Showing posts with label taco. Show all posts
Showing posts with label taco. Show all posts

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Guide to Cheap Eats in Kauai

A vacation in Hawaii isn't cheap. The flight is expensive, the hotel is expensive, and the food is expensive ... but it doesn't have to be. There are many local restaurants and shops were you can get affordable, delicious food! Here are some of my suggestions for cheap (for Hawaii) food in Kauai, the Garden Island. The guide below is separated by neighborhoods, and there is something in each side of the island!

EAST KAUAI: Lihue / Kapa'a

Hamura saimin
Hamura Saimin
2956 Kress St, Lihue
Click to add a blog post for Hamura Saimin on Zomato

In Hawaii, it's not about ramen - it's about saimin. Originally a Chinese noodle soup, the Hawaiian saimin receives influence from other cultures like Japan and Filipino. Hamura is a simple eatery that is popular with the locals, especially late at night - they're open until midnight on the weekends. A small size of regular saimin is less than $6 or you can get the special saimin for $8, topped with wontons, boiled egg, roast pork, fish cakes, ham, and vegetables. Slurp away but save room for the lilikoi chiffon pie ($3.25 per slice).


Plantation Coffee Co
Plantation Coffee Co
2970 Kele St, Lihue
Click to add a blog post for Plantation Coffee Company on Zomato


This little coffee shop is hidden in a nondescript office building off the main street in Lihue, but it's a great place to grab breakfast or some sandwiches for the road. They serve good coffee and even use coffee ice cubes for their iced coffee. Try their popular sandwiches like the chicken mac nut or wabi sabi (pictured, a tuna salad with wasabi sandwich topped with tomatotes and sprouts). A sandwich combo with chips, cookies, and a drink costs $9.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

La Tostaderia: A Cut Above

by guest blogger @iam_robot

There’s more that meets the eyes to this tiny booth inside Grand Central Market than its namesake tostada – imagine everything you like in a seafood and amplify that sea flavor with fresh salsa verde, chipotle cream sauce, or crème fraiche. I saw the menu and I was dancing with joy! Situated strategically near the entrance and across from Belcampo Meat, Fernando Villagomes (of carnitas fame Las Morelianas) and Chef Sandra Felix (formerly Campanile) are serving up modern ceviche, tacos, and tostadas utilizing traditional recipe and fresh seafood from Baja and the Pacific Coast.

Expect to see thick slices of halibut, wild Mexican shrimp or grilled octopus swimming in a sea of yuzu juice, verde, or habanero sauce. Progressive yet refined and traditional in flavors. Other than the bright neon mermaid sign, there’s nothing in this stall that’d suggest this is a ritzy joint. Instead, the vibe here feels like your favorite cafeteria with its black and blue ceramic tiles, chalkboard menus, and 12 counter chairs. Bring a friend and grab a Michelada from Las Morelianas, I think you could have a memorable Mexican feast for under $30. Here are a few of my favorite things from the menu:

Sarandeado Shrimp Tacos: sautéed shrimp, seasonal veggies, salsa verde and chipotle cream sauce

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Generous serving of sautéed shrimp contrasts nicely against the bright salsa verde and sweet caramelized onion. The chipotle cream sauce adds tang and cooling underneath. Definitely one of the more delicious tacos I’ve tried in LA.

Corvina Fish Tacos: corn tortilla, avocado purée, pork cracklings, salsa verde, and pickled red onions.
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Another winner! Fish is skillfully fried to golden brown perfection while the zing of the salsa verde meshed delightfully with inherent sweetness of the avocado puree and red onions. I appreciate the addition of pork cracklings here, it adds saltiness and crunchiness to the party.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tinga (Mid-City, Los Angeles, CA)

With so many authentic, hole-in-the-wall taco spots in Los Angeles, it may be easy to dismiss a "hipster" taco place like Tinga, but this spot on La Brea is popular for a reason.

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Even though the price is higher, Tinga provides a great option for tacos that Mid-City lacked before. The taco fillings may not always be "authentic" but owner Jerry Baker stays true to tradition where it matters, which you can see in the freshly made tortillas and great salsas.

