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Looking for Mexican in the SFV or the Conejo Valley

liu Nov 29, 2009 09:25 PM

We live in the Conejo Valley and we wish to find some great Mexican restaurants in the Conejo Valley or in the eastern part of Ventura County or in the western part of the San Fernando Valley. Clean and delicious are important; decor is not.

We LOVE Tacos Baja Ensenada (TBE) in East LA, but we can not always get there on a whim. There is a place near the Fallbrook Mall that we frequent for tacos al pastor, although I can not recall its name.

It's all about the food and the horchata...any suggestions are most appreciated!

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  1. s
    selfportrait93 RE: liu Nov 30, 2009 04:16 AM

    Are you thinking of El Tapatio on the SW corner of Victory and Fallbrook?
    I love their tacos al pastor and carnitas.

    6 Replies
    1. re: selfportrait93
      liu RE: selfportrait93 Nov 30, 2009 07:17 AM

      selfportrait93 -- El Tapatio...YES! That's it!!!

      I have a lot of nice things to say about them. Their tacos al pastor is delicious...with little crispy pieces of pork. I vote their horchata among the best in Los Angeles, especially when they stir it as they serve it and the tiny pieces of canela (cinnamon) saturate the liquid. Finally, they are really nice! They always refill my horchata at no charge...and ask if they can do anything else in an eager-to-please the customer style.

      Thanks for putting a name to my pleasure!

      1. re: liu
        TomSwift RE: liu Nov 30, 2009 12:31 PM

        ET is one of our favorites, Pastor for me and Asada dor Ms. Swift. Their shrimp cocktail isn't bad either.

        1. re: TomSwift
          liu RE: TomSwift Nov 30, 2009 12:45 PM

          I'm glad to hear all the rave reviews for El Tapatio. We "blindly" walked in one day and we continue to enjoy it!
          I am also glad to know the lingo..."ET!"

          Tom, have you tried their horchata? Ask them to mix it before serving and request it con hielo. It is REALLY good and the perfect accompaniment with spicy food.

          1. re: liu
            TomSwift RE: liu Nov 30, 2009 12:51 PM

            I haven't tried it but I will now. Thanks for the tip! I usually have bottled Mexican Coca Cola, but only after checking to see that it's not made with HFCS.

        2. re: liu
          selfportrait93 RE: liu Nov 30, 2009 05:18 PM

          Glad to be of help, liu.
          One of these days, I shall try the horchata.

          1. re: selfportrait93
            liu RE: selfportrait93 Nov 30, 2009 06:34 PM

            Aaaaah...the horchata! It's all about those tiny specks of Mexican cinnamon.

      2. Servorg RE: liu Nov 30, 2009 05:19 AM

        Not all of these recommendations will be exactly on point, but a lot of them should be helpful in your quest for tasty Mexican food: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/568984

        1 Reply
        1. re: Servorg
          liu RE: Servorg Nov 30, 2009 07:20 AM

          This is helpful, Servorg...thank you! I appreciate the link.
          I am not new to the area, so I should be able to sort through this information
          ...if only TBE would set up a West Valley shop!!!

        2. streetgourmetla RE: liu Nov 30, 2009 07:22 AM

          Likely the best bet in West Valley is Metro Balderas in Northridge, but maybe that's not far west enough. DF style appetizers and interesting carnitas.

          1 Reply
          1. re: streetgourmetla
            liu RE: streetgourmetla Nov 30, 2009 11:55 AM

            Thanks, streetgourmetla!
            I don't know about Metro Balderas because we are not in Northridge too frequently, It is, however, accessible and we will check it out!

          2. r
            rainey RE: liu Nov 30, 2009 12:57 PM

            There's La Paz on Kanan Dune Rd (check that, I wouldn't swear it was right) in Agoura. They have goat and they do a wonderful whole fish if you've got 3 or 4 in your party. (If you don't the leftovers go home in an aluminum buffet tray)

            5 Replies
            1. re: rainey
              jencounter RE: rainey Dec 1, 2009 07:39 AM

              La Paz is actually on Las Virgenes in Calabasas.

              1. re: jencounter
                rainey RE: jencounter Dec 1, 2009 09:30 PM

                Thank you for making that clear. I knew I was fuzzy. I just don't know that area so well.

                1. re: rainey
                  jencounter RE: rainey Dec 2, 2009 05:46 AM

                  No problem!

