Wednesday, January 20, 2010

#24 Loteria

#30 Hollywood Walk of Fame
#29 Yamashiro
#28 Hollywood Billiards
#27 Genghis Cohen
#26 Piano Bar
#25 Shmutzville

# 24 Loteria

Los Angeles is a city that is desired by many people for many different reasons. Most would argue the sun is the biggest draw, while I would argue the natural landscape is the greatest draw. There are so many fucking draws to this place that every morning I wonder why anyone lives anywhere else. I don't mean that in a condescending way, I mean to read between the sun, mountains, beach, women, music, food, proximity to other places, opportunities, people, shopping, drinking, and everything else, why are you not here already??? It's awesome here.

But of all the draws, one of the more underrated draws, a draw which I never realized I cared about until I would venture home for more than three days, is the Mexican food. I know that sounds retarded, not just because Mexican food is the cheap, overweight sibling in the global cuisine family, but also because Mexican food is not something that should be factor in where one chooses to spend their twenties. Before moving here, my Mexican food experiences were limited to Taco Bell and being dragged to bullshit chain Mexican places by an ex-girlfriend who was more in love with frozen enchiladas than she was with me. (In her defense, what girl can resist a "celebration of food?") Since moving out here, my Mexican food world has changed more than anything other than the way I rate women (in case you were wondering, the correct equation is to take an LA rating, multiply it by 1.1 and add 1, to get her Cleveland rating. So an LA 7 is a Cleveland 8.7, get it?). Taco shops on every corner, trucks parading through the city churning out tacos as if they were popsicles, Oaxacan places, Baja-style…essentially my world has been flip-turned upside down. There are so many different styles of Mexican cuisine that, though I never considered a part of my life before, it has become integral to my daily life here.

But from the proximitity to Mexico, the plethora of Mexicanos living here, and hence the authenticity of the Mexican cuisine derives a problem: Why is "authentic" better than Americanized. My answer to this is: it's not. American style Chinese food BLOWS away authentic Chinese cuisine. Authentic thai is often street cuisine eaten off sticks, which may be good, but cannot compare to my spicy thai noodles. Authentic Mexican however, is a fucking bullshit term because it changes every day. Which brings me to Loteria.

I don't know whether the newish, lightweight 'spensive Mexican place on a touristy stretch of Hollywood is authentic or not, but I do know this: Enchiladas probably don't cost 15 bucks too many places in Mexico. But to that I say, who cares. Loteria has the biggest tequila selection I've ever seen, most of which cost way too much for me to try. They have an incredibly diverse and original menu that has introduced me to many items I have never had before. They also are one of the few places on Hollywood to attract neighborhood people and actually has become a destination on the block. It is not necessarily "American-style" Mexican food; it is more "LA style" Mexican food. Small portions, large prices, original creations, and a clientele that resembles La Cienega and Beverly a lot more than Oaxaca or Ensenada.

And that is what I will miss. My new neighborhood is sure to be chock-full of the best tacos, nopolitos, y tortas in the ciudad. I have no doubt that I will never be lacking in Comida Mexicana in any way, shape, or form. My new neighborhood has throngs of Chicanos y Mexicanos Veros walking up and down almost every street. These are the people that have helped create such a rich culture downtown. But every time I bite into a $1.25 carne taco, or chile relleno, I will miss my 16 dollar enchiladas rojas with a side of cactus salad. I will miss sitting in the sterile, white LA dining room eating high-end cuisine that can paradoxically not be high-end and loving every bite. I will miss the gigantic Loteria cards hanging over the bar, and the tourists walking by and looking in wondering what it is we've found. God I'll miss Hollywood.

1 comment:

steven said...

i don't even like mexican food but I like Loteria