Tacomiendo – Culver City, CA

Food Adventures, Los Angeles

Los Angeles is home to arguably the largest Hispanic community in the US. With the immigration comes authentic culinary traditions and that means, dear readers, that we Angelenos are blessed to have some of the most incredible Mexican food in the country. The best taco in LA is a contentious topic, as is the best burger in LA, but many will agree that Tacomiendo, a humble little storefront in Del Rey / Mar Vista, serves up some of the best.

Carne Asada and Lengua Tacos al Carbon

Carne Asada and Lengua Tacos al Carbon

Situated right at the bustling intersection of Culver and Inglewood Boulevards, Tacomiendo blends into its ordinary strip mall; blink and you just might miss it. Parking is a free-for-all but if you manage to snag one of the coveted spaces (or park in the neighborhood streets and walk), enter the doors to find a shoebox-sized venue boasting about 8 or 9 tables. Turn right and you’ll find a large poster of the menu and just below it, a friendly cashier waiting to take your order.

A Trio of Tacos with Horchata

A Trio of Tacos with Horchata

If you’re lucky, look just past her and you might see someone making fresh corn tortillas by hand, one of Tacomiendo’s claims to fame. The menu can be overwhelming with options varying from plates to tortas to burritos to quesadillas to burgers and even smoothies. We, however, always stick to the tacos al carbon — street-style tacos with a corn tortilla base, piled high with meats, and served plain. You are left to your own devices in terms of toppings, which is great because Tacomiendo has an awesome salsa bar.

Tacos Pescado

Tacos Pescado

Martin is a big fan of tried-and-true, so he will order two or three tacos pescado, depending on how hungry he is. Fillets of white fish, grilled to order and generously flaked onto the corn tortillas, these are way better (in our humble opinions) than the battered and fried Baja style fish tacos ubiquitous in so-called California cuisine. The fish is always well seasoned with a smoky hint of char on the edges. Perfect for pairing with fresh pico de gallo, a squeeze of lime, and a sprinkling of chopped cilantro. Salsa verde is another good option.

Tacos. (From left to right: Carnitas, Lengua, and Pescado)

Tacos. (From left to right: Carnitas, Lengua, and Pescado)

I’ve bounced around my menu selections. The carnitas, succulent and meaty option with juicy cubes of braised pork, taste great topped with chopped onions, chopped cilantro, and roasted ancho chili salsa roja. The carne asada tacos are a safe choice with the grilled marinated beef lending itself well to a combination of pico de gallo and salsa roja.

Tacos - Lengua and Carne Asada

Tacos – Lengua and Carne Asada

My favorite, however, is the lengua (tongue). Slow cooked and braised until each bite is melt-in-your-mouth tender, I was in awe the first time I tried the lengua here. It was among the best preparation of lengua I’d ever had. It takes all of my willpower not to pick out each bit of lengua to eat on its own, no tortilla, no toppings, nothing. But, I must resist, because nestled in the corn tortilla and slathered with cilantro, lime, and salsa roja, the lengua taco becomes something absolutely magical.

Another trio of tacos, this time with cantaloupe agua fresca

Another trio of tacos, this time with cantaloupe agua fresca

Martin will splurge his daily caloric intake on the medio litro (half liter) of “Mexican coke” — Coca Cola produced with cane sugar and not a drop of high fructose corn syrup. Some people can’t taste the difference but we have a strong preference for the legit stuff. Meanwhile, I’ll be happily slurping down one of the many agua fresca options. Fresh cantaloupe juice and watermelon juice abound in the summertime, while horchata is a favorite that’s served year-round. Go for the large… it’s so good, you’ll still want more!

If you’re in the mood for Mexican, I recommend swinging by Tacomiendo. Some people say it doesn’t have the right ambiance for a date night (what with the plastic tablecloths and all), but I’d say it’s the perfect place for an adventurous, food-loving date to uncover a new hole-in-the-wall. Just remember to bring cash (they accept credit cards but I think it’s a $10 minimum and since the food is so cheap, you may not quite reach it!).

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Check out Tacomiendo: tacomiendo.net

4502 Inglewood Blvd
Culver City, CA 90230

See their Yelp reviews here!

