Huasteca, Babita, or that other place...
that I can't remember the name of that's also in Lynwood or thereabout. Want to take my bf and some other friends for a birthday dinner. We've travelled extensively in Mexico and enjoy eating and cooking Mexican. We rarely eat beyond Downtown, so I'd love to hear the pluses and minuses of these places to plan for this upcoming Sunday (and the name of that other place). Any chow advice would be greatly appreciated.Thanks.
I think you might be thinking of La Casita. I had my birthday dinner there this weekend and sadly it didn't meet up to the level of Babita or La Huasteca for me...
Anyway, depending on what you and your friends are looking for...
Babita is a great intimate "where the hell did you find out about this!" spot. It has the level of elegance and a good solid grasp on the cuisine that I consider it the only thing this city has that comes even remotely CLOSE to Mexico City fine dining. Excellent wine list too. They BEST Chiles en Nogagas I've had outside of Mexico City.
La Huasteca in Lynwood is great because they have a WIDE open bar with great margaritas. They have a more 'approachable' menu with some really nice additions. I ADORE the Filet in Huitlacoche, the best Huitlacoche dish in the city, it really brings out and yet TAMES the earthiness of the ingredient. Also, the best cafe de olla in the city so far (the one at La Casita was a bit of a dispointment because they had you add the Piloncillo after it was brewed. :( ).
La Casita is very nice, but smaller and busier (I think Babita is a bit smaller, but is also still more of a 'hidden gem'), so depending on how large your party is, you should give them plenty of notice. If you check out the blackberry mole post, you will find my impressions which sadly were dispointing. However, there are other posts that include some 'specials' you can probably request to be made and the rest of the menu is very approachable for the rest of your party. But they have no booze at ALL if that matters (I am not sure about corkage...)
Another option that might be fun is Guelegetza on Olympic. Great mole dishes and full bar with several wonderful Mezcals. They also sometimes have lively entertainment on weekends and the atmosphere is very festive. They also have the BEST horchata with altun syrup and pecans added... YUM!! :)
P. just popped in and told me that you might be have also been thinking about Malverde which was in the same center as La Huasteca in Lynwood with a Chef Trained under Rick Bayless. Sadly the place has closed, but may reopen elsewhere. I never got a chance to try it, but heard mixed things from Hounds and Co-Workers (Who take clients out to upscale Mexican a lot).
Dommy-Thanks. I always appreciate and enjoy your posts. Yes, it was Malverde I was thinking of, and am sad to hear it is closed. I've been to La Casita and really enjoyed the moles (reminded us of our time in Oaxaca). I've also been to Babita when it was named something else about 8 years ago or so, so want to go back. We'll definitely go to both, though probably end up going to Babita for the b-day. I'll report back early next week. Thanks to every one for their posts!
I haven't been to the other two, but I've been to Babita and it's currently one of my favorite restaurants on rotation even though I live all the way in Torrance.
We have been to La Casita, and also Malverde, which we really liked it. So sad to hear that has closed. I thought Malverde was kind of new when we went, I think less than 6 months ago. We actually went twice to Malverde, once for Sunday brunch, and once for dinner. We liked our dinner better than the brunch, but all was good.
We have been to La Huasteca, but only to the one in Pasadena, which I heard that has closed, we didn't liked it, and the service was horrible, a very rude and snobby waitress (the kind that thinks that they are too good for you).
La Casita was good, the service was great. I loved the chilaquiles at Guelaguetza and also their Tamal de Mole.