The Park Slope Gastronome

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Wednesday, June 21, 2006

French Dips from Philipe, Tacos from Loteria! Grill

I was psyched to be able to eat at Philipe during my recent trip to Los Angeles. It was on the to-hit list last summer, but the overwhelming deliciousness that exists in this city made it impossible to make a trip. The place has been around for about 98 years and their specialty all that time has been the french dip. The restaurant is located practically in Chinatown. There's ample parking for customers. There's sawdust on the floors. There's an air of bizarro-ness at the counter. I asked for a beef french dip, only to be told there wasn't. Then I asked for pork, but then the lady at the counter told me there was beef and no pork. I don't know if this is a schtick or the way things work there. I forgot to ask for double dipped, when they submerge your the french bread upon which your sandwich is built, twice in the jus. The sandwich still rocked, as the crusty roll was able to withstand the jus without disintergrating into a wheaty mess. The CLC and I wound up swapping halves as she got the pork sandwich somehow, despite only ordering like 16 seconds after me. Bizarro I say! Along with my french dip I got a side of macaroni salad. I know among my friends and in my household that I'm in the minority when it comes to stuff like macaroni salad. But mix up anything with mayo and I'll pretty much stuff it in my face. Philipe's macaroni is made with ditalini pasta, which is a small tube or ring-shaped pasta, which made it more appealing to me. There was a nice tang and zip to the mayo-base and I gobbled up the entire portion.

The very next day, we ventured to the Farmers Market on 3rd Street. I knew where I wanted to eat - Loteria! Grill. Again, this was a place that I hoped we would get to last summer, but of course didn't make it to. The LA Farmers Market is a series of open air stalls and stores. Well the stalls are covered, but the pathways between are not. You can get everything at the Farmers Market, as evidenced by our table. The CLC got clam chowda, Chris got tacos not from Loteria! and Julie got pizza and a donut. Those three also shared a pitcher of hefeweizen to wash it down. There was a boureki place that looked super tantalizing, but I wanted one thing and one thing only.

I opted for a couple tacos. The first was albondigas en chipotle (the first of tastes of albondigas to be had that day), which translates to meatballs in a chipotle/tomato sauce. The second was the champinones con epazote - mushrooms with something called bean herb that the woman likened to cilantro. Both were served on delightful homemade tortillas, but frankly they were a little smaller than I thought. After I polished off the albondigas, I went back to get a carna deshebrada which ultimately turned out to be my favorite of the three I sampled. It was a delicious stewed shredded beef that was bursting with flavor, served with fresh guacamole, chipotle salsa and finely chopped onion and cilantro. The third taco totally put me over the top but it was such a satisfying place to be. Oh the reason I didn't partake in beer was that I knew Loteria! would have a wonderful selection of agua frescas and such. I'm a big fan of watermelon agua frescas but they were out so instead I ordered a horchata, which is a refreshing rice-milk drink accented with lots of cinnamon. In fact, the last time I had a horchata was at the Santa Monica farmer's market last summer! I remember we also bought some brittle or bark that was mighty tasty. Viva Los Angeles!

Man, I am totally getting sports emotions right now watching the last seconds of the Heat/Mavs game and I wasn't even rooting for the Heat!



Blogger China-Latina Chowhound said...

I'm rooting for the Heat. I hate Texas.

Albondigas = Life.

June 21, 2006 6:41 PM  
Blogger China-Latina Chowhound said...

Oh shitty - the Heat won it all last night? Why do I always miss everything good?!

June 21, 2006 6:46 PM  

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