Best mexican food long beach

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One of many household actions that has helped go the times in the course of the compelled quarantining of the pandemic has been taking subject journeys with my daughter, each couple of weeks, to the Me Gusta Connoisseur Tamales manufacturing facility within the north San Fernando Valley. (Situated at 13754 Van Nuys Blvd., Pacoima, 818-896-8789, takeoutfood.finest, for many who is perhaps curious.)

We go there as a result of my daughter lives for tamales, perhaps her favourite meals on the planet other than Carmela Chocolate Sorbet. We frequently purchase a bagful of tamales, at all times rooster, and at all times pineapple. They freeze very properly. And together with the quesadillas we make at residence, my tremendous rooster mole, and my tasty guacamole, they provide us a style of the Mexican cooking we crave as Southern Californians. Greater than hamburgers and scorching canine, that is the delicacies of our a part of the world. And really reassuring and soul-satisfying it’s too.

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Like lots of the finest Mexican meals experiences, tamales are straightforward, informal, simply plain tasty they usually don’t demand a substantial amount of formal consideration. They create again so many reminiscences: There have been the elote corn desserts, for example, which girls promote from baskets they keep it up high of their heads in cities manner down south on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. There have been the rapidly grilled steaks which I’d eat within the market simply off the Plaza de Garibaldi — mariachi sq. — in Mexico Metropolis, which include rapidly braised inexperienced onions known as cebollitas. There was a crimson snapper, pulled recent from the Sea of Cortez, rushed to a pan, after which to my desk, on a small peninsula known as Isla de las Piedras, simply off Mazatlán. After which there have been the grasshoppers — chapulines — I grew to become so keen on munching on as I’d stroll across the Mercado de los Indios in Oaxaca.

I’d be lower than trustworthy to not admit that the grasshoppers I’d munch on down in Oaxaca had been actually superb. They had been offered from giant baskets by girls who’d hunker down close to entranceways to the market. Folks would purchase a small paper package deal of grasshoppers to eat as a snack as they shopped, or to take residence as a deal with for the youngsters. The grasshoppers had been comparatively small, not a lot bigger than M&Ms, and sprinkled with salt, chili powder and a little bit of lime juice.

I keep in mind feeling very courageous and adventurous after I purchased my first package deal of grasshoppers. I additionally keep in mind taking a tentative nibble on a leg and discovering it edible, earlier than shifting on to extra vital elements of the insect. They jogged my memory of croutons of their style and texture, and though they haven’t change into a mainstay of my eating regimen, for me consuming grasshoppers is a socially acceptable observe.

Grasshoppers are discovered within the Mexican eating places of Los Angeles, however not in a lot of them. A lot of our native eating places do carry dishes that break free from the litany of tacos, enchiladas and burritos. Not that there’s something fallacious with tacos, enchiladas and burritos. Or tamales both. That is consolation meals at its most interesting.

And, as with Me Gusta, the meals travels very nicely. Whereas there may be some getting out and about today, we could also be largely caught at residence a bit longer. Use some salsa to offer your life the spice it desperately wants. A face filled with scorching peppers does wonders to distract you from bingeing on the information. An excessive amount of CNN will be poisonous. An excessive amount of salsa — not a lot. And it’s good for you too!

Amor y Tacos

13333 South St., Cerritos; 562-860-2667, takeoutfood.finest

Amor y Tacos is the creation of Thomas Ortega, who set a brand new normal for Mexican cooking at Ortega 120 in Redondo Seaside. (The “120” refers back to the variety of tequilas initially available — although by now, it could be greater than that.)

There’s a lot to chew on at Amor y Tacos. Just like the Mole Tots — significantly, tater tots slathered with the home 21-ingredient mole, together with Mexican queso panela (aka “basket cheese”). It’s ridiculously good, a foolish dish that you just’ll inhale — together with pile of Nachos Libre — nachos made with floor Kobe beef and queso Oaxaca.

