I really wanted to be the lone dissenter about Flor Morena.
After all, despite all the charm of the Autobar, it had kind of run its course. It was the consummate dive bar, but unlike some of my other old haunts, the Autobars divey-ness was not really a good thing.
Flor Morena held out hope. The hope that despite all the posts here about how it was flakey and mediocre, there was at least a chance that I would hit paydirt and find the one dish that would make me go again and again.
The daily specials included vegetarian chili with corn bread. The chili came out in a very large bowl which was about 1/3 full. Temperature-wise it was warm, not hot. And spicy-wise it was cold. It was more like a hearty kidney bean soup than the chili I was expecting. It wasnt bad. It just wasnt anything special.
The cornbread on the other hand was very special. But like the divey-ness of the Autobar, this kind of special was not really a good thing. First of all, it was more like cake than bread. It was so crumbly that it was literally impossible to pick up without it falling apart all over the table. It looked good, with actual yellow corn kernels in there. But the consistency of the kernels was like Jujubes. They were sticky and chewy and sweet. So between the crumbliness of it and the candy-like corn kernels, it was quite special indeed. I ended up eating it with a spoon, but it still crumbled and fell all over.
After reading over a dozen reviews of Flor Morena both here and in places like Daily Candy, I knew that the owners were trying to make comfort food like youd get at moms or grandmas house. And come to think of it, if my grandma were making vegetarian chili, it might well taste like this. But if it was grandma, I would not really be critically comparing it to other chilis. Id be more interested in visiting with grandma, or mom or dad, or whomever I was visiting.
Which brings me to the next point. The sparse, minimalist lofty décor of Flor Morena kind of contradicts the stated objective of comfort food. Sure its trendy to have concrete floors and exposed ceilings. And for sure this is a huge improvement over the Autobar. But this is not the look that grandma would be going for. It doesnt evoke comfort the way Roscoes or M&M Soul Food, or even Aunt Kizzys does. Granted those are Southern comfort places, but I think the folks at Flor Morena could have a nice light space, like they do, but dress it up a little to take the edge off. And lose the stainless tables. They look nice, but theyre cold and most definitely not comfortable.
Despite all the above, I think I found something to go back for: the orange juice. Its deadly expensive, at $3 a glass, but it tastes fresh-squeezed and I enjoyed it immensely.
2742 Rowena at Glendale Blvd.