Thursday, June 5, 2008

Comida Chilango at La Cabanita

It's hard to fathom that there is a great, authentic Mexican restaurant nestled in the northern suburbs of Glendale. A few blocks down from the small main drag of Montrose lies La Cabanita, which for years has been one of LA's best locales for Mexico City style food.

Known as Chilangos within Mexico, the denizens of Mexico City have a similar reputation to those of Manhattan: urban survivors who move seamlessly from subway to subway and effortlessly negotiate the rigors of life in a giant metropolis. The 18 million person megaopolis that is Mexico City ain't LA and it certainly ain't Montrose.

The food of Mexico City is a refined melding of the regional cuisines of the various people who have come to the capitol from around the country. It offers a range of well done Mexican dishes: juicy carnitas, tender rajas and other favorites.

But my favorite things at La Cabanita are the variations on stuffed chilis, the most pleasing being the chilis en nogada, a charred, un-breaded chili, stuffed with a sweet mixture of chicken, raisins, nuts and spices, topped with an absolutely luscious, sweet, creamy walnut sauce. Chili rellenos are also excellent and there are three or four other varieties.

The soups are another strength of La Cabanita. At one time, entrees came with a soup starter, but now you have to order soup separately, which you should. Cream of corn is a velvety-smooth sweet corn soup with crumbled Mexican cheese on top. This is one of my favorite soups anywhere; it captures the pure essence of fresh corn, and is smooth and creamy without feeling weighted down with cream. The carrot soup is also excellent.

I can't think of anything I've had at La Cabanita that has been disappointing. Even the sides...the chips and salsa and the fresh, handmade corn tortillas, are excellent. So order whatever you like and wash it down with some of their fabulous sangria.

La Cabanita
3447 N Verdugo Rd
Glendale, CA 91208

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