Are you “Game”?


Another September, another sister trip to Los Angeles – the city of angels, of glam, and of great food. This year’s trip was a shopping bust but, luckily, a food boon.

We arrived on a Friday night, and almost immediately headed to Lotería Grill, my sister Cara’s current favorite restaurant. It’s not difficult to figure out why. This regional Mexican kitchen on Hollywood Boulevard boasts a varied menu at reasonable prices, plus mouthwatering margarita concoctions.

We started with a pitcher of tamarind margaritas which were curiously sweet and sour, as well as the probaditas sampler, which was a plate of mini tacos.

We sampled a number of dishes (it helps that there were five of us), including the summer salad; the red snapper with capers, olives and plantains; the green arroz (uniquely minty); as well as the papas con rajas taco and the mole poblano con pollo taco. We also were treated to dessert (gratis!), including their oh-so-good coconut flan and the refreshing lime-tequila sorbet.

The open floor plan of Lotería allows guests to see what’s happening in the kitchen and in the bar. The restaurant’s décor is all clean lines and warm wood, with painting-sized vintage Mexican playing cards lining the walls. “Lotería,” in fact, refers to a family game, similar to bingo we were told. Hey, we’re game!

On Saturday morning, we hit The Aroma Café for a breakfast/lunch thing. I loved the feel of this café – a worn-brick patio and lush garden setting with a chandelier overhead and an attached bookstore.

The food was great, too. While we didn’t sample their desserts, which looked mightily tempting, their breakfast and lunch offerings were a big hit with my sisters, including the Eggs Aroma and their tuna salad sandwich. And what’s a visit to LA without a star sighting? While we would never think of interrupting his meal, we wanted to say, “We loved the Ocean’s movies!” Can you guess who it was?

On Sunday, just before our flight home, we headed to the Mustard Seed Café located in Los Feliz (across the street from my favorite café, the Alcove, which I discovered is a partner restaurant to The Aroma Café).

The environs at the “Seed” are humble, but the food is fresh, delicious and eco-conscious. Our orders were all over the place – the chicken chutney salad, BBQ chipotle chicken wrap, a fancy BLAT, a veggie omelet, and the grilled vegetable and goat cheese sandwich – but the food was true to its reputation.

As always, it’s hard to say farewell to LA and our annual sister weekend, especially since we’re choosing a different city for next year’s trip (Cabo? Seattle? Carmel?). Stay tuned!

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2 Comments so far ↓

  • Brittany | Oct 8, 2008 at 8:57 am

    Tell me more about the star sighting! There are SO many big names in the Ocean’s movies! Who was it?

  • Maria | Oct 8, 2008 at 9:29 pm

    Well, it wasn’t George or Brad! Do you remember Livingston Dell, the character who is Danny Ocean’s tech genius? He’s a famous character actor by the name of Eddie Jemison. 🙂