Appetizer options include shareable plates like Chorizo Fundido (oaxaca cheese, chorizo, roasted corn, pico de gallo, hand pressed tortillas, $12.50)
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The listed price on the menu is for two tacos, although you can order single tacos for $5.25 each. It's a bit pricey compared to taco trucks, for sure, but they're pretty generous with the meat and you are in Mid-City after all. I was quite surprised by how much I actually liked the tacos here!

The one you definitely need to try: The Genesis (grilled cumin and garlic rubbed pork loin, roasted and grilled with poblanos, pepper jack cheese, ahogado salsa)
Tinga
Jerry Baker has been perfecting the recipe for The Genesis since high school, back when he used to make it for his friends. It's easy to see as it was definitely my favorite taco there. Even though it looks the simplest, it had the best flavors from the pork rub, which complemented but not overwhelmed by the simple additions of cheese and salsa.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Tacolandia and Confessions of a Food Festival Masochist

by guest blogger Cue the Critic

My relationship with food festivals is an interesting one; mainly because I hate to love them.  In the moment, the experience is tiring, a bit stressful, and take the deepest toll on your body and stomach, all while offering you a feeling of fulfillment, excitement, and heavenly delight; that is if you do it correctly.  I attend food festivals with one goal in mind: eat as much as humanly possible within the time allotted.  Tacolandia was not exempt from this food festival showdown: Cue v. Food.

I arrive just prior to 3:00p.m., and my date and I breezed through the queue with unprecedented ease for an event with no VIP hour.

Upon entry I immediately started eating. There was a corn-off-the-cob cup with tortilla chips that reminded me of the elote you would get from a street vendor in the neighborhood.
Elote Cup w/ Tortilla Chips
Elote cup with tortilla chips

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Ray Garcia Opens BS Taqueria in Downtown LA

It was six years ago that I first had Chef Ray Garcia's braised tongue with tomatillo and breakfast radish, back when he was starting out at FIG. Now, you can have that same amazingly tender tongue on handmade corn tortillas (made with nixtamal) at his newly opened B.S. Taqueria in Downtown LA.

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Also not to be missed is the clams and lardo taco, topped with garlic chips.
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Surf and turf? The lardo adds a wonderful richness but it's the flavor of the clams that shine through. Add to that the crunchy garlic chips.
There are also three great salsas available on the tables, but these tacos were already so flavorful I found I didn't need to add anything extra.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tacolandia Presale! (Plus, Last Year's Event Recap)

LA Weekly's Tacolandia returns for its third year on Saturday, June 6! While regular ticket sales will open on March 9, you can get a head start for some presale tickets starting today when you go to this link and use the code TACOPIGS.

Now, the event is getting bigger and bigger. While last year's event boasts 45 taquerieas for $25, this year's $35 admission promises 80 vendors curated by Bill Esparza! 55 have been confirmed so far including Amor y Tacos, Taco Maria, Aqui es Texcoco, along with Tacolandia veterans. The VIP admission is $55 which includes a separate entrance, a gift bag, and a VIP area with its own bar.

Not convinced you should spend the day feasting on as many tacos as you physically can? Read below for last year's recap by @iam_robot:

Being a Los Angeles transplant the last 14 years of my life, I’d think I have bragging rights on where to find great tacos this world has to offer. But after attending Tacolandia and devouring 25 different Taco variations, I have a feeling I could be looking for the perfect taco the rest of my life – And this is what makes Taco so fascinating…the variations are infinite and in the world of Yelp & Instagram, greatest taqueros/ taqueras are investing insane amount of thought, craftsmanship and labor hours to create the world’s most interesting taco.

