Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Las Amigas: Downtown Los Angeles

My mother takes frequent trips to the Los Angeles Fashion Distict, a sprawling 100 block behemoth of wholesale fabric, clothing, shoes, jewelry, and flowers. Since she sews, she first went there for fabric and notions, but it has become a mecca for her for their amazing flowers as well as clothes. My prom dress was bought there, as well as my graduation lei. The nice thing about the L.A. Fashion District is that you can find something unique that no one shopping at the mall will find. Cash talks, haggling is accepted, and my mother turns into a Baghdad trader, wheeling and dealing.

Once she was shopping for fabric trim and flowers for Mother's Day, she realized she was famished. She asked the shop owner where the closest place to grab a bite was. He pointed directly across the street, to a place she didn't even realize was a restaurant.

Las Amigas is a teeny little shop, with a seating area right across the alley that leads to parking.  It is definitely not the flashiest place, and if you're looking for slick atmosphere you are certainly not going to find it here. I can safely call it "hole in the wall" territory. But she toodled over there anyways and ordered a chile relleno. You know it's ethnic when a Southern California native with a working understanding of espanol has to point to what she wants because they couldn't understand what she wanted. It didn't matter-- it was delicious.

My brother at the seating area

She brought us back there, on a search for more fabric trim (or a thinly veiled excuse for more chile relleno).  My dad commented it was kind of like dining in a foreign country--outdoor seating only.  My brother ordered a Tamarind Jarritos, and after a confused pause and much pointing at the menu,

"Ahh! Jarrrrrritos Tamarrrrindo, Si!"

Okay, we are officially los gringos gargantuan, because our waitress cannot even understand us talking about soda.

closeup of yum!
She brought out amazing homemade salsa, but stated that she didn't bring out the hot salsa (possibly because we are obviously so white we can't handle the spice, lol). My brother requested the hot salsa. Dubbed "salsa de aceite" it was a top secret mix of crushed peppers and other ingredients suspended in a fiery orange oil.  It was smokey and savory, almost bacon-like, with a slow hot burn at the end.  Equipped with the spoon provided, we ladled it over our enchiladas, chile relleno, chips, tortillas, naked bodies... just kidding on the last one but it was really that good.

My mother and I tamed the heat with horchata, which was much less sweet than the commercial type and had more body. We just wished it had more cinnamon, as the taste was a bit bland.

Oh we totally got some to take home!
Everything else was phenomenal. The enchiladas we had were composed of thick fluffy fresh handmade tortillas that stood up well to the sauce. Flavorful oozy gooey cheese was never greasy, and it was topped with fresh avocado. My mother devoured her chile relleno, but I managed to get a bite and believe me, that's what I'm getting next time. The egg was soft and puffy and fried to perfection, the chile was soft but still had crunch, and the cheese complimented both.

Best of all, it was very reasonably priced. For four drinks, three enchilada platters, one chile relleno platter, a stack of 16 warm tortillas, chips and salsa, a 9 ounce tub of liquid spicy crack to take home, and three chile rellenos to go, it was $58 plus tip.

Yes, my mother ordered three chile rellenos to go. It's that good.

Las Amigas
830 San Julian St
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 627-1067
Las Amigas on Urbanspoon 

1 comment:

  1. I agree! We went there on 4/14/2014 and the secret sauce was incredible..the owner (i think) even gave us a bunch to go. Chicken tacos amazing...as was the fresh guacamole. In the insanity that is the fabric district...this was a find! Don't be scared that part of the the restaurant is a driveway!