Who would have known that two Chefs with a tiny Mexican restaurant in the working class city of Bell, California would create a legacy that leads them to becoming James Beard Award Nominee Chefs in 2008 and most recently, the judges of the Spanish version of Top Chef aka Top Chef Estrellas?
Well, Chef Jaime Martin Del Campo and Chef Ramiro Arvisu have made a name for themselves for authentic regional Mexican cuisine since they first opened La Casita Mexicana in 1998. Now, the word is out that they plan to expand their legacy with an upscale restaurant at the Baldwin Hills Plaza called Mexicano that is slated to open sometime in the summer. So while we wait for the new restaurant to open, it helps to first fill our gastronomical appetite at La Casita Mexicana.
The Queso Frito “La Casita Mexicana” aka Fried Cheese.
A lot of things has changed since I last dined at La Casita Mexicana. For one thing, they have since expanded the restaurant to accommodate to large dining groups with advanced reservation. They also serve alcohol, which is something they didn’t have the last time I dined at the restaurant.
However, what hasn’t changed are the exceptional service and food. I had a large group of 20+ people in my dining party a few weeks ago. For a large dining party, the service was stellar. As for the food, it was just as amazing as I remembered it to be. With advanced reservation and also with the help of a close friend who is a frequent diner, we were able to arrange for a Chef’s menu which included popular and new menu items.
Of all the things that I wanted to eat again was the Chile En Nogada. It’s astuffed pepper with meat, dried fruit, walnuts, and candied nopales (cactus). Layered on top is this luscious creamy pecan sauce with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds. This is one of the MUST HAVE dishes, not because it’s an impressive dish to look at or that it is one of the most popular dishes on the menu, but because it is tastes so darn good.
Our Chef’s menu included:
- Chips with tres moles.
- Queso Frito “La Casita Mexicana.”
- Taquitos De Pollo “El Mercado”
- Chile En Nogada.
- Blackberry Mole.
- Chamorro De Res Adobados (Beef Shank) pictured above.
- Marinaded Fish Filet in Chile Guajillo and Ancho Adobo Sauce.
- Churos Con Cajeta.
- Flan De Cacao.
The Blackberry Mole (pictured above) and the Chamorro De Res Adobados are two of the new dishes at La Casita Mexicana. I am a huge fan of the mole sauces as they accompany the dishes of Enchiladas and the Flautas served at the restaurant. The Blackberry Mole topped slices of grilled chicken breast and was accompanied with rice. Hints of the blackberries permeated the rich sauce for a more fruitier taste.
The Chamorro De Res Adobados is a typical dish that you’ll find in Jalisco, Mexico. This is a MUST ORDER dish at La Casita Mexicana. absolutely enjoyed eating this, because it’s a very rich, and hearty serving of flavorful beef shank stewed in Ancho Chiles and citrus. This dish was accompanied with handmade tortillas.
We also had plenty to drink to accompany our meal, like Agua Frescas. Pictured above is the Limonade with Chia seeds. There was also Horchata (a rice drink) and a Watermelon Agua Fresca.
Dessert…The best finale of the evening! Along with our Cafe De Olla aka Mexican Coffee, we ate the Churros con Cajeta (pictured) and a delectable Flan de Cacao.
So don’t forget to head over to La Casita Mexicana to try some of the best regional Mexican food north of the Mexico border or wait until the chefs open their upscale restaurant Mexicano in the summer. Either or, you’ll discover great Mexican cuisine worth eating.
Aside from what my dinner party ordered, I also also suggest trying some of the other popular dishes at La Casita Mexicana like the Three Moles Enchiladas, the Cochinita Pibil (Stewed Pork), and the traditional Mole Poblano with chicken.