In the end, I have to admit Tacolandia is probably the best food event to attend in terms of fun and bang for your buck. Two thumbs up to Bill Esparza (world’s 1st tacorazzo) for carefully selecting 45 super star taqueros and chefs from Southern California/ Mexico who performed admirably, and many times, exceeding imaginations. I can’t be happier how interesting ingredients (smelt, sprinkles, tongue, etc) and weird food (dickhead, offals, grasshopper, etc) were served up to satiate adventurous eaters like me. Below are some of the tacos served that day:

Cochinita Pibil by Chef Tim Hollingsworth  (former Chef of the French Laundry) made the most visually stunning and delicious taco for the day.
 Tacolandia
Cochinita Pibil (Slow Roasted Pork) Taco is made with Oaxacan Corn Tortilla, Masa, Guacamole and crispy potato mole. Loved the interchanging flavors of heat and savory here.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Famed Hollywood Taqueria Calle Tacos To Offer Catering Service

By: guest blogger @iam_robot

In a time when quick-service and casual dining chains are offering catering service to generate additional revenues, Calle Tacos, Hollywood popular taqueria owned by street-food extraordinaire Dorian and Javier Villasenor, are doing exactly just that. This Hollywood Blvd permanently parked lonchero (food truck) strive to bring your favorite Mexican fare, utilizing decades-old family recipe and fresh ingredients, to your family events and corporate meetings.
Calle Tacos
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For its catering service, not only common Mexican food (burritos, nachos, tortas, fajitas and tacos) will be served, there’ll be less known items like Shrimp Ceviche, Chicken Mole Poblano and Kobe Beef Sliders. Washed those down with their homemade Watermelon or Pineapple agua fresca, suddenly those corporate events feel a wee bit memorable.  And yes, any of the dishes can be customized with a selection of protein, toppings or sauces to suit your taste. Based on my experience, their al pastor, carnitas and carne asada are excellent but their Chipotle Fish Tacos is probably one of the most delicious tacos in LA. Fish was skillfully fried to golden brown perfection while the chipotle mayo adds tang and cooling underneath.

So here’s how the catering menu looks like:
Shrimp Ceviche – shrimp seasoned in citrus with pico de gallo and red onion.
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The dish came looking more like a shrimp cocktail but the taste combo were there. The citrus veered the dish towards sour but the inherent sweetness of the pico de gallo balanced out the equation. I like how the red onion didn’t lose the tanginess or crunch despite being soaked in citrus or pico de gallo for a long time. My slight criticism about this dish is that I wished the shrimp was bigger and packed a tad more crunch.

Chicken Mole Poblano – Chicken mixed in a sweet mole made with chiles, chocolate and warm spices
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Friday, June 6, 2014

New Cocktails Hit Santa Monica at The Charleston

Realizing there wasn't really a spot for craft cocktails on that strip of Wilshire Blvd in Santa Monica, The Charleston's new GM, Chris Cheng, decided to launch a brand new cocktail list. There's no famous bartender involved, but his experience working with Beau du Bois at The Corner Door helped him create a solid starting list.

One of my favorites was the Cootie Catcher, made with gin, honeydew, luxardo triplem, lemon, and orgeat. Name aside, it's rare to find a honeydew cocktail and the honeydew flavor is nicely enhanced here. The orgeat they use is St. Vincent, which is infused with orange blossom and rose water - it's a local product made by one of the bartenders at Bestia!

Honeydew cocktail

Monday, April 28, 2014

Tacolandia Returns on June 28!

A $25 all-you-can-eat taco festival curated by Street Gourmet LA? Yep, Tacolandia returns this summer on June 28. Tacolandia is probably the most affordable food festival out there, and the food is great!

Among the favorites last year making a return this year Mariscos Jalisco and their famed fried shrimp tacos

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Chef Laurent Quenioux from Bistro LQ turns taco slinger for a day. Last year, he rotates what he was serving throughout the day, which included lobster, all manners of meat, and ... I'm not saying if this was foie gras ....
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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Amor Y Tacos: High End Mexican Food in Cerritos

I never thought I would be eating anything in Cerritos, a name I had only associated with car dealerships before. Now, the group from Ortega 120 down in Redondo Beach has opened Amor Y Tacos - in a strip mall, of course. The interior is fun and spacious. 
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As soon as you walk in, you see them making fresh tortillas. Good sign!
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A popular appetizer is the Mole Tots ($7.50): crispy tater tots, 21-ingredient housemade mole, queso fresco, cilantro, red onion, sour cream
Mole Tots
People put many things on tots, I wonder why no one had thought of mole sooner. I just wish they had put MORE mole sauce on this dish!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sneak Peek of LA Street Food Fest, June 29 2013

LA Street Food Fest is returning to the Rose Bowl on June 29. While I recently did a recap of last year's Food Fest, I previewed some of this year's vendors and there are some new ones you should be excited about!


