Loteria Grill, Los Angeles
Tucked into the center of The Los Angeles Farmer’s Market* is an LA institution that I had never tried until my most recent visit to Southern California. While we were there picking up my favorite hard to find tea at the local tea vendor, my good friend Tina and I sidled up to the bright and festive bar at Loteria Grill and ordered a few tacos, tortillas & salsa, and aguas frescas, fruit drinks as bright and fun as the place itself. We tried the Chicharron en Salsa Verde (Pork Rinds in a Spicy Tomatillo Sauce Served With Finely Chopped Onion and Cilantro and Queso Fresco), the Pollo en Pipian Rojo (Chicken in a Spicy Pumpkin-Seed and Peanut Sauce Served with Finely Chopped Onion), and the Papa con Rajas (Potatoes with Roasted Poblano Peppers Served with Finely Chopped Onion and Cilantro, Queso Fresco, and Salsa Verde). They were all delicious, though the pork rinds were a little too fatty for my taste and the spice level was almost but not quite beyond my threshold. Thank god for the aguas frescas: They are a must if you dine here, especially if you’re a spice wimp like me.
*Note on the LA Farmer’s Market: It’s not a farmer’s market like you think. It’s a building and interior maze of food stalls and shops, and is connected to the Grove. It’s a great resource, but if you’re looking for a true farmer’s market, hit up the Hollywood Farmer’s Market or the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market.