Tuesday, June 17, 2014

la casita mexicana aka: the best mexican meal i've ever had

A couple of months ago while watching Hulu I caught a Chase commercial that was part of a series of commercials where they feature famous chefs out of their element, exploring different cuisines that will inspire their menus. They've done one with the famous chef Nobu and Sue Zemanick and this one in particular made me double take because it featured two chefs they said run La Casita Mexicana in Bell, CA. BELL, CA; also known as the city where I went to high school and a city where there's nothing particularly interesting that would lure anyone to visit it.
Well… you know I'm up for culinary adventure so for Father's Day, in an attempt to find a place halfway between Long Beach and Burbank I remembered the place and so, we went.
How special could it be right? I mean, all Mexican food is basically the same right? WRONG. This is not your typical Mexican food. They don't even offer burritos or tacos. This is artisan magic. The menu is unlike anything Mexican you've sat down and read and the chefs, who are from Jalisco: the state where my dad is from, make the menu very specifically with no wiggle room for substitution. The dishes are traditional Mexican fare but with a twist. I stuck with something traditional this time, enchiladas, and they served them with the most perfectly cooked yukon gold potatoes on a bed of this magical tomato sauce. The enchiladas were perfect, they stayed that perfectly plump the whole meal, never got soggy and they were light and flavorful, none of that crap we get at other joints.
Unfortunately the vegan options were very limited and Matt got a chile relleno with cactus and mushroom, items he doesn't usually eat but he did this time, as well as some rice and beans on the side.
I did some further googling on the place and found that they make crazy good chilaquiles which I dunno if you know this about me, but it's pretty much my favorite breakfast and such a rare treat that if it's on a menu, I'm ordering it. We were there for dinner so that wasn't an option this time but you bet your bippy I'm going back and dragging one of you with me. I know it may sound like I'm exaggerating or it's the pregnancy talking but believe me: it will blow you away.
It also made me extra proud of my roots and after dinner I dragged them to a coffee shop chain that's run by Latinos called "Tierra Mia Coffee" which offers their own roasted coffee grown in Latin American countries and they have specialty drinks like 'horchata latte' and 'mexican chocolate mocha'. I learned that my dad is very Mexican in his coffee choices where he wants his coffee sweetened whereas I've now come of age in the hipster area and if a coffee is good enough, I need no sweetener.
A lovely culinary day in honor of my men and I'm looking forward to returning to these fine Latino establishments with my little half Latina soon.

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