1. Dante's Fried Chicken: Sock-It-To-Me fried chicken with coconut honey black sesame biscuit
Despite being white meat this was an awesome piece of fried chicken! 

2. Donut Snob.
Donut Snob has no retail store and you can usually only get them by pre-order, so the Food Fest is the perfect time to try these amazing donuts! No, really, they are some of the best in LA.

3. D'elish Sandwich Shop by Tiara Cafe: pastrami smoked short rib on fresh baked potato roll with slaw and jalapeno pickles

4. El Coraloense had all kinds of ceviche tostada during the preview. I tried the crab ceviche 

5. Local distillery Greenbar will be showcasing their new poppy liqueur, but if you shy away from alcohol, La Guelaguetza's horchata is always a good bet!

Some of the old favorites will make a return, but I'm excited about many of the new ones. These are just but a tiny portion of the vendors that will be there, so be sure to get your tickets soon at http://lastreetfoodfest.com 
All inclusive general admission tickets are $50 and VIP early admission is $75 with access to the Luxe Lounge (one time they had special cocktails and free massage!)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

TLT Food (Westwood)

There's another place that I wish was there when I was a Bruin: TLT Food. The food options in Westwood Village just keep getting better these days!

TLT Food is started by the guy behind The Lime Truck (hence TLT) that started in Orange County and won season 2 of The Great Food Truck Race! It is a great fast casual option, with beer and wine and free wi-fi. There are sandwiches, sliders, tacos, and fries with an Asian influence.

I had to get Blue Crab Grilled Cheese (can't say no to crab): Grilled Sourdough, Blue Crab, Cheese Blend, Scallions ($9)

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Pretty generous helping of crab meat for $9! It was mixed with mayo but pretty lightly so you still get plenty of the crab flavor. This was my friend's favorite.

Taco prices vary depending on the protein (or potato) you get, from short rib to ahi tuna. I tried the Pork Belly Adobo Taco: Braised Pork Belly, Tomatillo Salsa, Sriracha, Cilantro ($4)
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Two of the taco fillings you can actually get as toppings for fries, if you're inclined to get more carbs! They're great to share with the whole table, too. The two are 12-hour pulled pork, making up the "World Famous Carnitas Fries" and the Steak Fries. I got the Steak Fries: Marinated Steak, Asian Slaw, Homemade Wontons, Cilantro Chimichurri ($10)
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Great combination, talk about fully loaded fries. Do share, the portion is quite big. The steak was pretty tender and I really liked the cilantro chimichurri. Who needs poutine?? (Well, we still need poutine but we need this too.)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

LA Turns Into Tacolandia on June 23

If there's one guy who knows his tacos in LA that would be Bill Esparza, also known as Street Gourmet LA. While you and I whine about how hard it is to get from the east to westside, he's been known to scour the county for new gems, trying out places in Sun Valley and beyond.

Lucky for you, though, he's bringing them to Hollywood in June. That's 30 restaurants from all over LA, OC, and even Baja. And thanks to tacos being cheap, this all you can eat dealio is only $20! It's not just cheap taco stands participating though, even famed Chef Laurent Quenioux is set to participate. And if you want all you can drink tequila on top of that, then it's $40.

A much better deal than a $60 dim sum crawl ...

Tacolandia will be on June 23 from 12-5pm at the Hollywood Palladium. Mark your calendars and buy your tickets here.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Mariscos El Mazateno (Tijuana, Mexico)

My last trip to Tijuana with Street Gourmet LA took me back to Mariscos El Mazateno, a Sinaloan seafood taqueria. I came here on my first trip to TJ, but back then I was even weaker to spicy food as I am now so it was nice to revisit and enjoy it even better this time.

