Some years ago on ch I noticed a reference to a Mexican food place located in a gas station near Whittier Narrows Park. The review lamented there was no place to sit down, but that only a block away the food could be enjoyed on a bench in the park. I visited Lolita’s Fast Food, the name of this unprepossessing cafe, and ordered a burrito with carnitas, rice, beans, onions and sauce, the dish that was recommended. Think it was $3 or $4. I’ve returned many times for the same, and thought I’d say thank you to the reviewer and cast a new recommendation for this place on Food Talk Central. The last time I visited, the sign on the gas station for Lolita’s had been erased, but the lady who makes this wonderful food is still there. The style of the carnitas is stew-like, very tender with no evidence of being fried, and the beans are home-made, carefully cooked. Actually, the burrito – though substantial – shows a delicacy of touch in its composition, though it remains quite simple-seeming. Since I haven’t been able to visit often, I haven’t tried her other dishes because I never want to miss a chance to eat one of the nicest and most comforting burrito I’ve tasted in L.A.
This is amazing, welcome @neroswolf.
who was the OG CH poster that rec’d the place? I’m there at the playground (#NoPedo) quite a lot and the non-Asian food options are… far and few between.
Have you tried the Mexican truck south of Rush St, on Chico Ave?
Hi Tony C,
Well, I tried to find the original post on ch about Lolita’s and – guess what? – I couldn’t find it using the “filters” now required by the site. So I’m unable to thank the reviewer by name. But I can thank you for the truck tip and will look for it the next time I can get to that neighborhood. I think it’s Rush St. you may mean. Lolita’s in the '76 gas station on the corner of Rosemead and Rush.
The birria burrito at La Paloma’s on N. Peck, which is simplicity itself, stewed beef with sauce in a nice tortilla, is comparable in certain ways with Lolita’s, but I found that 3 of them were less comforting than just one of the carnitas burritos described in the post to which you responded. I felt the Paloma tortilla was better, but the burrito as a whole lacked the succulence that the lady who cooks for Lolita’s somehow achieves in her food. Of course you can also sit down at the place on N Peck, where that is impossible at Lolita’s.
Don’t you think these simpler dishes, which themselves aren’t so simple, represent only a paper thin slice of Mexican cuisine, even street cuisine? When I read accounts in Street Gourmet LA, I realize that these wonderful lunch dishes aren’t “Mexican,” even, but emerge – like the “Chinese” dishes about which I had to be educated – out of complicated regional traditions, that show both unique and regionally overlapping qualities. I’ve been such a slow learner! I was told many times about the regional character of Italian food, and even lived in Italy at various times, yet it was hard for me to understand how interesting and intricate the regional tastes and specialties of Mexico are. I suppose that shows how limited my thinking has been, as if the “filters” proposed by ch didn’t conceal most of the reality of the foods they purport to group together, just as my own responses have been too general and abstract. If I was able to think through the matter further, I might even question these “national” categories in other cultural spheres, such a literature and music! I guess that would take us too far afield.