I’ve never had a bad—or even just okay—meal at La Casita Mexicana. The small South LA restaurant, clad in vibrant colors, giant paper mâché produce and an Our Lady of Guadalupe painting, has become a legend in the 14 years it’s been around and for good reason.
Created by Jaime Martin del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu, La Casita is different by design. The goal of the two mustachioed chefs, who both hail from Jalisco, Mexico, is to challenge the Angelino perception of Mexican food by moving far beyond the standard combination plate.
The result is a large menu of imaginative dishes that draw from their “ancestral food heritage” and the recipes of their grandmothers. Regulars gush over their moles, chiles en nogada (a cream and pomegranate topped poblano pepper stuffed with spiced meat, nuts and fruits), and rather lovely seafood dishes. Not to mention their lemonade chia seeds—a must!
Devotees also go on and on about La Casita’s chilaquiles, and I felt so left out because I’d never tried them…until a recent sunday.
Now that I’ve had them, they’ve stamped my mind, much like those mole chilaquiles I had a few months back at CaCao in Eagle Rock. La Casita’s version come in few different variations: red, green, mole poblano, red or green pepian style (made with pumpkin seed, peanuts and chiles), and chipotle.
I ordered mine “divorced”, which means half red, half green. The fried tortillas chips are cut into small squares that stay relatively crispy, a true rarity. Usually, it’s soggy city when it comes to chilaquiles, which isn’t always a bad thing, but I loved the texture and the lack of soupiness here. And, of course, the sauces were spot on. So tangy and flavorful.
I ordered mine with two fried eggs, and things got even better when I yolked it up. Plus, the plate comes with a corn tortilla quesadilla, which just happens to be one of my favorite things in life!
Next time, I’m moving on to the mole poblano, then green pepian…I’ve got it all figured out.
I end every La Casita meal with their Churros con Cajeta, even if I’m stuffed. And I was. The short and sugary churros are filled with goat’s milk-made sweet, sweet caramel. Every crunchy, drippy bite is a little bit of heaven.
By the way, Sunday at about 1 is a great time to go. No traffic, no waiting list.
La Casita Mexicana
4030 E. Gage Ave.