The must order here is the Taco Mazatena (shrimp/camarones enchilado), a taco packed full of fresh, crisp, lightly spicy shrimp. If you walk by the kitchen, you can see them cooking the spicy shrimp in a giant pot.

Taco Mazatena
Dress this with the available condiments including cabbage, crema, pico de gallo, and a bottle of house made spicy green sauce made with avocado and serrano chili. The shrimp taco to end all shrimp tacos!

The meals start with a styrofoam cup of shrimp consomme.
While waiting for our tacos, they served us a plate of seafood cocktail including shrimp, octopus, scallops, and more.
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If you have room for another after the heaping shrimp taco, try the smoked marlin taco, equally stuffed to the brim.
Smoked Marlin

The pulpo/octopus was also popular among the other diners.
Pulpo

The tacos here cost up to 40 pesos (around $3) and considering how much seafood you get with them, it's not bad at all. Whatever the price may be, the taco mazatena is a must try!

El Mazateno
Mariscos El Mazateno
Calzada Tecnologico,No. 473-E
Tomas Aquino
Tijuana,BCN

Monday, November 7, 2011

Komida: From Prom to Hollywood

One of the first times Yamashiro's Chef Brock Kleweno played around with Japanese influences tacos was at last year's Blogger Prom. They had also been very popular at the Thursday farmer's markets at Yamashiro, so it's only natural that their next move is a brick and mortar restaurant. That brick and mortar place is apparently a large space in the back of Hollywood and Highland center (towards Orange Dr, but there's no car-accessible entrance on Orange), in what used to be a club/lounge called H Wood.

There are definitely the expected Japanese influences in their tacos, salsas, and even guacamole.

Tacos
The prices seem pretty steep for tacos, but each order comes with a serving of chips topped with their addictive wasabi guacamole and pickled onions and peppers.

Monday, October 17, 2011

FIG Restaurant Launches Catering Service with Whole Pork

FIG Restaurant at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel recently launched a catering arm (available mostly for events held at the hotel and select off-site events). Just walking into their launch party I already know what I want to have at my wedding (if and when that happens): a whole roasted pig brined in pineapple in chile arbol!

Don't eat pork? For their launch party, FIG also prepared a gigantic whole grilled fish
Fish
The meat from the two was used to make tacos with island influence (the pork taco was topped with pineapple and the fish had mango salsa). Stay until the end of the night, though, when they start handing out pieces of the crispy pork skin. Cracklins!
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Now, if you'd like a more traditional bites for your event, they can certainly deliver with spoons of quinoa salad, mini lobster rolls, grilled beef skewers with chimichurri sauce, and oh-so-tender braised short ribs.
appetizers

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Border Grill Truck: Curbside Ceviche

Food trucks and taco trucks especially are filling up the streets of LA ever since Kogi's success story. But the Border Grill truck rolled out bringing the food of Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger that had already stood the test of customers in the Border Grill restaurants into the streets.

When I approached Ciudad for a donation for Bid and Eat for Haiti, they asked me if I had checked out the Border Grill truck. Why, no, I hadn't. I promised I would so per their invitation I stopped by for lunch en route to work. The truck was parked in front of LA Mart for the day.
I asked them to just give me whatever they want/think is best and ended up with a lot of food for one!

Peruvian ceviche ($5.00) - mahi mahi, lime, ginger, aji amarillo chile, pickled onion, corn, tortilla cone
Ceviche for $5? Nice. This was a good lightly spicy ceviche rendition with generous amount fresh and meaty mahi mahi. Also, being a corn-whore I really liked that extra touch. It was a bit too acidic for me to finish the whole thing though. In the end, I prefer my ceviche with leche de tigre sauce as the one I had at La Mar Cebicheria (in Lima - I thought the SF one was not as great) - a subtle tang and more focus on the fish instead.

