Not so very long ago against a rather breathtaking sunset, a friend and I got to sample some TACOS!
Cocina Condesa is a bright spot on the boulevard that is otherwise lined with sushi restaurants (seriously, SO MANY sushi restaurants), offices and care rental yards. They have a great open concept space that gives way to a great patio, too.
Simple enough - we started with chips and salsa. AND I LOVE THEIR SALSA. Since I am a pansy about spicy anything, the salsa was perfect for me. I'm sure one could ask to spice it up but I could eat it as is with a spoon, guys.
We asked our lovely server for recommendations. She said queso so we got queso. And this isn't just any old melty cheese dip. This is manchego cheese, shredded brisket, peewee potatoes, pico de gallo, pickled chiles and a pile of guacamole.
If I'd had nothing but this during my visit to Cocina Condesa, I would have left perfectly happy. And full.
But then came tacos....
It's funny how you can be full but when someone starts bringing out more and more food, you somehow find room to eat it, isn't it?
We tried four kinds of tacos. Luckily, they're small and we took at least one bite of each. My favorite was the Al Pastor (left) which was pork, pineapple and jicama slaw with caramelized onions. All of those flavors together were perfection. They were all good but this was totally the leader. Also on the first plate were carnitas tacos. I'm not a cilantro fan (yes, I'm one of those), but that got picked off easily so I could enjoy the rest.
And also, a unique taco - the roasted butternut squash (left) - and some tasty beer-battered shrimp! I love anything, anything shrimp and this was no exception. I've never had a taco with butternut squash before and thought it was great. Probably an attractive menu item for vegetarians, too!
Remember how we were full pre-tacos? And then made room? We were put in that position once again when they insisted we try dessert. I can't say I regret it -- because dessert was churro bites covered in powdered sugar with an exquisite caramel dipping sauce.
So yeah, we found a way. Kudos to their Executive Chef, Eddie Garcia. Garcia discovered his passion for cooking in his adolescent years, having the privilege of being raised within the rich and deep-rooted history of Mexican culture. More specifically, and surprisingly, Garcia draws much of his inspiration from the common cultural tradition of traditional Aztec dancing to this very day, paying homage to his biological roots and utilizing a wide range of techniques that parallel his ancestor's cultural tradition of Aztec dancing in order to help curate an innovative and loving menu that is unlike any other. As such, each dish has its own unique story and includes pieces of history that have been passed down for many generations, helping capture the essence of the most exotic family traditions and intertwining them to create signature dishes that are undeniably one-of-a-kind and cannot be found elsewhere.
All in all, with a culinary style that stems from the finest cultural traditions, the signature dishes at Cocina Condesa are sure to provide unforgettable experiences. And it's good I brought a friend. Not just to share the food with but so she could roll me out to the valet parking stand after the meal and hold onto me while we waited an absurd amount of time for our cars. The evening was lovely though and getting some fresh air, making friends with other people waiting, and recollecting the amazing meal we just had certainly didn't feel like a blight on the whole outing so no harm, no foul, I suppose.
There's really nothing else like Cocina Condesa nearby so it's a welcome addition to the Ventura Blvd. family. Great food, great space, great service. It's a fantastic venue for parties big and small.
P.S. They have brunch. So you know I gotta be trying that soon.