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Brunch at Loteria - report

Elizabeth | Sep 26, 200507:50 PM

Just in case anyone was wondering - Loteria at the Farmer's Market still reigns supreme as the best Mexican food I've found in LA. After my boss treated me to some overpriced, overfussed Mexican at Frida in Beverly Hills last week, the boyfriend and I wanted to get our hands dirty and spend some quality time at Loteria. So it was that we came to be seated at the side bar, watching the Loteria ladies press and fry up fresh corn tortillas. We started with huevos con chorizo and huevos rancheros, both served with 3 warm small corn tortillas and Loteria's omnipresent black beans and poblano mashed potatoes, redolant of butter and strips of soft poblano. The chorizo was spicy but not overly so, scrambled right in with the eggs. This is a heavy, oily dish; not for the light breakfast eater, but very satisfying. The huevos rancheros at Loteria are different from what you've come to expect; a medium-sized corn tortilla neatly topped with two perfectly fried eggs and a light covering of ranchero sauce - no mounds of cheese or guacamole or salsa. They can also be ordered con moritas sauce - and while the moritas sauce is delicious, it is so incredibly hot, so powerfully spicy, that one cannot taste anything else. Too much of a good thing. Instead, a side of pico de gallo helps amp up the flavor of the ranchero sauce without overwhelming it.

Sitting at the bar offers an unparalled view of the multitude of toppings and fillings for tacos, enchiladas, etc. I dare you to sit in front of a vat of cochinita pibil (shredded pork roasted in banana leaves, topped with pickled red onions), and not order just one taco. For safe measure, we also ordered an albondigas (little meatball) taco.

I'm not sure if it would all have tasted as good washed down with Starbuck's, and I never will, because Loteria offers the most delicious coffee in the world, heady with cinnamon and sugar and maybe a little chicory. Go early if you want to try it, though - when it's gone, it's gone.

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