Friday, January 18, 2013

Sneak Preview: Loteria Grill's DineLA Menu

DineLA Restaurant Week is upon us once again, and Loteria Grill had invited the media to preview their DineLA menu so that we can tell you what's in store and what to order.

Order this one!
I went to their Studio City location. There are still the cards adorning the top of the walls, but thanks to the distinct crowd this location is not as loud as the Hollywood one and seemed brighter.

The chef/owner Jimmy Shaw was there to explain to us his inspirations behind the menu while we sip tequila infused with kiwi and a hint of Chili.

 There are three options for each of the three courses. Unfortunately, I can't show you all of the three appetizers since our whole table went with the Tostadita de Salpican do Jaiba.

This is a Veracruz-style crab tostada with  fresh avocado. This dish came from the Southern part of Veracruz where there are  great Spanish influences, as evidenced by the use of capers in the dish.

The other two options were Crema de Chile Poblano soup with Queso fresco and Ensalada de flor de Jamaica (spinach, pink grapefruit, red onion, toasted hibiscus petals, caramelized sesame seeds, hibiscus vinaigrette) with candied Jamaica flowers.

Now, on to the second course.
I ordered the Enchilada de Hongos Silvestres y Huitlacoche (Wild mushrooms and huitlacoche stacked enchilada, tomatillo cream sauce)
Rather than the usual rolled up enchilada, this one is stacked in a cazuela (claypot) and baked. It's kind of like lasagna, except with corn tortillas. If you're not yet familiar with huitlacoche (although I'm sure many of you are by now), it is corn fungus which is thrown away here but is considered a delicacy in Mexico and has a very earthy flavors. Despite being the vegetarian option, this may in fact be the most flavorful dish and quite filling. It was certainly my personal favorite of the three.

Pechuga de Pollo en Mole Verde de Michoacan (chicken breast in green mole of Michoacan, white rice, black beans)
This is fresh green mole made with toasted pepitas, sesame seeds and gets the green color from pumpkin seeds, lettuce, etc. Jimmy Shaw told a story of Diana Kennedy who travels Mexico in her truck and it was thanks to her that recipes such as these that are usually hard to come by became available.

The last is Carne Tampiquena (Butterflied filet mignon, roasted Poblano chiles, cheese enchilada with mole poblano, fresh guacamole, black beans).
The carne tampiquena is a classic Mexican fine dining dish. Tribute to the Loreto family who owns a bunch of steakhouses.

There were also three dessert options but we only got two of them since one of the people at the table couldn't handle sugar.

I ordered the Crepas de Cajeta (warm goat's milk caramel crepes, caramelized pecans, whipped cream)
This dessert combines the French and Spanish influences in Mexico.
Caramel in Mexico is usually made with goat's milk and despite looking like the crepes are completely doused in caramel, the caramel is not overly sweet and thick as to overwhelm everything.

Cheesecake de Guayaba (guava cheesecake)
This actually has a mousse-like texture rather than the usual rich, dense cheesecake and it's also not as sweet.

The other dessert option was Churros con Salsa de Chocolate Abuelita (typical Mexican drinking chocolate infused with cinnamon). Jimmy Shaw explained that Churro came from Spain to Mexico while chocolate came from Mexico to Spain!

Hope this helps you in deciding if you should go to Loteria Grill for DineLA and what to order there if you do. Enjoy Restaurant Week!



Mmmm, that cheesecake and cajeta dessert look awesome! Not to mention, the tostada.

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