Is It Any Good?

Your standard Mexican-American fare in Pasadena.

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Mexican. It’s the toughest food to talk about in Los Angeles.

There are three types of Mexican food that you can get on the streets of Los Angeles. You can get Mexican-American, very cheesy, very close to Taco Bell, or Del Taco. You can get Tex-Mex, which is close to Mexican-American, but served with tastes and flavors closer to what you might see in Mexico herself, but still with the cheese, sour cream and what not, you’d get at the Bell.

And finally, there is what I wind up calling Mexican-Mexican. A cooking, cuisine that is familiar to the Mexican-American clientele, replicating dishes that you’d find in the various Mexican states and regions: Yucatan, Oaxacan. There are way more, but I’m still working on ’em.

I love Mexican-Mexican food.

Mijares Mexican is not Mexican-Mexican.

It’s more of a Tex-Mex place, of course. It’s off the beaten path from Old Town. You can’t walk down from Colorado. No, you have to drive. The thing that initially horrified me when I walked in was how much of a…well…old folks place it was. When I sat down to lunch, was surrounded by more grey hairs than usual.

Now, it’s not that I don’t like having lunch with various elderly Americans, but it’s been my experience that if a place is filled with those of the AARP set, that says something about the cuisine level at that the place. In my (still limited) experience, those of the Grey Hair set, prefer the familiar, the safe, the un-extraordinary.

So seeing a lot of Grey Hairs in one place…I’m sorry to say…says something…nothing definite, nothing firm, but it tells me to be aware.

There are restaurants that defy that rule. There are grey hairs that defy the rule (Y’all haven’t met my Cousin Esther, and her fondness for Black Tiger Shrimp and Daikon Radish). You don’t know, you just wait for the first bite, and until then be aware.

The atmosphere is something that’s not going to surprise you. Dark, brooding, yet comfortable. It’s a bit of a maze back there, slightly bigger than it looks. Waitstaff was friendly, and…well, reasonably responsive.

What can I say. I’m seeing up close and personal why Mijares Mexican has been around for decades, and why it’s not one of the Foodie Stations of the Cross. The Grey Hairs like the food, and keep coming back again and again. They’ve got a bar, with a bunch of TVs all showing the latest Futbol match. That’s always going to be popular. The Food’s just good enough to keep things going.


WHAT SHOULD I GET?: Once I saw the grey hairs, I figured that pushing the gastronomic boundaries…probably wasn’t the way to go here. I selected the Mijares Enchiladas Plate. The Mijares Enchiladas are filled with ground beef, topped with a vegetable Ranchera sauce, onions, bell pepper, tomatoes and sour cream. Pour on some Spanish Rice, and a side of refried beans (with melted cheese), and you have…

…well, lunch.

Two Mijares Enchiladas plate.

What did you think you were going to a place that could stand toe to toe with any of the places on this list? Not hardly. Will you feel ripped off or hosed afterward, like you just paid for a bad meal? Not hardly.

It is what it is.

I’m not 100% sure this is how it worked, but I think El Cholo’s Pasadena branch used to be based not too far away, and somehow El Cholo was the one who moved on, and Mijares survived. Go figure.


IMPORTANT SAFETY TIP, PEOPLE: Nothing really strange about this place that you need to know about going in. The main safety tip is all about the Parking, so read on.

Mijares in Pasadena.

PARKING: Mijares Mexican has it’s own lot, and the spaces are all free. The lot is usually pretty filled, but you’ll find a space…probably at the far, far end.

The main thing to remember pulling into this space, that the Lot is super narrow. Pulling in was a little tricky. Getting out was harder. I had to pull a multi-point turn to get out of my space. Even pulling out of lot was hard. South Pasadena Avenue feeds into the 210 Freeway, and there is a lot of traffic, and it’s a bit hard to see the oncoming traffic. Just be patient. Get out of there safely.


Mijares Mexican
145 Palmetto Dr.
Pasadena, CA 91105

Tel: (626) 792-2763

Sunday-Thursday: 11:00 am – 9:00 pm
Friday-Saturday: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm