Mexican in the Farmer’s Market.
I have been on a mad, mad Taco quest for the last couple of weeks?
The why is pretty simple, when you’re on a Job Search, and you’re conscious about your food blogging dollar, Tacos plates, no matter where you buy ‘em, are always good bang for your buck.
So, I’ve been bopping around town, trying ‘em all. I read about a place that’s highly regarded, I go check it out. I see a place and I’ve passed a million times in the past, and head back to check it out.
Loteria Grill is a place I’ve passed a million times in the past. It’s deep in the heart of the Farmer’s Market, just a stones throw away from the French Crepe Company. I got to tell you, it’s always crowded. It’s always busy. And even when I’ve been on a quest to go to Singapore Banana Leaf, or out to get my Gumbo on at the Gumbo Pot, I’d always pass by, and wonder.
So now, I’ve hopefully got you wondering. How are the Tacos?
I’ve been chasing the high I’ve gotten from La Estrella, so I’m getting picky. I’m also starting to learn my Pork options, and I’ve learned what I like and what I don’t.
What I like…what I love…are Al Pastor tacos. Al Pastor Meat is cut from a Shawarma spit (something I’m pretty used to living where I live). Of course, it’s Pork, so it’s not a meat you’ll find at a lot of actual Shawarma place. It comes to the taco in hunks and chunks. Always tasty, always savory. It’s Pork that I wouldn’t need a Taco to want to eat. It’s that good.
Cochinita Pibil is slow-roasted pork, the Yucatán Peninsula is it’s origin point. I’ve had it numerous times. It’s fine, but for me, depending on who’s making it, it can wind up either as a bit of a stew (where you’re eating as much soup as Pork), or too dry that can suck all the moisture out of your mouth. It’s not bad, but if I had a choice between Cochinita Pibil and Al Pastor, it’s an easy friggin’ choice.
Guess what I had to have at Loteria Grill?
Since we’re in the Farmer’s Market, this is a step-up-to-the-counter-and-order kind of a place. What inevitably happens is that after you order, you kinda cluster around the cash register waiting for your food to arrive, which makes things difficult for the people waiting behind you. In my case, I was rolling solo, and I didn’t want to grab a table before I had my grub.
It finally came, and I got lucky, and got a table right next to the restaurant and…well…the Tacos were fine. I actually liked them a touch bit more than Mexicali Taco Company, which I had had the day before, but the Al Pastor high still eluded me.
Look, Loteria Grill is a very popular place (with many locations around the L.A. area, it turns out), and nothing I say here is going to change anyone’s mine. If you’re at the Farmer’s Market, and want Tacos, this is about your only option. But if you’re chasing that high (a high that you can only define for yourself), trust me…you’re still looking.
WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Well, like I said, I got the three Cochinita Pibil taco, and was not overly impressed. They were at least came a bit more dressed than what I had over at Mexicali Taco Company. They even came with lovely pickled onions, that gave it extra flavor and crunch. To me, they were good, but a bit plain. The squirt of lime helped add some zest to the proceedings, but overall…only okay. Good, but okay. Would have it again? Depends.
I’m just not as much of a fan of Cochinita Pibil as I am of Al Pastor (as I’ve already said.). And this is a me thing, not something Loteria’s done at all. It’s the only Pork Taco they’ve got on the menu, so…
IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: I’d try to come with more than yourself. One person can order, and the rest can grab one of the tables in the Farmer’s Market. Would have made things a lot easier on me.
PARKING: Fairly easily, yet…like everything else in Los Angeles at the same time, still complicated.
First off, the Farmer’s Market has it’s own lot, that seems to be perpetually full. That’s okay, because you can always find a spot at the Grove’s massive, and massively well-organized structure. Still, this comes with a note of caution.
Despite the fact that the Farmer’s Market is hugged up right against the Grove, you must remember that the two are separate and (in a way) competing facilities. They maintain separate parking access, and they do not validate for each other. If you parking at the Farmer’s Market, they will not Validate at the Barnes and Noble’s across the way. If you park in the Grove’s structure, they will not validate your drink at Whisper’s at the Gumbo Pot.
6333 W. 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90036
Tel: (323) 930-2211
Sunday-Thursday: 9:00 am – 11:00 pm
Friday-Saturday: 9:00 am – 12:00 am