Is It Any Good?

A Yucatan-style Panucheria in Highland Park. What’s a Panucheria? Read on.

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You walk in and you might thin you’re in a deli, but you’re not. Oh, you are so not.

It might have something to do with the Display Case you’ll see right as you walk in. At first I wondered if I’d gone to the right place. I’m in a part of Highland Park I’ve never been in before, looking for a restaurant I’ve never been to before.

Heh. Restaurant I’ve never been to before. In this line of work, we call that Thursday.

Still El Faisan Y El Venado has a reputation, and a good one at that.  (Sorry, no Website).

El Faisan Y El Venado serves the food of from the Mexican State of Yucatan. (See? Didn’t I tell you I needed to bone up on my Mexican States?). Yucatan food has it’s own style, but then again, so does each region of Mexico. Yucatan (at least according to Wikipedia) incorporates the influences from the local Mayan culture, as well as Caribbean, Spanish, North African, and Middle Eastern cultures, as well as influence from the cuisine of other parts of Mexico.

For me, the still uninitiated, Yucatan food has a bit more zest, a bit more zing to it. That could be my imagination, or because of the pickled onions I was served with my dish.

The Interior of El Faisan Y El Venado in HIghland Park.

Unfortunately, the place was empty when I came, and that’s a damn shame because this is a sensational restaurant. As Americans, we know so little about real, actual Mexican Food. Our view of Mexican Food has been unfortunately corrupted by the Taco Bell’s and Chiplote’s of the world. When in reality, what real Mexican’s eat day in and day out can mostly be found in places like El Faisan Y El Venado or Babitas.

I doubt El Faisan Y El Venado is in any kind of trouble, because it’s in a neighborhood that’s not going to take it for granted. It’s a restaurant that you should visit and should experience for yourself, because…heck, man. You live in a town that’s populated by Mexican-Americans. You should get to know their food and food ways, their culture and traditions. The more I delve into that realm, the happier I become.

 

WHAT SHOULD I GET?: I had the star attraction, the Panuchos.

Now, Panuchos, according to Wikipedia are:

A Panucho is a Mexican food specialty from the Yucatán made with a refried tortilla that is stuffed with refried black beans and topped with chopped cabbage, pulled chicken or turkey, tomato, pickled red onion, avocado, and pickled jalapeño pepper.

Panuchos are mostly sold in the evenings when parties of friends or family go out to eat. Panuchos are served at fast food restaurants called Panucherias which also serve Salbutes, Tostadas, Tortas, and Caldos. Panuchos are fried and topped to order and often served with soda drink.

So. Wait. Is El Faisan Y El Venado a Panucheria? Reckon so.  (If I’m wrong, please don’t hesitate to correct me.)

The Panuchos at El Faisan Y El Venado in HIghland Park.

The Panuchos here at El Faisan Y El Venado were topped with Cochinita Pibil Pork, and Pickled Onions.

Sen…sational. I squished mine, and folded into a taco (totally like a Gringo), but they were damn good. I still want these days later and intend to bring friends. The pickled Onions were the thing that put it over the top. Great, great stuff.

I followed Wikipedia’s implied advice and couple the Panuchos with a bottle of Mexican Coke (Sugar, no High Fructose Corn Syrup), and three Panuchos is plenty of food for a single lunch.

 

IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Don’t be surprised if, more often than not, the owner of the restaurant (I believe his name is Angel) will be the one serving you your food, which to me is a treat, because he is super friendly, and super enthusiastic about what he’s serving. Deservedly so.

 

PARKING: This is the only downside. There’s not much in the way of Parking, at least from the restaurant. Odds are, you’ll be parking on the street. Personally, I parked right on Avenue 50, and hiked up the half block to the restaurant. It was easy in the middle of the day, but at night, I haven’t tried yet. But even sitting here and typing this up, I’m thinking about it.

 

MAP DIRECTIONS:
El Faisan Y El Venado
231 N. Avenue 50
Los Angeles, CA 90042

Tel: (323) 257-1770

Hours:
Monday: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday-Friday: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm
Saturday-Sunday: 11:00 am – 8:00 pm