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Los Angeles Area Pork

Hunks o pork on the westside (g), Tried El Abajeno

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Restaurants & Bars

Hunks o pork on the westside (g), Tried El Abajeno

john gonzales | Feb 26, 2003 01:30 PM

After reading someone's recco below my wife and I set out on the ever-lasting quest for carnitas. Yes we concentrate on the westside, because we live here and most often driving past La Cienaga is not worth the effort. I know there are tons of outlets an hour away (friday dinner) in East L.A.
El Abajeno (the low-lander, on Inglewood near Culver in C.C.) was good, not great. The room is basic mexican jointesque. One orders, pays, and gets ones food at a counter. We shared a combo plate ($8.95) of a relleno, chile verde, and chile colorado with rice and beans. We also got a pound of carnitas ($6.60), an order of 4 tortillas (pre-made .75C) and a 4 oz. guacamole ($2.50?). The guac. was the really runny not chunky variety, short on avocado. Edible but not good. The relleno was totally average. Too much puffy coating for either of us. The chile verde was decent. Nice chunks of pork, trimmed well. The flavor was just a little lacking, with not much sauce. A good dose of chopped jalepenos with the salsa verde from the salsa bar helped. The colorado was very good. The sauce was downright tasty. The one drawback was that the portion of meat was a bit less and a bit less trimmed. However, as a whole,the plate was huge. The carnitas by the pound, which I love as an option (esp. to go); was indeed a really healthy serving. More than even a glut like I could eat. Very nice, lean chunks of pork. Like the verde I thought it was just a bit short on flavor. Basic salt and pepper helped a lot, and I went through a ton of salsa. My other preference is more crispy/fried. These were long on roast short on real crispy exterior. The next morning we salted, peppered, and pan fried the left-over chunks and they were great.
I think this is a decent place, with hits and misses, and healthy portions. Carnitas by the pound is a nice option. The nachos with meat (around $5.75) looked good and were really big too.
I know I am in the minority, and that this is chow-sacrelege; but I actually like the carnitas at Acapulco. The portion is only adequate, but they are flavorful, not too fatty, and just right on the crispy scale. The other huge plus is the tasty salsa quemada the serve with it.

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