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May 1, 2007 10:34 PM

Marinated Carne Asada ready to Grill, Chips & Salsa.

If you like Asada and you follow this advice you will know as soon as you take your first bite that you are having the best you have had and you will thank me. My sons wanted to grill some Asada last Saturday afternoon so we went to El Caney Market. Three things about good Asada – marinade, a very hot grill and a little smoke (mesquite chips at least, maybe oak bark). This marinaded Asada is like no other we have tried. El Caney Market sells hundreds of pounds of this meat and therefore it is always fresh. On a hot weekend when people feel like starting up the grill El Caney will often sell out. They pack your meat in a plastic bag along with the marinade inside. You decide whether to buy it the day before to allow it to continue marinading overnight or buy it in the morning and cook it the same day. Get the grill hot so that it cooks fast leaving a char on the outside yet stays moist inside. It really has enough flavor from the marinade and it’s own smoke but adding a few chips of mesquite to your fire is worth the effort also. Once you have your bag of Asada in your hands you may get a little hungry so since your are across the street and less than half-a-block from Tito’s Market you owe it to yourself to stop-in and buy some beef empanadas to eat during the next little drive to Los Toros Meat Market. At Los Toros you need to get the best chips, salsa and guacamole to go along with the best marinaded Asada sitting next to you.

At Los Toros I recommend the mild salsa, the guacamole and if they are not sold out of the Salsa Habanera (HOT) then that is also a MUST try. The three of us could not stop eating that Salsa Habanera. It is hot but it has just the right balance of sweetness to allow you to keep enjoying it. Just looking at this salsa you will know it is the real deal – dark brown, thick and rich. Us three agreed on everything but the beer. Therefore we had Corona, Dos Equis, and Tecate. Add a few green onions and some chopped cilantro and life is Bueno!

El Caney Market (Fresh marinaded Asada at the meat counter)
9869 Garvey Ave
El Monte, CA 91733-1269
(626) 401-2020

Tito’s Market (Beef empanadas – $1.09)
9814 Garvy Ave.
El Monte, CA 91733
(626) 579-1893

Los Toros Meat Market (Fresh Chips, Salsa and Guacamole at the meat counter)
5225 Peck Rd
El Monte, CA 91732-1122
(626) 444-5757

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  1. Thanks for the great post! Do you recall the approximate cost per lb for the asada?

    1. OK Jeet, you haven't steered me wrong yet so before the USC tailgate this weekend I followed your advice and got our chips, salsa and guacamole from Los Toros and 7 lbs of the carne asada from El Caney.

      As usual, your rec's were right on. The carne asada was excellent, really flavorful and the most tender I have had yet. And without me mentioning the extra research we had done, the chips were met with "oooh, these are awesome chips" Lastly, the mild salsa had a really great flavor and kick and, unlike last week's version, the container was very nearly empty before we wrapped it up and headed into the game.

      Thanks for the great suggestions - we'll definitely be back there before the next tailgate!

      1. First off I need to say that all of these places are awesome because they have easy and plenty of parking.

        So I started off getting my asada. I also got a few pounds of the chicken. The asada was good, but I thought the chicken was great.

        Next, I went to get myself 2 chicken empanadas and 2 beef ones. (I had to get one of each for Mr. Tums to try). I started off with the chicken one and I was very impressed. But it was the beef one that blew me away. I love the olives that they put in the filling. Even Mr.Tums was impressed and he's not much of a foodie. There were a bunch of people getting sandwiches there, has anyone had one? Are they good?

        Lastly, I headed over to Los Toros for the chips, guac, and salsas. Wow, wow, wow on the chips. So good. I usually make my own at home (sprinkled with some Lawry's) but these are the next best thing. I can't explain why, but they have a great crunch to them. The guac was a little on the "limey" side, but I didn't mind that and it needed it to stay green. The mild salsa was great (and I'm not much of a salsa girl) and my brother loved the habanera one.

        Overall, awesome little trip to El Monte. Would totally do this little trip again-especially for those empanadas!

        1 Reply
        1. re: bigtums

          Glad to hear you liked what you had. To answer your question about those sandwiches. Tito's son still owns and operates this place which was founded by his Mother and Father (RIP). They were special people and it is so good to see that boy (The tall guy with light hair) working so hard just like his parents and greeting people with the same kind smile of his Dad (See Dad's portrait in the store). The parents became well known almost overnight when they began selling food at a small place next to what is now Tito's Plaza. The Plaza and Market was built by selling those beef empanadas and those simple but very good subs. When you try the sub get it with jalapeno.

        2. Didn't try the meat market, but, the salsa at Los Toro - the Mild and HOT, ARE ABSOLUTELY HANDS DOWN, THE BEST SALSAS IVE HAD. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU FOR THE REC!!

          1. Are there any good places in the Santa monica, Culver City etc area fully on the westside?

            2 Replies
            1. re: Psiweaver

              Sanchez Meat Company will do you right:

              Sanchez Meat
              4525 Inglewood Blvd, Culver City, CA

              1. re: Servorg

                Servorg to the rescue (as always)! If it looks like a busy weekend (great weather, holiday, etc.), it helps to call in an order a day in advance. I forget the minimum, but it's totally within an amount that most carne asada eaters would find to be minimum.