Cocina Condesa : Mexican Street Food In The Valley

All food tells a story!

Cocina Condesa in Studio City is located on what I like to call “the valleys restaurant row” is close to hitting their one-year mark.

With the help of Chef Eddie Garcia (formerly of Malo’s and City Tavern) they’ve been able to maintain a consistent menu of Mexican street food that is pleasing to the American palate. They have one of the largest Mezcal menu’s in LA and a bar that is gaining ground for the use of fresh ingredients and creative cocktails.

starter drinks

We recommend trying, The Maestro, The Spicy Mango Margarita, The Bronco and The Suavecito. If you aren’t careful this could turn into your new “go to” weekly happy hour home away from home. It’s a fun spot with indoor and outdoor seating, with the latter being a must in LA.

mole 2

Chef Garcia and Cocina are known for the chocolate mole chicken enchiladas. Chef sat down with us and explained his process for creating food. Creating food and flavors is all about the preparation. It’s a big conversation in the kitchen. In order to get the flavors that have been carried down from generation to generation you must follow the process, take the right steps and be prepared for it to be time consuming. You just can’t take away the process when you make tamales or moles or traditional foods. Family values are the stories behind the food.

Some of the items on the menu were eye catching because of the ingredients used. We started with the Guacamole Chingon, which where were avocados topped with chicharrones (fried pig skin), pomegranate seeds and dried apricots. For the salad we picked the Grilled Shrimp & Papaya. My guest was another Chef and we are both Asian and totally expected a Thai papaya salad (I know I know….we are in a Mexican restaurant). Imagine our surprise when it was nothing like a Thai papaya salad. This papaya was fully ripe and fresh and the jalapeno dressing gave it a nice kick.

ceviche
Our hands down favorites of the evening were the Aqua Chile and the platter of tacos. The Aqua Chile is similar to ceviche.  It was filled with Mexican gulf shrimp, papaya limewater, cucumber chips and a great textural addition of mahi mahi. You know the flavors are just right when you take a bite and have to pause a minute in middle of chewing because it’s so pleasing to the palate.

The platter of tacos consisted of the Al Pastor, the Calabaza, Maiz & Hongos and the Col Rizada & Coloflor. The Calabaza, Maiz & Hongos was so rich and savory with roasted butternut squash, shiitake shrooms, corn and a lime chive aioli.

taco platter 2

Now lets talk about the second thing Cocina is known for, the Mezcals. Andy, our rockstar server was quite up on his Mezcal knowledge. He brought us out a $22 shot of Jolglorio Madre-cuishe and the Mezcal lesson began.

mezcal

This particular Mezcal, while Mezcals characteristic is smoky was not as smoky due to its origins of the Madre cuishe plant. It’s like a giant palm tree and takes 30+ years to get one batch. You can taste the earthiness. The process is to distill it, smoke it and store it underground in open vats with layers of towels and volcanic rock. Since it’s stored in open vats it gets notes of everything around it, whether it be seaweed, cherry, etc.,

One more item you have to try before or after dinner is the house made horchata. FAVORITE ALERT! Grab the one with spiced coconut rum, cinnamon sugar/salted rum with a cinnamon stick. DELICIOUS!

Cocina Condesa
Address: 11616 Ventura Blvd. Studio City 91604
Phone: 818-579-4264
Hours: Mon-Thur. 11am-11pm, Friday & Sat. 11am-12am and Sun. 10am-10pm

Food writer. Recipe maker. Culinary producer. Explorer. Creator of EatinAsian. HuffPo & LA Wonders contributor.

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