And the way concerning the Doritos Chilaquiles — actual Doritos chips topped with a sunnyside-up egg and queso fresco. Consuming right here is an training in Mexican cheeses — and so many flavors. There’s a scorching canine that’s a variation on the Dodger Canine served at Dodger Stadium, topped with brief rib chile colorado and crispy chicharrones, served on a brioche bun. There are 9 tacos on the menu, 5 of that are on the Tour de Taco, which incorporates the brief rib taco, a grasp stroke of life in Tacolandia. There are also 14 massive plates, one among which is Peking duck filtered by a Mexican kitchen, with Korean kimchee added on for good measure.

After which, there’s the Mexican Coca Cola Glazed Pork Stomach, which I anticipate to be probably the greatest dishes I eat all 12 months. For the heck of it, there are sugary churros with salted caramel for dessert. If there’s a sport on, you’ll be able to carry on consuming and consuming. Parking within the mall lot is straightforward and free. Right here, it’s all about amor y tacos.

Charo Rooster

4752 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Lengthy Seaside; 562-498-5600, takeoutfood.finest

It was again within the early Eighties that Sinaloa-based Mexican restaurateur Juan Francisco Ochoa opened the primary department of his wildly widespread south of the border grilled rooster chain, known as El Pollo Loco, on Alvarado Road close to MacArthur Park in Los Angeles — and gave delivery to an explosion of Mexican rooster retailers all through Southern California. Locations with names like El Pollo Mundial, El Pollo Bionico, El Pollo Unico — and in Lengthy Seaside, Charo Rooster, which has been grilling its chickens for 3 many years now, just about because the starting.

What Charo gives is an admirable variation on the Mexican rooster theme, with a lot of different dishes for many who need one thing greater than sundry rooster elements with sides and salsas. For these in want of excellent meals served quick, this can be a idea that’s arduous to beat. You’ll be able to see the rooster grilling over a fireplace behind the counter, flavored, as you would like with a lemon and garlic sauce, or a lemon and garlic and cayenne sauce. Although the cayenne isn’t actually mandatory, since there’s a salsa bar proper subsequent to the counter, the place you’ll be able to assist your self to all of the little plastic cups you need, full of pico de gallo, salsa Charo, hearth roasted garlic, slices jalapeños, salsa verde and extra.

Whilst you wait to your rooster to come back, the salsas are distraction, providing choices from gentle to noticeably scorching. You are able to do it your manner. You can too do it your manner relating to the perimeters — actually tasty pinto beans and black beans, garlic mashed potatoes, a really chunky coleslaw flavored with raisins, potato salad, Spanish rice, guacamole, corn on the cob or a easy salad.

However what units Charo Rooster aside, other than the goodness of its rooster, which properly falls off the bone, and has a tasty charred edge to it, are the opposite dishes. Of which there are loads. This isn’t a one-trick pony — or a one-trick rooster, to maintain my metaphors constant.

Different forms of protein seem together with the rooster for the opposite choices — steak and shrimp. However the rooster is a continuing — within the fajita bowl, the rooster bowl (common and spicy), the sundry burritos (together with one made to style like a Caesar salad in a tortilla, which is completely logical, when you think about the Caesar salad was born in Tijuana), the tacos, the quesadillas, the salads, the nachos and the sandwiches.

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Cheko El Rey del Sarandeado

343 E. Market St., Lengthy Seaside; 562-422-4888

Sergio Penuelas often is the most well-known chef in Los Angeles that you just’ve most likely by no means heard of. You probably have heard of him, you then’re clearly a full-fledged dyed-in-the-wool foodie, with a particular love for Mexican seafood. For Sergio Penuelas is the chef accountable for the dazzling fish served at first Mariscos Chente, after which Coni’Seafood, each roughly in Inglewood — and for the exhaustively named Cheko El Rey del Sarandeado on Market Road in northern Lengthy Seaside.

There are sundry giant dishes on the menu at Cheko, the appetizers alone ought to preserve you very nicely fed. The tacos are killer good, perhaps the very best in a metropolis fabled for the wonders of its fish tacos. Strive the fundamental tacos de Pescado empanizado — a trio of tacos layered with frivolously battered fried fish with chopped cabbage, tomatoes and onions.

The shrimp tacos come two methods — one completely grilled, the opposite completely grilled with sautéed veggies. There are tacos made with marlin as nicely — and tostaditos with marlin pate, together with shrimp and octopus ceviche (a dish of so many flavors, you might have to observe the soccer for awhile simply to cool down).

