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Dinner at Vallarta

Das Ubergeek | | Oct 10, 2006 05:05 AM

You know, I'm a huge fan of ethnic food, ethnic markets -- a child of the 80's and all its "WE MUST STAMP OUT PREJUDICE" multicultural awareness campaigns.

But I'm also a total food snob. Grocery stores, for example, almost always have really terrible prepared food, and they're always just a little bit older than I want them to be.

I was in my local market this evening (that'd be the Vallarta on Victory and Ethel in... uh... well, we CALL it Valley Glen, but I think it's east of the wash so it would be North Hollywood), shopping for various things.

The intoxicating smell of carnitas called to me, and I headed over to the hot foods counter. A pound of carnitas with two large cups of salsa, two dozen fresh corn tortillas made to order (or near enough -- they were actively making tortillas and grabbed two dozen off the just-made pile for me), a bucket of rice, a bucket of beans, limes, carrots and jalapenos in escabeche cost me $10.

Then I decided it was time for dessert, and was planning on heading up to Bhan Kanom Thai for black rice with coconut, when I saw someone -- at 9 PM, mind you -- putting out fresh slices of tres leches cake.

"What the hell," I thought, "so I'll waste a few dollars if it's terrible."

It was fantastic. Light, springy, spongey, floating in a pool of one of the leches, covered with another of the leches, filled with the third leche, with fresh (!) strawberries on top.

And the best part? A ridiculously huge slice -- 6 oz. by weight, easily enough for two -- was $1.50, tax included.

Oh, and they have agua de mamey on the aguas frescas bar, along with banana, strawberry, watermelon, jamaica and horchata.