                2. re: jencounter
                  TomSwift RE: jencounter Dec 3, 2009 08:43 AM

                  Still very good, especially the whole fish, I don't think it's as good as the one that used to be in Canoga Park/Woodland HIlls (and a lot closer to home!).

                  1. re: TomSwift
                    rainey RE: TomSwift Dec 13, 2009 07:34 PM

                    Yes! The whole fish is a trip! The goat is also very tender and tasty.

              2. puppychao RE: liu Nov 30, 2009 02:02 PM

                Some decent options in the Conejo Valley: Mercado Guadalajara, Lupes, and Letty's(haven't been in awhile). In Camarillo there is a great taco place Taqueria de Tapatio, it's located off Arneill Rd.

                None of these places are know for the decor, but the food is good.

                26 Replies
                1. re: puppychao
                  liu RE: puppychao Nov 30, 2009 02:45 PM

                  We haven't been to Lupe's since they remodeled. Is the food better? We have not heard great reviews.

                  Your other suggestions, puppychao, are worth investigating; I am especially interested in Taqueria de Tapatio...it just sounds like the kind of place we are looking for!

                  1. re: liu
                    LesThePress RE: liu Dec 1, 2009 06:34 AM

                    While there are some who do not like Lupe's, we are fans. Aside from the day they re-opened (which was a nightmare) the food is exactly the same. We find the food and prices both excellent and the decor in the new room is pleasant and of course, we love the patio. I still think their Chili Colorado is the best and if you want a treat order the Crispy flour taco with Chili Colorado, it's really good.

                    We feel that nothing in the Conejo area comes close to Lupe's in quality, taste and price.

                    1. re: LesThePress
                      liu RE: LesThePress Dec 1, 2009 08:42 AM

                      Thanks for your very current report on Lupe's.
                      I know we travel the same geography, and there isn't much out here like TBE. Your vote for Lupe's is enough for us to try it again.

                      1. re: liu
                        LesThePress RE: liu Dec 1, 2009 09:57 AM

                        I'm sure you'll like it, report back. BTY, they now have wine and Sangria, if you like that (we do)!

                  2. re: puppychao
                    liu RE: puppychao Nov 30, 2009 02:56 PM

                    In searching for addresses, it appears that Letty's in Newbury Park is attached to the Guadalajara Market...are they the same or is the market taco different from the one from Letty's?

                    The Mercado Guadalajara seemed to have very good reviews!

                    1. re: liu
                      Wheggi RE: liu Nov 30, 2009 04:17 PM

                      Letty's and the market are seperate, with Letty being a little more pedestrian and the market is more, well, market! While my co-workers really enjoy Letty's, I actually prefer the market: their burritos eat pretty well when you're sitting on the back of a work truck.

                      If you are willing to go to the SFV, I suggest either Carillo's or La Fuentes.

                      1. re: Wheggi
                        liu RE: Wheggi Nov 30, 2009 04:51 PM

                        Hi, Wheggi!
                        Thanks for the clarification about Letty's and the nearby market. I guess we will have to do both!

                        We like Las Fuentes, but it is not a real hole-in-the-wall-with-amazing-food type of place that, for example, Tacos Baja Ensenada is. I'm not sure if, over the years, we have tried Carillo's.

                        Thanks for all of your ideas.

                        1. re: liu
                          carter RE: liu Dec 1, 2009 10:08 AM

                          Carrillo's Deli is on Sherman Way at Corbin in Winnetka, just west of Smart & Final, and is really worth the effort, especially if you are in the area doing other things, as in shopping, working, etc. Have taken many items from that restaurant for parties over the years as have many friends here in sherman oaks.

                          Carrillos Mexican Deli
                          19744 Sherman Way, Canoga Park, CA 91306

                          1. re: carter
                            liu RE: carter Dec 1, 2009 03:53 PM

                            carter --
                            Your vote for Carillo's gives me reason to be in that neighborhood...thanks!

                            1. re: carter
                              rainey RE: carter Dec 1, 2009 09:32 PM

                              Can you explain the concept of a Mexican deli? I'm trying to wrap my mind around it and I'm not putting anything together.

                              1. re: rainey
                                jencounter RE: rainey Dec 2, 2009 05:48 AM

                                Prepared salsas, homemade (and delicious) tortillas, various meats (like carnitas) by the pound .

                                Mmmm. I love their corn tortillas.

