Antojitos Smothered in Toppings at Los Yaquis

The Aguirre family, who run the colorful, congenial Los Yaquis on S. Van Ness and 15th St., are doing something no other San Francisco restaurant is: serving Jalisco-style botanas (snacks) and smothered antojitos in addition to their more traditional menu of Mexican entrees and Salvadoran fare.

Look over the cook's station in the front of the restaurant, and you'll see the botanas ― glass jars filled with orange, green, and white ingredients. There are slippery, jelly-like strips of cueritos (pickled pork skin), shredded carrots, chopped cactus, thinly sliced pork loin, and head cheese. They'll put together a small plate of the botanas (which also includes quail eggs and pickled pig's feet) for $6, or you can order tacos dorados, fried quesadillas, or tostadas smothered in your choice of the snacks. The owners come from San Juan de Los Lagos in Jalisco; Samuel Aguirre, who I talked to over the phone, says that the snack-bar approach to topping antojitos is common in the region.

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