The new spice in your life: Antojitos Carmen's chiltepil
Antojitos Carmen, the Boyle Heights restaurant opened last year by the Ortega family, is a Cesar Chavez Avenue go-to -- for its huaraches, quesadillas and pambazos. On my visit a few weeks ago, a server slipped a small plastic container of dry salsa -- a sauteed mixture of chiles de arbol, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds -- onto the table. "It's called chiltepil. The original recipe uses piquin chiles," he says. "But too hot." It still has a kick to it. And it's addictive -- I sprinkled it on my flor de calabaza enchiladas and into a potato and chorizo pambazo and ate some of it by the spoonful (it goes great with everything, except maybe dessert; I got carried away and tried it with some fruity nicuatole -- not so much). It's also sold in small tubs by the cash register for $5. I took home two tubs.
2510 E. César E. Chávez Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 264-1451, www.antojitoscarmenrestaurant.com, on Twitter @antojitoscarmen.
-- Betty Hallock
Photo credit: Betty Hallock