A Few Quick Reviews of Cheap Eats

From time to time, I will post brief reviews on restaurants in the Los Angeles.  Here’s is a quick roundup:

1. Yuca’s Hut, for great carne asada tacos, and cochinita pibil from the Yucatan section of Mexico.  They serve the tacos and great Steak sandwiches on French rolls from a tiny shack, the size of a phone booth, it’s on Hillhurst Ave, in the Los Feliz area, a few blocks east of Hollywood Blvd.

2. Monte Alban on Santa Monica Blvd, near Barrington, for great Goat Stew (the stew is reddish in color and spicey though not extremely incendiary and you throw in some greens to cut it down, along with other vegetables) and some great goat tocas.  They also serve up pretty good Oaxacon moles (a region or rather state in Southern Mexico).

3. Babita’s Mexicuisine, on San Gabriel Blvd, in San Gabriel, just a few miles East off downtown Los Angeles right now the 10 Fwy.  Great Mexican cooking from a myriad of regions in Mexico including Sinaloa.  But no tacos or burrtios are served up here.  Dishes such as shrimp and sauteed chicken with a tequila sauce, beef cheeks stew, salmon tartare stuffed into piquillo peppers with a dry, unsweetened strawberry sauce, along with other dishes.  It’s a tiny white shack that doesn’t look like it serves such fine cuisine from the outside.  And it’s not cheap, but Babita is far more far reasonably priced than restaurants on the Westside that can’t even hold a candle to the amazing cooking of the Chef Berrelleza).  It’s also a tiny hidden place that most will pass by on their way to somewhere else.

4. The Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada on Hillhurst, a few blocks South of Yuca’s Hut, for what else freshly fried fish tacos on soft, supple corn tortillas served piping hot, fresh from the fryer.  All you need is a trio of tacos and a soda are you’re good to go.  Except for a mandatory visit to the salsa bar.  And what a salsa bar it is.  There’s an amazing radish salsa, a superhot mango salsa as well as super hot pineapple salsa (the sweetness of the fruit does cut the spicyness down, though so it is not just spicy for the sake of being spicy) as well as your garden variety pico de gallo.

5. Aturo’s Home of the Puffy Tacos, in Whittier, for what can be simply described as Tex-Mex tacos.  The namesake Puffy tacos are deep fried taco shells (similar to an Indian fry bread) stuffed with picadillo, or shredded beef, or chicken, topped with shredded cheddar cheese, lettuce, and a nondescript (read: mild) taco sauce.   But these tacos really hit the spot.  I doubt they are authentic but who really cares when they are so delicious.  They also have a bunch of other gloppy, cheesy, Tex-Mex oddities.


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