Friday, October 30, 2015

Mexican Brunch at Cocina Condesa (Studio City, CA)

by guest blogger @iam_robot

Los Angeles might be a beautiful melting pot of cultures and ethnicities, but its diverse residents all have one thing in common: we’re all suckers for good Mexican Food. Being a Los Angeles transplant the last 15 years of my life, I’d think I have tasted all the greatest Mexican food this world has to offer. But after trying out new places every week, I’m still constantly flabbergasted with the infinite variations, craftsmanship and dedication from all these great taqueros/ taqueras. Sure I have my favorite joints for certain Mexican food but when I discovered a new place with less predictable menu, I can’t help but thinking how many more bewildered moments like this I’d encounter living in this city.
Just for good measure, I’d like to share my brunch experience at Cocina Condesa in Studio City. 
Situated strategically on Ventura Blvd, this bright yellow Restaurant features hearty Mexican street food and modern libations crafted by David Rubin..

No, this place is not your typical Mexican Food – you won’t see tacos-bean combos or brick size burritos with enchilada sauce. Instead, Executive Chef Eddie Garcia features finer specialties we rarely get enough of – ceviches, aqua-chiles, sopes, street corn, machaca, questo fundido, and braised chicken mole.  But Brunch is the way to go! I can’t specify a genre but the lineup leans towards a Cal-Mexican cuisine with some emphasis on healthier eating.
The vibe inside Cocina Condesa is festive and vibrant.  Huge red-framed windows are featured in the dining room to circulate the evening breeze while the wooden table and high-chair suggests a significant landmark (bar or saloon) you’d see in Mexico or other South American countries. Love how eclectic and kitschy the wall décor is – so many random things to look at: old Mexican hero sepia pictures, bullhead skeleton, antique guitar, Day of the Dead dolls, wooden Mexico map, sombrero, etc – you’ll always have a topic for conversation.  

Back to the brunch menu. My absolute favorite item is the Mayan Chocolate Pancakes. Three hearty warm fluffy pancakes topped with seared plantains and crushed Mayan Chocolates and Sugar.    
Mayan Choc Pancakes
And instead of drizzling the pancakes with ordinary maple syrup, you’re given Piloncillo Syrup, a homemade maple syrup made with brown / white sugar, cinnamon, and water. Definitely lower in calories!
Second must order from the Brunch menu is the Huevos Rancheros – quite the delight – it’s a quesadilla topped with sunny side up eggs, white beans, crispy poblano, and their savory homemade salsa. 
I thought the quesadilla had a good texture – crisp in spite of being drenched in salsa and eggs.

Lastly, I also had a bite of the Machaca scrambe, which is braised beef brisket, sautéed peppers, and crispy poblano hash. Beef came well-seasoned with strong flavor, a perfect pair for the eggs.
I also like the side of poblano hash, a wonderful touch of salt and crisp to the mix. Other things on the menu I’m curious for:  Mexican French Toast – Egg Battered Bolillo, Blueberry Mango Chutney with Piloncillo Syrup, Chille Relleno – Roasted Poblano Chile, Machengo Cheese, Pepita Green Mole Sauce, and Crispy Poblano Hash, and Torta de la Manana – Serrano Ham, Egg Whites, Sauteed Spinach, and Tapatio Aioli.

As far as drinks, they have bottomless mimosas for only $15. I thought this was a steal. Make your pick from traditional mimosas to guava, peach, or mango. They also offer traditional brunch cocktails like Bloody Mary, Michelada, and Margarita. I had the chance to try one of their specialty drinks – Honey Bee, which is whiskey, orange juice, ginger, and honey. Other specialty drinks I had my eye on: La Mariposa (Gin, Elderflower, lime juice, soda, salt rim), La Rosita (Vodka, Watermelon, lime juice, soda, salt rim) and Abajo de la Playa (Monkey coconut rum, prohibido rum, coconut, pineapple).

Honey Bee & La Rosita

All in all, I think this place has a lot to offer. The dishes can be categorized as Mexican but there are varying degrees of inspiration here – the improvisation could easily be overdone but everything was well-thought and integrated from the cocktail to the hearty breakfast. Sure the cocktail has exceptional twist, but I think the food is the main attraction that will make me come back every time I’m thinking about brunch. 

Cocina Condesa
11616 Ventura Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 91604
(818) 579-4264
Cocina Condesa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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