First, to you LA Hounds, let me say a big Muchos Gracias, Cám ón, Thanks Pard, Domo arigato, Vielen Dank, Danyavad, and Sha ja non for the great places you directed me to in OC.
Stopped at Guelaguetza for a late lunch on the way down two weeks ago Wed. Ordered way too much food since it all looked so good: Coloradito con Puerco w/ red mole and rice, Chile Relleno Picodillo w/ chicken & red sauce, Tamal Oaxaqueno con Pollo w/ black mole in banana leaf, Mamela soba con Asiento, frijoles & queso, Tamal del Dulce w/ raisins, and a flan. Both moles were the best either of us have ever tasted, Im partial to the red, but the black had a depth of flavor that seems to be lacking in the others Ive tried so far. The Colorado and relleno were nothing short of excellent, and the mamela divine. Neither of us was very fond of the dessert Tamal, weve found them to be a little on the dry side for our tastes the few times weve been able to find them, but the flan was stellar, and a generous portion to boot. This will be a regular stop on future trips to the southland, easy access from the 170 then down Normandie to the 10 on the way out. Oh BTW, I usually dont drink soda but the Mexican coke hit the spot. Total pre t/t was about $35 but we took enough for another meal with us.
Guelaguetza (a little bit of Oaxaca in SoCal)
3337 1/2 W 8th St. Los Angeles
A big thanks also to Carb Lover over on Monterey Bay for turning me on to elmomonsters blog where I discovered The Boiling Crab (iirc, he posted just the day before we left). We had returned from New Orleans just a few weeks before and the only regret (other than not having a couple of more weeks to mangia my way through the area) was the mudbug situation, several places were serving crawfish but they were small, and for the most part pretty tasteless. Heard this was due to a combination of Rita washing out the salt water and cold temps slowing down their comeback. BC was just a short trip from the Anaheim Marriot and since wed been on the road half the day, I suggested I get us a take-out order (having been forewarned of the 1 Hr + waits).
In a nutshell, Cajun cuisine served up by a bunch of young, energetic, and highly personable college-age Vietnamese individuals. Upon entering you are immediately consumed by this energy of a packed room having the best times of their lives. Ive linked elmomonsters post below that describes the décor and vibes in more detail and would like to add after reading those for you hounds to seriously reconsider any recos for the offshoots/wannabes that have sprung up.
The crawfish were exquisite, plump and tasty. IIRC, I ordered one pound of them mild, at first with just Cajun spices but upon closer look at the menu quickly switched to the whole she-bang. Concerned that Lady PB might not be able to tolerate even the mild level (thanks to warnings from the local hounds), I ordered a Dungeness crab and asked if they would crack it for her. She had also really wanted a salad but produce is not on the marquee here, brought home the gumbo but we pigged out on the crustaceans and never even got around to trying it (I know, very un-chowhoundly). Had a wonderful conversation with the young lady that took the order while waiting, she wanted to know how I heard about the place and if I had any trouble finding them (many do apparently). The chef (slightly older than the waitstaff) came out to make sure he put together my crab order correctly (we would be dining in the hotel room). In less than 20 min. I was on my way with a ton of paper towels, large square of butcher paper, and a bottle of wine from the market down the street. Another place I would return to in a heartbeat, the mudbugs were spicy, but not to the point that my wife couldnt enjoy them, the crab delicious, just what we were looking for after a day on the road.
14241 Euclid St # C116 (SW corner a block S of Westminster and on the right side after making a left into the center)