In the event you’re blessed with a style for severe spice, by all means go for the aguachile — shrimp crudo marinated in a sauce of inexperienced chiles and lemon and extra inexperienced chiles; it could possibly deliver tears to your eyes. So, for that matter, can the splendidly named cucarachitas — a reputation that’s a lot of enjoyable to say, particularly after a few micheladas, of fried shrimp in a richly spiced butter sauce (a dish that dazzles with each chunk).

There’s good spice all around the menu at Cheko — within the shrimp soup with an intense crimson sauce, the well-named camarones a la diabla and camarones pimiento, the quite a few ceviches, served in habanero sauce and with jalapeños and extra.

Cheko could use extra limes than another restaurant in Lengthy Seaside — there are limes within the ceviche, in nearly each seafood dish, within the beers, within the delicate drinks. Even the child’s portion of ceviches will get limes. This may very well be El Rey del Lima— and it will be simply pretty much as good.

Enrique’s Mexican Restaurant

6210 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Lengthy Seaside; 562-498-3622, takeoutfood.finest

Enrique’s is a longtime Lengthy Seaside favourite, and for good cause. Many good causes, the truth is. Together with a lot of very tasty, traditional Mexican meals, served at easy-on-the-wallet costs. And that traditional menu is definitely traditional after which some, with a sub-strata of dishes not discovered on most south of the border menus. Just like the pasillas asados — pasilla peppers stuff with jack and blue cheeses and potatoes, topped with pico de gallo sauce and guacamole. It’s a fantastically good appetizer for many who need to break freed from the bounds of nachos supreme. And it’s not alone.

There’s additionally an app known as berenjena Elena, a creation of sautéed eggplant, poblano chiles, cheese and a tomatillo cream sauce. I’ve eaten in numerous Mexican eating places over time, each right here and in Mexico, and I’ve encountered treasured few eggplant dishes. However right here it’s, tasting a bit extra Italian than Mexican — not that there’s something fallacious with that.

I assume the identical will be stated of the calamar frito, an Italian restaurant normal, that arrives crisp as a potato chip, with a pair of superb sauces — a chipotle chile sauce, and a caper aioli mayo. Sauces adequate to eat with a spoon!

You’ll be able to’t make up your thoughts? Go together with the botana mixta of a mushroom quesadilla, a potato taquito, a beef sope and a grilled stuffed pasilla pepper — simply a meal in itself. Unexpectedly, there are eight salads on the menu — a textbook Caesar, after all (no rooster, no shrimp — only a Caesar), but in addition an entrée sized steak salad, a shrimp and white bean salad, a queso fresco and avocado salad, and extra.

You’ll be able to eat very wholesome at Enrique’s, which isn’t at all times the case. It’s additionally not at all times the case {that a} restaurant serves burritos so giant that individuals at close by tables cease consuming to observe it go by. Certainly, Enrique’s wouldn’t appear to be a large burrito type of restaurant. However Lord have mercy — it certain is. The shredded rooster burrito, topped with a lot enchilada sauce, was so massive I began laughing, questioning the place I used to be going to place that large tortilla filled with rooster, rice and bans, with lettuce, cheese and guacamole thrown on for good measure.

Yeoman’s work was required. I wasn’t hungry once more for at the very least an hour, perhaps extra. And I’m at all times hungry. This can be a menu with an extended and imposing choice of platillos fuertes — the whole lot from a rooster paella topped with cream sauce and cheese, to a marinated pork loin, and a chorizo and rooster breast and shrimp mixture (surf and turf, because it had been).

There’s a combo as nicely of grilled quail, carne asada and chorizo. However for many who need to stick with the well-trod (and engaging) path, there are additionally 20 pre-set combos, mixing and matching enchiladas, tacos, tamales and the like.

Frida Mexican Delicacies

11169 183rd St., Cerritos; 562-403-3666, takeoutfood.finest

This can be a restaurant that understands many people can’t make up our minds when confronted with a lot of good choices. Placing lots of the choices collectively makes the method a lot simpler — and means that you can style dishes you would possibly nicely have handed on in any other case. There’s a Frida Platter of rooster and potato taquitos, cheese quesadillas, sopes and guacamole. A Taco Tasting Platter of 5 delicate tacos full of a alternative of beef, rooster, pork carnitas, rooster mole, al pastor or cochinita pibil. A Ceviche Tasting of white fish, gentle shrimp and spicy shrimp. An Enchiladas Trio with crimson, inexperienced or mole sauce.

