I don’t tend to think of the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica as a hotbed of great Mexican food, but on my first day off in recent memory, I was drawn back to Lotería Grill. I couldn’t resist the Three Little Pigs tacos – perfectly cooked carnitas with bacon, topped with chicharrón, served on rich, heavy tortillas… and a dash of their signature Morita salsa for good measure.
I always ask what the daily agua fresca is, and was delighted to learn it was guava and mango.
I’m really looking forward to this event on Friday – at Union Station, of all places! A long list of great Mexican restaurants and Latino-owned wineries will be there, and I’ll have the opportunity to try all their wonderful specialties.
The photos are a selection of Moles from La Huasteca, and quesadillas from Lotería Grill. Both restaurants will be represented on Friday. Here are their websites:
I was disappointed some time ago when the Gaucho Grill closed on the Santa Monica Promenade, but I instantly forgave them when it was replaced by Lotería Grill. I used to go to their original location when I lived near the Farmers Market on Third Street, but this is a much more inviting restaurant, and the food is every bit a good as it always was.
A long-time favorite has been the carnitas burrito with salsa morita, but this was the first time I had the entire “platillo.” Morita chiles are smoked, red-ripe jalapeño peppers, like chipotle peppers, except they are smoked for a shorter time. Interestingly, Lotería’s salsa packs more of a punch than I would have expected from a jalapeño. The rich, almost fruity flavor goes beautifully with the perfectly cooked pork, and the sides of rice and black beans provide a nice balance.
It wouldn’t have occurred to me to order quesadillas at such a serious restaurant, but that’s what my friend Greta wanted. And it was a wonderful idea. Soft warm and rich, wrapped in thick, hand-made tortillas, they were the perfect comfort food. A zesty guacamole and a spicy green salsa moved them into heavenly territory.