                                1. re: jencounter
                                  carter RE: jencounter Dec 2, 2009 09:09 AM

                                  And the best guacamole by the gallon or enchiladas or chile rellenos by the tray.
                                  They are set up for large takeout orders in addition to eating in the restaurant, ala Jerry's or Brent's Deli, just serving Mexican food instead.

                                  By the way, I believe they also have a location in San Fernando (maybe not for OP but for others to note) and I believe family members also operate one in Simi Valley.

                                  1. re: carter
                                    jencounter RE: carter Dec 2, 2009 09:22 AM

                                    You're correct, Carter, there is one in Simi - same quality as the one on Sherman Way.

                                  2. re: jencounter
                                    rainey RE: jencounter Dec 2, 2009 09:18 AM

                                    Sounds cool! You mean you can just go in and buy a pound of carnitas as opposed to a combo meal!

                                    I'm not that far from it. I'm going to check it out. Thanks for the tip!

                                    1. re: rainey
                                      jencounter RE: rainey Dec 2, 2009 09:23 AM

                                      You can also buy carnitas (and other prepared meats) by the lb at Vallarta markets.

                                      1. re: jencounter
                                        carter RE: jencounter Dec 2, 2009 09:27 AM

                                        Yes, Vallarta has some very good food in its deli section.

                                        1. re: carter
                                          jencounter RE: carter Dec 2, 2009 09:32 AM

                                          Carter, aren't you the person who's 'in the know' about retail space along ventura blvd? Any idea what happened to Baklava Factory?

                                          (hopefully this won't get nailed by the chowhound police)

                                          1. re: jencounter
                                            carter RE: jencounter Dec 2, 2009 09:43 AM

                                            They are still at 17540 or something like that on Ventura Blvd., as well as up on Sherman Way around Coldwater Canyon. Just called to verify.

                                            1. re: carter
                                              jencounter RE: carter Dec 2, 2009 10:03 AM

                                              So they just moved, then? I drove by the usual location (near Louise) and it's now a frozen yogurt place.

                                              This cheers me, thank you!

                                              1. re: jencounter
                                                carter RE: jencounter Dec 2, 2009 10:12 AM

                                                Yes, across the street between Encino Avenue and White Oak. And that address I posted is correct.

                                2. re: carter
                                  liu RE: carter Dec 13, 2009 07:11 PM

                                  carter, this morning we tried Carrillos Deli. It was very crowded for a Sunday morning; they were doing both a sit-down and carry-out business.

                                  Since my current standard of measure is the El Tapatio (at Fallbrook and Victory) taco al pastor, I ordered tacos al pastor at Carrillos. I did not care for it at all. The pieces of pork were too large and there were a lot of fatty pieces in the mix. However, their hot sauces were good.

                                  The horchata was too sweet and did not have the Mexican cinnamon note that I was seeking.

                                  I know that Carrillos has been there for about 40 years and they seemed to be doing a good business. However, there was nothing to draw me back.

                            2. re: liu
                              puppychao RE: liu Nov 30, 2009 07:42 PM

                              Letty's is next door to Mercado Guadalajara. The market has a few tables outside, but it is really meant for to go orders. The market also has some great deals on marinated meats.

                              I would really like to hear about your experience at Taqueria de Tapatio.


                              1. re: puppychao
                                liu RE: puppychao Nov 30, 2009 09:15 PM

                                Thanks, puppychao!

                                1. re: liu
                                  Sgee RE: liu Dec 1, 2009 08:18 PM

                                  Here's another suggestion, just off 101 right before 405. I like their cocktel de camaron.

                                  Tacos Corona.
                                  7213 Balboa Blvd
                                  Van Nuys, CA 91497
                                  (818) 780-9126

                                  1. re: Sgee
                                    liu RE: Sgee Dec 1, 2009 09:34 PM

                                    Hi, Sgee!
                                    Thank you. I will keep Tacos Corona in mind, but I would prefer something more on the western side of the SFV...and into the eastern Conejo.

                            3. re: puppychao
                              liu RE: puppychao Dec 13, 2009 07:03 PM

                              puppychao, we tried Letty's. In order to compare fairly, I ordered tacos al pastor.
                              I thought that the tacos al pastor and the horchata were much better at El Tapatio at Victory and Fallbrook. El Tapatio's al pastor contains tiny pieces of crispy pork...really tasty and not greasy. Also, the horchata at El Tapatio has a rich, cinnamon taste; many other horchatas are just sweet...often too sweet.

                              I do, however, thank you for the recommendation. I was not aware of that little strip mall in Newbury Park near Smart and Final.

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