There are also trendy creations just like the three ceviches (that are heavy with chopped onion and cilantro, and sort of mild on seafood), and a salad known as the Wholesome Bowl (although I’m undecided how the addition of bitter cream and cheese makes it wholesome).

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The cooking right here is acquainted to these of us who know the northern-influenced Mexican meals of Southern California. Although there’s no menudo, there’s a giant bowl — a tureen virtually — of hominy based mostly pozole, with shredded rooster and the snappy taste of guajillo chiles. In the event you don’t go for the Taco Tasting, there’s a alternative of 9 tacos, together with one meatless mannequin, and one filled with the wonders of al pastor (lengthy marinated pork), and one other with cochinita pibil, the roasted pork surprise of the Yucatan. Fish is grilled and served with a 3 chile sauce, salmon in a chipotle cream sauce, there are fajitas with shrimp, rooster or a mix of meats.

La Casita Rivera

3819 Atlantic Ave., Lengthy Seaside; 562-427-8600, takeoutfood.finest

La Casita is a hotbed of the type of dishes so many people crave, when cravings stumble upon us. Seafood tostadas filled with marinated ceviche? Examine! Outsized “wet” burritos (burritos ahogado) with a wealthy filling of beef asada, pork pastor and carnitas, pollo, and for many who need, each tongue and head meat — very tender and candy, because you’re served the meat, not the pinnacle? Yup, they bought that! How about fajitas, with a lot of meat, and loads of greens, cooked to an excellent stage of softness? They’ve bought rooster, beef and shrimp.

That is soul-satisfying Mexican cooking, not significantly unique, the south of the border equal of lasagna and spaghetti & meatballs. It’s meals that the majority of us acknowledge — and are glad to be reminded of how a lot these dishes meat to us, again earlier than the rise of Nouvelle Mexican, ready with huitlacoche fungus and drowned in gallons of lime juice. And La Casita is a tremendous spot during which to rediscover the fun of the dishes from our previous.

The chips are wondrously crisp, the salsa spicy sufficient to get up your tastebuds with out placing you right into a pepper shock. It feels good to be right here. I’m glad digging right into a plate of the chunky rico tacos — beef, rooster, pork, tongue, tripe, shrimped fish grilled and battered and extra. The torta sandwiches have roughly the identical filling, the ceviche within the tostadas is a reminder that ceviche was good lengthy earlier than ceviche grew to become stylish.

In the event you want a lot of seafood, and don’t all of us, there are the caldos — basically fish bowls full of fish. And complete fried fish, which makes for an excellent meal, although do be careful for the bones. Bear in mind how fish was once served with bones? La Casita is a reminder of how a lot of issues was once and on this case, nonetheless are.

Lola’s Mexican Delicacies

4140 Atlantic Ave., Lengthy Seaside, 562-349-0100; 2030 E. 4th St., Lengthy Seaside, 562-343-5506; takeoutfood.finest

The menu doesn’t hassle itemizing appetizers. As a substitute, it begins with “Shared Plates,” largely as a result of the apps are giant sufficient to double as entrees. The superb guacamole, topped with dry, pungent cotija cheese, is a hillock of avocado. The chorizo nachos come nearer to a mountain — it’s topped with a fried egg, simply in case there isn’t sufficient. The Bloody Maria cocktail is made with scallops and shrimp, avocado and olives, with a shot of tequila or mezcal on the facet. The queso fundido, usually a gut-buster of dish, comes with the choice of braised brief ribs.

Additional meals might be not mandatory. And but, it will be a disgrace to go on the scallops wrapped in jalapeño flavored bacon. Or the birria Guadalajara, made with pork and veal fairly than goat — a dish handed down (the menu tells us) from Grandmother. The birria could also be within the model of Guadalajara. However the menu is from throughout Mexico — the dark-as-night mole poblano, and the green-hued mole verde are from Oaxaca, far to the south, each served over rooster breast, and each so intense, that the presence of rooster breast is nearly an afterthought; the mole may very well be served over oatmeal, and it will style simply pretty much as good.

