A few months ago I had an amazing lunch with my food blogging gal pals at one of my favorite restaurants in Los Angeles- Loteria.
Owner and Executive Chef Jimmy Shaw opened Loteria Grill as a stand in the Original Farmers Market. It was nestled in the middle of a buzzing culinary labyrinth. Despite the distraction of numerous food stands around it, Loteria is a favorite among market visitors, myself among them.
In 2008 Loteria opened a second location on Hollywood Boulevard in a grand space. Lofty windows, floods of light – this was a full-fledged restaurant. The stand still remains, but if you want a sit down dining experience the restaurant offers the same menu and the same quality.
Loteria has a great classic margarita, but if you are more adventurous than we are the restaurant offers countless tequilas to choose from. We stuck with the classic in pitcher form. The more the merrier!
As a starter, Loteria always offers chips with chipotle salsa. This salsa is amazing. It will be hard to stop yourself from devouring the whole basket and leave room for tacos. The tomatoes in the salsa are almost creamy with a mild heat and smokiness.
To start we ordered the chihcarrone de queso, also known as a cheese hat. As Jimmy explained to me, this is a larger version of the crispy, salty bits of cheese that ooze out of a quesadilla and cook on the griddle – everyone’s favorite bite. The queso is crunchy and savory and it has the same appeal as tortilla chips. Bite after bite you can’t stop yourself.
The cochinita pibil taco is unlike any other: Bold zesty flavors cradled in a soft corn tortilla, dripping with sweet sauce.
Delicious tacos aside, one of the main reasons I love Loteria is the flan de cajeta. It is made with goat’s milk that adds a nutty depth to the flan. As a perfect flan should be, this flan is velvety with exuberant caramel flavor.
On this visit I discovered what could best be described as the most incredible union of desserts – cake layered with flan. This is a sweet and spongy vanilla cake that is layered with thick creamy flan and topped with a caramel frosting. It is miraculous. The pairing was glorious.
food je t'aimeMay 4, 2010
mm my favorite is the beef tongue taco from Loteria! and that cake layered with flan looks really good…I'm actually not a fan of flan on its own. So glad we finally found each other's blogs haha 🙂
Tangled NoodleMay 4, 2010
I want it all! The pibil looks delicious but that flan takes the cake. 8-D
CarolineMay 4, 2010
Love Loteria, the cheese hat & those tacos, so yum! Never tried their flan, looks awesome!
Kathy Diaz (foundbaking)May 4, 2010
Mmmm… I love cajeta! I actually just made some homemade cajeta not too long ago. My co-workers went to Loteria Grill a few weeks back (I missed it) and they said the food was so good!
e*starMay 4, 2010
Love Loteria! Great suggestion! 😉
EsiMay 4, 2010
Omg, this lunch was so long ago. Haha. Let's do it again soon. With plenty of margaritas of course 😉 Happy birthday!!
Anna A.May 4, 2010
How fun! I'm yearning for a margarita now and it's only 10AM. That cajeta flan looks out of this world.
DianaMay 4, 2010
OMG, flan in a cake? Genius! You are truly the insider source for all things dessert. 😉
kirstenMay 4, 2010
i love loteria, been going there for years! i've never seen this flan cake looks amazing!
MariaMay 4, 2010
Looks like an awesome place to dine! Happy Birthday:)
Olga @ MangoTomatoMay 8, 2010
ooh both the place and the food looks so colorful, bright and fresh! I'm hungry now 😉
That's RonMay 9, 2010
i need to get me one of them cheese hats!
Megan CarrollMay 10, 2010
Hope you enjoyed Vancouver…. I left an award for you on my blog!
Adrianna from A Cozy KitchenMay 11, 2010
Ooooo I love Loteria! I usually go to the one at The Grove. I've been meaning to make it to the one in Hollywood for some time now. Every time I go to The Grove I always get an agua fresca from them, it's the best!
johnny auerMay 12, 2010
wow, stacie. we'll be back out in a month and i think you just helped us decide on a must-have while there…
AronMay 22, 2010
We used to live right by there. It's so good! Mexican food is the one cuisine you just can't get as easily back here in New York.