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Lard-free Mexican

sushigirlie Oct 16, 2010 12:51 PM

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. PlomeekSoup Mar 31, 2011 02:20 PM

    What about Hugo's?

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

    1. The Chowhound Team Mar 31, 2011 06:25 AM

      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. m
        maiweezy Nov 15, 2010 07:47 PM

        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
          will47 Nov 15, 2010 08:38 PM

          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. s
          sushigirlie Oct 17, 2010 10:33 PM

          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. v
            vickie2172 Oct 17, 2010 08:33 PM

            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
              Dommy Oct 17, 2010 09:27 PM

              What would you recommend at Teresa's?


              1. re: Dommy
                vickie2172 Apr 7, 2011 07:44 PM

                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. p
              PandanExpress Oct 17, 2010 07:57 PM

              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: PandanExpress
                sushigirlie Oct 17, 2010 10:36 PM

                Wow, thanks so much.

                1. re: sushigirlie
                  sushigirlie Nov 17, 2010 11:04 AM

                  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
                    Bandini Nov 17, 2010 04:45 PM

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

              2. w
                will47 Oct 17, 2010 07:44 PM

                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
                  sushigirlie Nov 17, 2010 11:06 AM

                  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. mollyomormon Oct 16, 2010 07:01 PM

                  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
                    sushigirlie Oct 17, 2010 02:25 PM

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

                    1. re: sushigirlie
                      sushigirlie Nov 17, 2010 11:03 AM

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

                      1. re: sushigirlie
                        mollyomormon Nov 17, 2010 12:35 PM

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

                      2. re: sushigirlie
                        tissue Mar 30, 2011 06:39 PM

                        I like Poquito Mas

                    2. ipsedixit Oct 16, 2010 01:29 PM

                      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
                        sushigirlie Oct 16, 2010 03:36 PM

                        OMG that looks totally legit. Thanks so much.

                        1. re: sushigirlie
                          sushigirlie Nov 17, 2010 11:03 AM

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

                        2. re: ipsedixit
                          Bandini Nov 17, 2010 04:44 PM

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

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