And actually, you do should really feel a contact of affection for a restaurant that elevates the common-or-garden enchilada with the whole lot from braised brief ribs and seafood, to butternut squash with sirloin (the menu notes the steak is from the extremely regarded Newport Meats, and the greens from the close by farmers market).

And should you’re mad for salads — aren’t all of us? — do strive the avocado and mango mannequin, with extra of that jalapeño-infused bacon, queso fresco, and a alternative of rooster or shrimp. There’s a way of element right here that’s admirable, even spectacular. The menu notes that as an alternative of humble pinto beans, they use “premium Mayacoba white beans.” As a substitute of lard, they use “olive oil from Baja.”

Playa Amor

Market, 6527 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Lengthy Seaside; 562-430-2667, takeoutfood.finest

There are specific assumptions we fortunately make regarding cooks. We assume that when Nobu Matsuhisa or Wolfgang Puck open a restaurant, that spotlight have to be paid. And, for these of us who’re followers of Ortega 120 in Redondo Seaside and Amor y Tacos in Cerritos, we all know that when Fashionable Mexican grasp Thomas Ortega opens a brand new place, likelihood is superb it’s going to be an expertise. And within the case of his Playa Amor within the Market down the Coast Freeway from 2nd Road, Chef Ortega doesn’t disappoint.

Since we’re by the water, there’s no shock that there are a number of ceviches on the menu — a shrimp mannequin with chunky, agency Mexican shrimp, tossed with pico de gallo, jalapeños, garlic aioli and cotija cheese. Chef Ortega likes his spice, and he likes his Mexican cheeses, which seem all around the menu. He additionally likes to have slightly (or perhaps so much) of enjoyable together with his creations — how else to view the poutine (a French Canadian dish) made with tater tots (the essence of Americana) flavored with mole negro — and many cheese.

This can be the very best poutine ever; actually, it’s good to not should face a dish topped with the gloppiest gravy, an industrial ingredient that makes me surprise if I’ll stay lengthy sufficient for the following course. I like mole, the chocolate and chili sauce that makes consuming in Oaxaca only a pleasure. And apparently so does Chef Ortega. He flavors his mussels with a mole verde “curry” that’s so good, it may be completed off like a soup.

There’s mole on his Oaxacan rooster as nicely. However for some actual enjoyable, take a look at the “caramel sticky” pork spare ribs, with a Moroccan harissa sauce; a culinary carom shot that’s all around the map — and throughout your fingers as nicely. They’re severe about “sticky”! There’s a large choice of seafood dishes, together with a lobster finished within the model of Puerto Nuevo, the “Lobster City” on the highway to Ensenada; and the traditional Pescado zarandeado — a butterflied complete fish flavored with lemon, garlic and smoky chipotle. There’s a large assortment of burritos, tacos and enchiladas, for many who can’t stay with out. And for dessert, there’s Mexican chocolate pudding, tres leches carrot cake and churros with salted caramel. In Thomas Ortega Land, life is each straightforward — and scrumptious.

Additionally beneficial

  • Cinco de Mayo: 351 Pacific Ave., Lengthy Seaside; 562-432-1604
  • Gap Mole: 1200 E. Wardlow Highway, Lengthy Seaside, 562-427-3124; 5109 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Lengthy Seaside, 562-985-1005; 421 Obispo Ave., Lengthy Seaside, 562-439-2555; 1327 E. 4th St., Lengthy Seaside, 562-437-0878; takeoutfood.finest
  • Mariscos Los Buchones: 701 Lengthy Seaside Blvd., Lengthy Seaside; 562-435-6238, takeoutfood.finest
  • Ola Mexican Kitchen: 2nd & PCH, 6420 Pacific Coast Hwy., Lengthy Seaside; 562-430-0055, takeoutfood.finest
  • Playas Ceviche & Tortas: 4501 E. Carson St., Lengthy Seaside; 562-377-3645, takeoutfood.finest

Merrill Shindler is a Los Angeles-based freelance eating critic. E-mail

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