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Enchilada Month!

Enchilada Month!
Enchiladas Tres Moles (de pollo o queso), smothered in mole poblano, red, and green sauces, at La Casita Mexicana in Bell. (Patrick T. Fallon / Los Angeles Times)

If you have been to La Casita Mexicana, you have probably tried one or another of the enchiladas, which rank among the very best reasons to hop in the car and drive to Bell. There are enchiladas soaked in chile sauce, in moles red, white or green, stuffed with chicken, fish or crumbly cotija cheese, topped with the dried beef called cecina, or served as a combo plate striped to resemble the Mexican flag. When you hit Lent right, you may find enchiladas filled with any manner of vegetables. On the specials board, it is not uncommon to find enfrijoladas, which are enchiladas in which the fresh tortilla has been dipped in liquidy beans instead of chili sauce.

So for regular customers, the idea of Enchilada Month may be redundant — it is always Enchilada Month at both La Casita and at its brother restaurant, Mexicano, in the Crenshaw district.

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There are 14 enchiladas on the special menu, but most of them will be familiar. The delicious enchiladas de siete chiles repurposes the cream sauce from the kitchen's dish of fish with seven chiles, and the enchiladas a la Veracruzana, with fish and a tangy tomato sauce flavored with capers and green olives, is a tortilla-intensive take on the classic pescado a la Veracruzana. If the enchiladas stuffed with smoky chicken tinga, with pork rinds softened in a sharp tomatillo salsa, or with chorizo and potatoes taste familiar, they probably should. Jaime Martin del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu have been working their versions of those flavors for a pretty long time.

But still — you're eating enchiladas, probably lots of them. The server may sigh a little but will probably let you mix up your order, so that you can get three different kinds on a plate. And afterwards, you can have café de olla and flan. As you should.

La Casita Mexicana, 4030 E. Gage Ave., Bell. (323) 773-1898  | Mexicano, 3650 W. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Los Angeles, in Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza (323) 296-0798.

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