La Petite Creperie – Mar Vista, CA

Food Adventures, Los Angeles

One of our favorite Sunday morning routines is to head over to the Mar Vista Farmer’s Market (some weekends we’ll even walk!) and enjoy a leisurely brunch at a local neighborhood hot spot – La Petite Crêperie. A quaint hole-in-the-wall, La Petite Crêperie is decked out in old French country-style wooden decor with cute dish towels for napkins and adorable mini Le Creuset type dutch ovens that have been purposed as sugar bowls. The all-French staff are quick to bid “Bonjour!” and show us to a cozy corner table.

La Petite Creperie - Champignons, Fromage Galette

La Petite Creperie – Champignons & Fromage Galette

First things first, Martin and I both love having iced coffee at brunch. They do not have chilled coffee here but if you ask nicely, they will be happy to fix up a strong Americano and serve that over ice along with milk in a cute little ceramic creamer.

Iced Americano

Iced Americano

If winter is coming, La Petite Crêperie offers an excellent organic French pressed coffee, served in huge Bodum (?) glass coffee presses. The smallest, supposedly a 2-cup, was plenty for us to share. One advantage of going with hot coffee is the ease of which the sugar cubes melt (we had to stir for quite a bit to get them to dissolve into the iced coffee!). Plus it’s just fun to push down on the plunger.

French pressed coffee

French pressed coffee

Since we are dining at a place that is literally named “the little crêpe restaurant,” we, of course, had to order a crêpe or two. I love savory crêpes, listed on the menu under Les Galettes, and selected the champignons and fromage –  a medley of portabello and oyster mushrooms sauteed in butter along with garlic and shallots and served in a buckwheat crêpe layered with melted gruyère. SO GOOD. The gruyere paired perfectly with the earthy mushrooms which, though rich and buttery, were not greasy at all. The savory crêpes are served with a mixed greens salad tossed in a bright and tangy sherry vinaigrette and garnished with cute fresh cherry tomatoes (possibly sourced from the farmer’s market going on just outside!).

Crêpe Champignons & Fromage

Crêpe Champignons & Fromage

Martin is less a fan of savory crêpes (he’s more of a Nutella guy, but more on that later) but his brunch selection is another French favorite – the croque madame. Essentially a ham and cheese sandwich, the croque monsieur (jambon de Paris, gruyère, and béchamel served open-faced on toasted bread) becomes a croque madame with the addition of a fried sunny-side-up egg. It’s hearty and comforting and just the right breakfast to keep you going until dinnertime.

Croque Madame

Croque Madame

If we go the savory route, we are usually too full for dessert. With this in mind, we will sometimes decide to come here for a sweet breakfast of Nutella crêpes and coffee. Nutella and banane (sliced bananas) for Martin, Nutella and fraises (strawberries) pour moi. Each of the sweet crêpes are served with an artsy swoosh of Nutella, a sprinkling of chopped hazelnuts, and a dusting of powdered sugar. Thin, just a bit chewy, crispy on the edges without burning, and with generous helpings of fruit and nutella, this dessert-for-breakfast really hits the spot.

Nutella Crepe

Nutella Crepe

For the iconic Westside experience (at least, it is in my opinion), stop by La Petite Crêperie for its charming atmosphere, delicious crêpes, and reinvigorating hot or iced coffee. Plan to stay for a while (things run at a leisurely pace here) and wander out to the farmer’s market afterward for some fresh local produce and treats. It’s a great way to start the day before going back to Sunday errands (or continuing the weekend goodness by heading down to the beach just 2 miles away!). C’est la belle vie~!

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Check out La Petite Crêperie: lpcmarvista.com

3809 Grand View Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90066

See their Yelp reviews here!

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Speaking of coffee, if you want a chance to score your very own single-serving, pod-based coffee maker just released by Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, hop on over to see our friend at The Actor’s Diet for a giveaway!

Peach Crisp and Tenerelli Orchards

Desserts and Sweets, Recipes

Quick, before summer ends! Run out and pick up some of the yummiest peaches you can find! Got ’em? Good.

Summer peaches!

