Lotería Grill – Los Tres Cochinitos Tacos

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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.

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I always ask what the daily agua fresca is, and was delighted to learn it was guava and mango.

A tasty light meal well worth the trip.

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East LA Meets Napa – July 19

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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:

http://lahuasteca.com/

http://loteriagrill.com/

Here’s the website for the event, with the list of restaurants and wineries, with a description of Alta Med, the beneficiary of the fund-raising:

http://www.altamed.org/eastlameetsnapa

Lotería Grill – Santa Monica – Carnitas en Salsa Morita

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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.

Here’s the website: http://loteriagrill.com/about-us

Lotería Grill – Santa Monica – Quesadillas

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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.