Clayuda – El Paladar Oaxaqueño food truck – West Los Angeles


The timing was right when I passed the food truck that parks around the corner in the evenings, so I ordered a Clayuda to go. The truck is called El Paladar Oaxaqueño, and Clayudas (as they are spelled here in Los Angeles) are a distinctly Oaxacan dish… even though the spelling in Oaxaca is Tlayuda.

I’m certain I had a Tlayuda in the main square in Oaxaca several years ago, but my memory isn’t clear enough to make a proper comparison. I do remember it featured fresh guacamole and the Oaxacan string cheese, quesillo. This one had very earthy flavors, including black beans and cooked cabbage and tomato. I went with barbacoa as my meat choice, and that added another delicious earthy layer. Folded into a giant flour tortilla, it was so large that I didn’t even try to finish it – even in the privacy of home.

The real reason I didn’t finish it may be that I misjudged the power of the hot sauce that came with it. It was a cumulative effect, and by the end, I was balanced on that fine line between pleasure and pain.

Casa Oaxaca – Culver City – Barbacoa de Chivo



There’s a serious new Mexican restaurant on the westside – Casa Oaxaca, the wonderful Santa Ana restaurant, has just opened a new location on Venice Boulevard in Culver City. It’s so new that the Grand Opening is later this week – on Friday, August 9.

I met Rogelio and his crew, and tasted their delicious food at the recent East LA Meets Napa fundraiser event, so I’ve been looking forward to this new opening ever since.

The menu is unusually interesting, filled with specialties from the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. The number of fish and shrimp dishes reflects the long coastline of Oaxaca, and of course, some of the most famous moles are represented. I felt I should choose one of those, but I was just in the mood for barbacoa de chivo, and ordered that. It’s a favorite dish I’ve had in many places, and it usually tastes pretty much the same… delicious but the same. Rogelio’s version, to my surprise, was different, with a rich red broth, boldly spiced, but it’s the spicing that sets it apart from the others. Beautifully presented with black beans, a pyramid of rice, lime wedges and chopped onion and cilantro, I couldn’t have been happier. Even the hand-made tortillas were different, lighter and flakier than usual, reminding me of another Oaxaca specialty, tlayudas (which are also on the menu).

I’m really happy to have such a serious restaurant on the westside, and I know I’ll be stopping by regularly.

Here’s the address: 9609 Venice Boulevard, Culver City, CA 90232

Here’s the website: