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Piggin' out at La Playita: Round II -- Buche Taco (and chicharron query)

Liz | May 12, 200412:37 AM

But first, who remembers the episode of "The Simpsons" wherein Lisa becomes a vegetarian?

Homer: Are you saying you're never going to eat any animal again? What about bacon?

Lisa: No.

Homer: Ham?

Lisa: No!

Homer: Pork chops?

Lisa: Dad, those all come from the same animal!

Homer: Heh heh heh... Ooh... Yeah... Riiiight, Lisa. A wonderful, "magical" animal.


Anyway, as part of my Homeric odyssey to nibble all available parts of the magical pig animal, in taco form, at La Playita, tonight I tried the buche taco. Hog maws taco, in other words. Or, put another way, pig stomach taco (either $1.25 or $1.50; I've forgotten).

As backup, I ordered a carnitas torta, which comes dolled-up with guacamole, lettuce, tomatoes, and sour cream (I held off on the sour cream tonight to savor the pig's magic au jus).

Walking home from the place, my curiousity overtook me, and I busted out the buche taco from my to-go sack to eat while I walked home. Whew! Weird experience. I liked the flavor of the thing, but my learned squeamishness about such things kept getting in the way. I gave myself a good talking-to, but finally had to give up and abandon the taco. I'll try it again once my freaked-out mind settles down. Silly, I know!

But on to the carnitas! Following on the heels of the stomach taco, I decided to cleanse my palate and clear my head with a few bites of the sandwich while still walking home. Whoa! Loved it. I parked myself under a magnolia tree and enjoyed half of the sandwich before I could tear myself away. The carnitas were juicy; the avocado and lettuce and tomato added a nice coolness to the sandwich; and the bread was nice and soft, and did not fall apart under duress. Great value at $2.50.

Oops. Just realized, too, that the counter guy forgot to ring me up! Guess I'll just drop a fiver in the tip jar there tomorrow.

Oh, a question on chicharron. I tried a chicharron (pig skin) taco last week at La Playita, and loved the flavor, but found it to be very chunky and chewy. Is that just the way it is, or did I end up with an exceptionally thick-skinned pig? Anywhere on the Westside I should visit for a compare-and-contrast with La Playita?

La Playita (sign says "Mariscos Guillen")
3303 Lincoln Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA (near Rose Ave.)

P.S. Still no oysters on their menu, though I *did* see another window-sized display menu, resting on its side in a side window, featuring raw oysters in the shell ($3.50 for a half dozen!). I'll ask the counter guy what's up next time I go by.

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