Next I had two of their favorite tacos:
Yucatan pork taco ($2.50) - roasted achiote pork, pickled onion, orange salsa
crispy Baja fish taco ($3.00) - chipotle honey, creamy salsa fresca
Both of these tacos were great. The price point for tacos here are higher than other "taco trucks" and the portion smaller yet that higher price is worth it. These tacos weren't simply "put together." The ingredients are fresher, leaner, higher quality and you won't feel like as much as a grease pit as you usually might after a taco run. The condiments are well thought out and complement the main ingredient. I particularly liked the fish taco. The crispy breading held a meaty and juicy piece of fish. With the creamy salsa fresca? It's like fish n chips with a kick.

Dessert options here are still limited. I tried their Churro bites ($3.00) dulce de leche infused churros, cinnamon sugar, whipped cream
Unlike your usual crunchy churro, these infused churro bites are doughy. I liked the dulce de leche infusion but still preferred it crunchy outside like a typical churro.

I'm now a bit bummed about going to the truck before the Gold standard event though, since apparently there they served an amazing avocado and fried quinoa taco that both vegetarians and carnivores alike rave about.

Border Grill Truck
http://www.bordergrill.com/bg_t/bg_twel.htm
Twitter: @BorderGrill
Border Grill Truck (multiple locations) on Urbanspoon
Border Grill Truck in Los Angeles

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hot and Soupy #5: Mariscos Chente's New Winter Menu

Mariscos Chente made a big wave in the past year in the Los Angeles low-brow dining scene with their much lauded Sinaloan seafood cuisine. Recently they rolled out a Winter Menu and Street Gourmet LA, a long time Chente supporter, set up a small blogger tasting. Throughout the dinner, Street Gourmet LA guided us each dish, and where they come from , etc.

To get authentic Sinaloan seafood, the owner Maddalena routinely buses down to her hometown of Nayarit to procure some fresh seafood!

Tortilla chips and salsa while you wait. Watch out for the green salsa - it was way spicier than the red!

Our first soup was the Albondigas de camaron(shrimp albondigas), a common Sinaloan dish. Albondigas is meat/shrimp balls and is in fact a national dish that varies throughout Mexico. Seafood albondigas are typically found on the coasts. The broth consisted of shrimp stock, tomatoes, oregano, jalapeno, cilantro, and vegetables.

The albondigas were firm and chewy. The broth has quite a kick to it, and on that foggy night near the ocean, this hot soup was quite a treat.

There are three other seafood soups they're offering, which uses a common broth (made of fish stock, tomato, jalapeno, vegetables) but just varies in the seafood proteins they put in them.

The fish soup contains moist and tender pieces of seabass, including the skin and jowl.

The 'mixto' contains shrimp, fish (seabass, same as above), and octopus.
The octopus in this soup was so chewy and delicious I would highly recommend getting the mixto over either the fish or the shrimp (which they also offer). The broth here is not as spicy as the albondigas but I personally prefer it because it was richer and flavorful (though the rest did prefer the albondigas' broth).

Mariscos Chente is also offering a series of seafood tacos this winter.:
The deep fried fish(halibut) and shrimp tacos are topped with cabbage, tomato, onion, and homemade Thousand Island.
The batter here isn't as crispy as I would like, but the thousand island dressing is a really nice touch.

The highlight among the tacos was the Gobernador, a specialty of Mazatlan which consisted of sauteed shrimp with Monterey jack cheese, peppers, and onions in a flour tortilla finished on the grill.
Sweet and rich, these nicely grilled tacos packed a punch.

To wash it all down, we had Maddalena's special jarritos (also known as Palomas) which is typically made with Squirt, salt, and tequila but she squeezes in some orange in there for a flavor boost! Served in these clay vessels, the drink was quite refreshing and addictive. Mariscos Chente doesn't have a full liquor license so you can order this as a "virgin drink", but if you want to sneak your own tequila into the jar, I'll keep mum ;).

Who knows how long they would keep the winter menu up, so you might want to hurry and taste the Gobernador and their soups for yourself.


Mariscos Chente
4532 S. Centinela Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 391-9887
Mariscos Chente on Urbanspoon

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