HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >


Lard-free Mexican

Mexican food is one of my favorites, but so many places around LA rely on inferior, unhealthy ingredients like lard to lower the cost. I'm willing to spend an extra dollar or so for food that's cooked in a healthy vegetable oil without all the saturated fat. One of my favorite places is Alegria in Silver Lake. Any others out there? I'd especially be interested in a clean-tasting burrito chock full of good stuff like grilled chicken, guacamole, tomatoes, whole black beans, and rice.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. You might try Ocho, which just opened up in downtown LA. http://eatocho.com/

    But be aware, they use (gasp!) salt! http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7406...

    3 Replies
    1. re: ipsedixit

      OMG that looks totally legit. Thanks so much.

      1. re: sushigirlie

        Didn't like this all that much. But thanks -- good suggestion.

      2. re: ipsedixit

        8.50 + tax for a burrito. yikes. Maybe they should change their name to Ocho Cinco

      3. I actually like lard, so I might not be the best source, but Kay & Dave's, Eduardo's http://www.eduardosbordergrill.com/, and Poquito Mas http://www.poquitomas.com/about.php don't use lard.

        4 Replies
        1. re: mollyomormon

          Yum, thanks. I've been to Poquito Mas. Forgot about it but it's to die for.

          1. re: sushigirlie

            "to die for" was an exaggeration. It's OK.

            1. re: sushigirlie

              Yeah, I don't think "to die for" is how I would describe it either. It's decent and has healthy options.

          2. I don't think the point behind using lard is to save money... in fact, if anything, it might cost more to use lard; I think it's used in a lot of Mexican places because lard is a common fat in the cuisine of at least certain regions of Mexico, and because people like the flavor it adds to food. I don't eat lard because of being vegetarian, but I think there are plenty who would disagree with you that lard is "inferior". Keep in mind that certain vegetable oils have various health issues of their own, and that saturated fat isn't necessarily bad.... if you can, have a read of "The Queen of Fats" (about EFAs and why a proper balance of EFAs in diet is important). Regardless of your feelings about lard, putting it that way in a message is likely to alienate some of the folks who might be able to provide a good answer to your question.

            Taco Station in Pasadena makes their tortillas in-house, and I believe they should be made without lard, as the place has a number of vegetarian / vegan offerings as well as more standard stuff. You could also try Chichen Itza in South LA (the Macarthur Park location has been closed for a while). I am not an expert on Mexican cuisine by any stretch of the imagination, but I think you will have better luck with lard-free food at Oaxacan and Yucatanian places.

            Chichen Itza
            3655 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90007

            Taco Station
            4088 Mission Inn Ave, Riverside, CA 92501

            1 Reply
            1. re: will47

              Chichen Itza is solid. I'm not sure if it has lard or not, to be honest. I have a don't ask, don't tell, don't smell policy for interesting restaurants, especially in the SGV.

              Chichen Itza
              3655 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90007

            2. I'm a fan of lard (for flavor and for the sake of being a traditionalist) but the food at Tacos Por Favor on Olympic in Santa Monica is decent and lard free. You might be spending that extra dollar just because it's on the west side, but the prices are still reasonable.

              Tacos Por Favor
              1406 Olympic Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404

              3 Replies
                1. re: sushigirlie

                  This was a great suggestion. Unfortunately, I didn't think the food was very good. I'd give it two thumbs down :(

                  1. re: sushigirlie

                    the thing to order at TPF is the chorizo and cheese taco. Everything else is pretty average.

              1. Teresa's Mosaic Cafe doesn't use lard, only soybean oil.

                150 S Sepulveda Blvd
                El Segundo 90245

                Teresa's Mosaic Cafe
                150 S Sepulveda Blvd Ste G, El Segundo, CA 90245

                2 Replies
                1. re: vickie2172

                  What would you recommend at Teresa's?


                  1. re: Dommy

                    Camarones al Mojo de Ajo ($15; 5 large shrimp); Dos Enchiladas de Pollo en Mole ($11; love the mole sauce). The two enchiladas aren't enough for husband (even with rice & beans) so he'll get a side of Mini Chimichangas ($7.50; #4).

                2. Thanks everyone for your help so far. I'm definitely going to check these places out. Please don't think I'm saying there's anything wrong if you like lard. I have a confession: I like Kraft singles. They're a guilty pleasure, especially when wrapped around some deli turkey slices. I apologize if I came across as if I was saying lard is for unsophisticated poors or anything like that. All I'm saying is I don't like it. Thanks for all the lard-free recs!

                  1. Haven't tried them, but La Guera Tamalera sets up at Cafecito Organico every Sat + Sun 9am-2pm. 534 N Hoover St, Silver Lake, 90026. More info: http://www.GTtamales.com

                    Lard, trans fat and gluten free.

                    Cafecito Orgánico
                    534 N Hoover St, Los Angeles, CA 90004

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: maiweezy

                      It's Ok, and I like that she can make fun of herself for being a "white girl tamale maker" but for $5, you really feel like you should be getting something that's bigger, tastier, or both. A little on the dry side, at least the vegan ones I've had, tho good flavor. Even the other yuppie tamal makers that have lard-free options (Corn Maiden at the farmers markets, Mama's) are not quite as expensive, and IMHO, a bit tastier.

                    2. Folks, we've removed some posts debating the poster's criteria. We ask everyone to focus on the question: where to find lard-free Mexican food? If you don't think good lard-free Mexican food exists, then please give this thread a pass.

                      If you'd like to debate the place of lard in Mexican cooking, the General Chowhounding Topics board is a better place to do that. Please feel free to start a thread there and link to it from this thread, if you'd like.

                      1. What about Hugo's?

                        Hugo's Tacos
                        4749 Coldwater Canyon Ave, Studio City, CA 91604