican restaurants looking for it, without luck. Finally, using every web-search trick I know, I found one place in the entire county that serves this mystery sandwich — in Vista.

Cemitas Fandanguero

Cemitas Fandanguero specializes in cemita and bakes their rolls fresh daily. They’re funny little hat-shaped things, with a slightly softer texture than the telera or bolillo rolls used to make most of the tortas I’ve eaten. Plus, sesame seeds make everything better.

A diagram on the menu explained that Cemitas’ cemitas feature a choice of meat, sliced avocado, pickled onions, and thick slices of panela cheese. There’s also a cilantro-like herb called papalo and a choice of jalapeños or chipotle sauce.

Most of the meat options involve pork, including the familiar carnitas and al pastor. There’s a breaded milanesa-style pork, pork-skin cueritos, and salt-cured cecina. Prices range from six to ten dollars, the cost going up the more unfamiliar the pork gets. Those last two made me curious to experiment, but the woman behind the counter said one sandwich was far and away the restaurant’s most popular, so I went with that. The Cubano.

It features that milanesa, along with thin slices of ham and thick slices of a frankenfurter-like sausage. Since it was nine bucks, I demurred on an upgrade in the cheese department. I like panela’s mild flavor and chewy texture and wanted to focus on the flavors of the chipotle sauce and papalo. However, for $1.25 extra you get quesillo, aka Oaxacan string cheese. After the sandwich was made, I tried a little of this. It was sharp and slightly pungent, with amazing texture. Made from stretched cheese curds, it’s flavorful enough to make for a great sandwich on its own, without any meat (also an option here).

My first cemita experience was a winner. The chipotle sauce overpowered the pork a little bit, but the thick sandwich satisfied me beyond just the novelty. And I want to believe it’s better than any cemitas they’re eating in Brooklyn.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Jackslacks releases Billy Bacon tribute EP When Pigs Fly

Bacon passed away in August 2019
Next Article

Interview fashionista finds comfort in Abercrombie & Fitch, H&M

Claire still believes in wearing pants while working remotely
Comments
1

Good find. The place that's the poke shop in Grantville used to serve similar sandwiches, though not quite the same, they had the wild pork options, if memory serves.

May 24, 2016

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close