El Caserio

Originally uploaded by illewminator.
right near picholine (at that weird intersection of temple, beverly, first and virgil) is a little corner mini-mall that has two of my favorite eateries in LA: Don Felix and El Caserio (i think i've already done an entry on don felix).

el caserio is labeled as an ecuadorian and italian restaurant on its sign, but i don't quite get the italian part, as it seems pretty ecuadorian to me.

when you sit down, they bring you some crusty bread and a little gravy boat filled with what looks like salsa. i made the mistake of thinking it was that italian tomato-basil stuff you usually put on bruschetta and paid for it when it burned the hell out of my lips and tongue. be careful -- this is really hot stuff.

the best thing i've had so far is pictured above -- the chuchucara is meant to be split by two people, but it's probably enough food for three. it's grilled (or fried) chunks of garlicky pork, fried (sweet) plaintains, and a whole lot of boiled white hominy, topped with even more crunchy fried hominy (kind of like corn nuts).

other specialties are these potato pancakes that are like the delicious comfort food your ecuadorian grandma used to make. there's a good bit of seafood on the menu, and lots of grilled/fried meat items, many of them served with rice and black beans.

the fresh juices are also nice -- there's a drink called quaker (like the oats) because it's made from oatmeal and blended up with sugar and some other spices. it's not bad, but it's kind of an unfamiliar flavor. there's also passionfruit and some other fruit juices -- all of these are good.

my ecuadorian friend even confirmed that the food tastes very authentic here, so that's a good sign. if you've never had ecuadorian food before, it seems kind of similar to cuban and peruvian food. lots of grilled meats, lots of seafood, plaintains, and black beans. with the exception of that salsa-like stuff, nothing i've had on the menu is too spicy.

prices are also quite reasonable. the chuchucara plate for two is only $16; most other items on the menu are in the $10-15 price ranges. el caserio is located on the NW corner of virgil and temple, right next to don felix.


Blogger J said...

so good! i love el caserio. MY favorite dish that I get here are the "llapingachos" (i think that's how it's spelled) w/ cheesy potato cake and peanut sauce. this is supposed to be a very ecuadorian dish and is plenty ample. you get a pile of huge chunks of garlicky grilled pork riblets. the potato cake is a lump of mashed potatoes mixed with some light spices, a little bit of cheesy center, a mild peanut sauce and TOPPED with an over easy EGG!!!!! AWW YEAH! I think i should do a post just on the idea of place an over easy egg to make ANYTHING truly grubable. for 13 bucks or so...this dish is soooo right for so many reasons.

1/27/2006 12:57 PM  

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