a day at the farmer's market in l.a. - mexican at loteria grill & some old fashioned ice cream
6333 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90036(323) 930-2211
a gorgeous day in l.a., my friend serena was visiting from the bay area, her hairdresser suggested we head over to the grove so there we went! but we went over to the farmer's market because there are so many little restaurants to choose from as you stroll through the "alley way" amongst the little tables and chairs filled with people eating and talking. after walking around the whole area and contemplating some singaporean food, we finally settled on mexican food! serena really wanted the spicy carnitas in a crispy taco, but for some reason, they kept saying they couldn't do it, so she settled on beef tacos. i love chilaquiles, so i ordered it with a fried egg on top and the verdes sauce (which was supposed to be spicy, said the girl taking my order). ok, so since i had the queso fundido that last time at el cortez, i saw that loteria had it also, so i thought, i'll give it a chance here, and i had them put both chorizo and mushrooms on it and again, a mix of tortillas. as i was finishing up my order, we saw an order of the shrimp tacos come out and they looked so delicious...so i ordered that too! haha poor serena...she was like...omg! its too much food! but we have to SAMPLE SAMPLE SAMPLE!!
here comes the food!!
my chilaquiles!!! oh man...i couldn't wait to dig into this! what is a chilaquile some of you might ask? well, according to loteria grill, its "the classic mexican breakfast cure-all. crisp tortilla strips sauteed in our home-made salsas, and served with black beans. garnished with queso fresco, crema mexicana, and chopped onion and cilantro."
one of my favorite things is that even though it has sauce its still typically crispy, but i was so sad when i started eating this. it was soggy, bland, and not spicy in any way...i was pretty disappointed. my favorite chilaquiles can be found in the san francisco farmer's market from a stand called primavera's. tasty, saucy, but still has that crunch! i will definitely have to get back up north to get a proper chilaquile! sorry loteria...this one doesn't cut it.
the one that caught our eye...tacos de camaron
these tacos were served with sliced avocado, crema mexicana and finely chopped onion and cilantro. it was so beautiful to look at all the fresh garnishes on top...but if you look closely you can see all the oil seeping out. so while we were eating this, the oil was dripping down our hands. both serena and i felt like it definitely needed more seasoning...again, just the basics would've been great. salt and pepper...that's all i ask for.
third up...queso fundido with chorizo on one side and mushroom on the other.
what does this queso fundido have going for it that the one at el cortez didn't? well, see the plate, nice and shallow? not a deep baking dish...so even if the cheese does harden a little...its not like cutting a one inch thick block of melted than hardened cheese! this was the most flavorful dish we had. the chorizo had just the right amount of sodium combined with the cheese (though it did harden, but was manageable). and the mushroom was actually really quite tasty also. and the best combination? eating the chorizo and the mushroom together in the tortilla! so hands down, this was the best dish of the day.
what? how can that be? we are missing one more dish...did you remember i said serena was forced to get the beef crispy tacos? well, it never came out so i went up to the counter to tell the girl that we were still waiting for our tacos. she then proceeded to tell me that we already took it, and i said no we didn't...we only got the other 3 dishes. and honestly, why would i lie? well, she didn't believe me, and proceeded to send someone else over to our table to check and see if we had it and were just trying to get extra food. for cryin' out loud...like we didn't have enough food already for two people. geez!! so then i guess the woman who came out to check said, oh..you guys didn't get it (this was all relayed to me after i got back to the table). the girl stopped the whole line of people waiting to order to look for the receipt, so i had run back and got the receipt to show her that i had paid for everything! (and let me tell you, it was NOT cheap!) so i told her, just give me my money back...and of course, she doesn't listen and tells the chef to make the order. and i'm like...DON'T MAKE THE ORDER PLEASE! its fine...just return my money and don't worry about it. things happen...and seriously, it doesn't really bother me that much. but i was annoyed that she thought i was lying about not getting the food. who the... anyhow...its over.
so...what did i think over all about the food there? it was ok. nothing amazing that would make me say i HAVE to come back and eat here again. their side salsas also lacked depth or flavor and tasted pretty "watered down". the only nicely flavored item...the queso fundido. i will give them points for presentation...i love the fresh onions and cilantro they used. but everything else fell flat on our palettes. such a shame...and for what it was, i think the food is totally overpriced and not worth it. so to give it a rating...2 out of 5.
oh boy...wait till i tell you about the ice cream!
there were two places to choose from, gill's and bennett's. serena wanted to get the soft serve from gill's because it had...
yup...she was sucked in by the sign proclaiming they had butterscotch dip! i must apologize to you all now, i did NOT get a picture of the dipped ice cream when she got it. the reason why i didn't get it was because i was so appalled at how miniscule the ice cream cone was and when i found out how much it cost...$4! FOUR BUCKS! ok...think of those mini cones you get at soup plantation...i swear...for $4, that's about how big it felt like. i will show you the cone after she ate all the butterscotch dip...because i finally woke up from my initial shock.
just imagine the most anorexic little swirl to finish off the top of this cone. i don't know who the woman was at the stand, but she totally saw the shock on my face when the guy handed that tiny cone not even big enough for an oompaloompa! i so wanted to say something, but i had no idea what she paid till we walked away. i wanted to go back and say something, but serena was so nice about it!! let me be clear on this...RIP OFF!! wow! to make it worse, it wasn't even that great! i didn't even want to ask for a bite! i felt so bad. anyhow...so how many stars do you think i'm going to give them?! anyone?! bueller?!
zero! that was beyond ridiculous! just looking at that miniature cone makes me upset that she was totally duped!
ok, now it's my turn...i got bennett's old fashioned ice cream.
no need to adjust the zoom, that is the actual size too. quite small...close to $4. i'll be quick about this ice cream. not smooth, kind of grainy, flavor was ok...just a mild milk chocolate. would i get it again? no.
so to sum up our lunch and dessert at the farmer's market in l.a. - over priced and not so good.
really, it just makes me sad when i can't say i found something awesome that i want you all to try! but i hope that i am helping you save some money so you don't spend it on mediocre food!
still searching for some authentic mexican food! shoot! i better just cook it myself!