Taco Tuesday: Chicharron de queso at Loteria Grill
A party hat fashioned from crispy cheese; a bowl of guacamole; tiny, hot tortillas, no bigger around than eyeglass lenses, stamped out from fresh masa. Loteria Grill made its reputation with the stew-based tacos called tacos de guiso. Its original Farmers Market location was the first place in town to specialize in Mexico City-style tacos stuffed with epazote-tinged mushrooms, zucchini with corn, or chicken with pureed pumpkin seeds instead of the usual carnitas and carne asada. But since Loteria expanded into an upscale chain, opening in areas where great taquerias were difficult to find, it has been the simple chicharron de queso, made by crisping grated cheese on a hot griddle, that has tended to greet the evening's first margarita. Break off a piece, crumble it into a tortilla, add guacamole, repeat.
12050 Ventura Blvd., Studio City, (818) 508-5300. Also in Santa Monica, Hollywood, and Westlake Village.
-- Jonathan Gold
Photo credit: Jonathan Gold