It’s become part of our weekend routine now to swing by the Mar Vista Farmer’s Market on Sundays. Summer, my friends, is peach season and boy, do they look and taste great. We always stop by the same stall to get our peaches — the Tenerelli family farm. They grow dozens and dozens of varieties of peaches, most of which I’d never even heard of, and each week is always a pleasant surprise. They stole our hearts when we first tried their snow bright peaches — super sweet white peaches that are best served when they are extra ripe and are so soft that they bruise when you look at them. Amazing. I had never tasted a peach that tasted quite so… peachy. We returned week after week to try their other varieties – snow angel peaches (also white, more crunchy, and oh so sweet), glacier peaches (whites, crunchy, a bit more tart), and most recently, their O’ Henries, a yellow peach that truly captures the balance of sweetness and tartness that comes to mind when you think of the iconic peach. Just today we also tried their Ryan Sun yellow peaches, or as they affectionately refer to it – the ugly fuzzy ones.

Ryan Suns (aka “the ugly fuzzies”)

We brought some O’ Henries home and while I love eating peaches just the way they are, I wanted to turn these into a crisp. A crumble. You know, I honestly don’t know the difference between those terms. Usually they refer to hot-out-of-the-oven baked fruit topped with crumbly streusel-like topping and (if I’m lucky) served a la mode, so that’s good enough for me. A quick Google search tells me that a crisp is simply the British name for a crumble. So I guess this could be called a peach crumble, but because I love British accents and want to speak with one someday, let’s call it a crisp. (By the way, in case you’re wondering where the “cobbler” figures in, it’s basically a crumble/crisp with bits of dough instead of streusel as the topping, making it more similar to a peach pie.)

Voila – peach crisp!

Ingredients:

Peach Mixture

6 peaches, white or yellow or both (I used 2 whites and 4 yellows)

1/2 tsp vanilla extract, optional

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Crumble Topping

1/2 cup butter (1 stick – frozen or very cold)

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup oats (1 minute quick oats for oatmeal is fine)

Prepped peaches

The first step is to prep the peaches. They need to be peeled, pitted, and sliced, and if your knife skills need work (like mine), this may take a while. I waited until after I finished slicing all the peaches before preheating the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the peach slices in the baking dish, add the vanilla and cinnamon, and toss to coat evenly. Set aside.

Lotsa butter!

Next, prepare the crumble. Most recipes will tell you that you need to “cut” the butter into the flour mixture until the butter breaks up into smaller-than-pea-sized bits. Doing this by hand would take a lot of work, even with a pastry cutter. Instead, I used my trusty little food processor. Add the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Slice the butter into thick pats, about 1/4 to a 1/2 inch thick, and throw them into the processor bowl too.

Crumbly goodness!

Pulse until the texture looks crumb-like. Add the oats and pulse just once or twice to mix. I tried making this crumble topping with butter straight from the refrigerator and it turned out sticky and doughy; it doesn’t brown quite the same way, so I’d recommend using frozen butter if you can.

Ready for the oven!

Top your peaches with an even layer of the crumble mixture. I used an 8″ x 8″ baking dish and sprinkled all of my crumble, which yielded a really thick crusty layer. I liked it, but if it’s not your thing, you can either use just enough to cover all the peaches (anywhere from half to 3/4 of the recipe) or use a 9″ x 12″ baking dish keeping in mind that this would spread the peaches out in a thinner layer as well.

Bubbly browned crumble topping

Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes or until the peach juices start to bubble and the topping gets roasty-toasty. Serve hot or cold, with ice cream or without. It keeps in the refrigerator for a few days (if it doesn’t get completely devoured first!) and reheats well in the microwave for a minute or two.

Beautiful O’ Henry peach from the Tenerelli Orchards

Whether or not you decide to try this recipe, I hope you’ll still run out to your farmer’s market (or grocery store – we don’t judge) and grab some peaches before summer ends. There’s nothing quite like enjoying fruit at the peak of the season. And if you’re local, we recommend swinging by the Mar Vista Farmer’s Market! It’s so quaint and there’s a certain comfort in seeing the same vendors and farmers setting up shop every week. Not to mention how fun it is to discover new fruits and vegetables as they start to come into season. Enjoy!