In the classic J. Lo song, If You Had My Love, she calls out "Boricua's in the House!" I always thought she was singing "Burritos in the House!", and I would sing that part enthusiastically thinking, yeah! Jenny from the Block brings burritos home.
I made the fatal mistake one day of singing out my favorite line from that song while my Spanish speaking friend was covertly listening and waiting to mock on me. As it turns out, J. Lo was just referring to herself because boriqua or boricua is slang for a Puerto Rican. Embarassing? Si.
I love Mexican food, or so I claim, but weeks and sometimes months will go by without a scrap of tortilla coming anywhere near my person. Then I'll have it twice in one day. That's what happened this Saturday. It was my Cinco de September.
I woke up early to go for a run with my friends. I thought maybe finally the Mexican breakfast would be mine. However, my friends were planning on running 20 miles. I was totally not down with that. After a mile and a half, we went our separate ways. They went north on the Santa Monica boardwalk and I headed to Brentwood via San Vicente for an 8 to 10 mile run. I ran around the dirt path surrounding the golf course. It was nice and cool, perfect running weather.
Then I passed Susie Cakes which was closed. Unfortunately. Because I had money for snacks. Be Prepared is not just the Boy Scouts' motto, it's mine too.
So, I was thrilled that Tavern was open so early in the morning.
I interrupted my run to get a $1.50 cup of coffee. I loved the fact that the milk was on ice in a bucket. I worry when milk is just sitting out in a plastic thermos. Besides which glass milk bottles are so beautiful.
I also seriously considered getting a piece of the sticky bun. Doesn't it look divine? I settled for photographing it with my phone. I could at least look at it later so I wouldn't forget to eat it. As if!
I asked to have the coffee "for here" and the cashier's eyes bugged out in horror. I meant "here" as in outside as I was sweating rather profusely but I think she thought I was planning on sweating on their butternut squash colored banquette booth that lines the deli counter. But no, I went outside and sat with my new furry friends. They were really cute and they didn't mind my disheveled state.
As much as I liked sitting outside, at some point, I had to go back to Santa Monica so I could eat something and then go to work. I thus kicked it up a notch and put a little speed work into my weekend run. Gazelle like, I know.
I waited for my friends but they were seriously running 20 miles, so I had no choice but to buy a breakfast burrito, eat it sitting down on one of those strange brick islands on 3rd Street. No choice I tell you. It was like a jail sentence. Actually, it was pretty good.
I like running alone the best. There's a silence and a peacefulness you get when you just are mindful of your own breathing and your slow forward movement into a different space. There's no tranquility running with friends. But it's much nicer eating with friends so I guess that's the rub.
Later that evening, I had Mexican food again. This time at Loteria Grill at the Farmer's Market. We ordered a horchata and a limeade. The horchata was wonderful in its milky, creamy, cinnamonny way.
I got the chilequiles rojas. This gets strangely spicier the longer it sits out. It's still not really spicy but it has a noticeable kick about the time you're 1/3 finished with it. A really deliciously hearty and comforting dish. Soggy nachos with like half the fat.
The tortilla soup is also down home comfort in a bowl. This is the small, believe it or not. The large is a bucket pretty much. With two slices of avocado and a light film of cheesy oil coating each spoon, you probably want to share - or maybe not. The chicken tinga burrito is always a good choice too.
Loteria Grill has great mole as well and a terrific breakfast menu that's served all day. I love their plantains and their spicy pork tacos. I should eat Mexican more often. It's so delicious. I need to make Burritos in the House! a line I can shoutout with veracity.