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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Chichen Itza Restaurant - Los Angeles

Chichen Itza Restaurant - Los Angeles 1

Back in September 2007, I dined at Chichen Itza Restaurant with my brother and his wife. They had been several times and especially liked the Cochinita Pibil (Mexican Slow-Cooked Pork). I was curious to try Yucatan-style Mexican cuisine, known for its freshness and seafood.

The colorfully decorated restaurant and fancy menu reminded me of Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen - Orange.

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Complimentary chips and salsa. That little saucer of habanero chili sauce. SPICY!!!

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We opted for the Antojitos sampler, $9.99, four Yucatan appetizers: Panucho, black bean and turkey-filled crispy tortilla; Salbut, a turkey-filled soft tortilla; Kibi, Lebanese-influenced ground beef and cracked wheat patties seasoned with mint and spices, and fried golden brown; and Codzito, small taquitos with light tomato sauce. Everything was topped with pickled red onions, tomatoes, and avocado.

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Despite the variety of appetizers, I didn't really care for any of them. It was definitely colorful, but seemed rather expensive for a little plate of bland, dry, and not too fresh food.

We also got Pan de Cazon, $11.99, flour tortilla layered with black bean puree and shredded shark (dogfish variety) topped with a light tomato sauce. The shark tasted like tuna fish, and I felt like I was just eating tuna fish with tortillas.

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The dish came with confetti rice and black beans. Very pretty!

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Cochinita Pibil, $12.99, pork marinated with achiote, sour orange juice, spices, cooked in banana leaves, and topped with pickled red onions. This was my brother's favorite dish here, and the braised pork was tender and flavorful. Clearly the winner out of all the dishes at this meal.

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The Cochinita Pibil also came with confetti rice and black beans, and tortillas.

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Overall, I thought the meal was OK, but nothing special. I think of Mexican food in the same way as Vietnamese food. Homey and not too expensive, especially when I know how cheap it is to make at home. But now after tasting Cochinita Pibil, I knew I'd make it later at home. It totally reminded me of Thit Heo Kho (Vietnamese Braised Pork). :P

This location of the restaurant is now closed, but you can always visit their other location inside the Mercado La Paloma.

Other Mexican restaurants:
Carnitas Michoacan - Los Angeles (Lincoln Heights)
Gabbi's Mexican Kitchen - Orange
King Taco Restaurants #11 - El Monte (Garvey Ave.)
Los Cinco Puntos - Los Angeles
Old Town Mexican Cafe and Cantina - San Diego
Senor Fish - Alhambra
Tacos Baja Ensenada - (East) Los Angeles
Taqueria Chihuahua - Los Angeles (Mar Vista)

Chichen Itza Restaurant (Inside Mercado La Paloma)
3655 South Grand Avenue # C6
Los Angeles, CA 90007-4308
8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

1 year ago today, How to Eat a Jackfruit.
2 years ago today, on Sundays... I still watch out for and give my cans to the little old Chinese man who digs through the recycling bins.

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