The thing about Mexican food in Sydney is that there is no Mexican food in Sydney.
Please do not tell me you just muttered the words Guzman Y Gomez in response to what I just said. Sorry, I’m not trying to be a hater. But I’m in LA, and if there’s one place that does Mexican food right, it’s Mexico. BUT second to that, it’s LA, hands down.
Approximately 49% of the population of Los Angeles County is Hispanic, and due to its close proximity to Mexico, the authentic cuisine here is really something to taco-bout. Also, fun fact, did you know burritos and nachos are actually American inventions? What a time to be alive.
The food in LA is off the chain, and every time I visit I am reminded by how little I know about the art of melting cheese. To spare you the same sense of bewilderment, here’s three important lessons LA taught me when it comes to chowing down.
LOS ANGELES KNOWS HOW TO DO MEXICAN FOOD
I know I’ve already harped on about the plethora of incredible Mexican food in LA, but when you’re a passionate disciple of rice and beans, there’s always more to say.
For instance, what’s mind blowing about many of the most popular Mexican dishes (enchiladas, quesadillas, tacos, burritos, and nachos) is that they are mostly all made up of the same five ingredients—tortilla, cheese, beans, rice and salsa. But the way they’re cooked makes each of them taste completely different and delicious in their own unique and beautiful way.
In LA, there are seriously so many Mexican food joints it’s impossible to tell you where to go, but if you find yourself on the east side, hit up El Compadre for the carne asada burrito (pro-tip: get it wet), or Yuca’s in Los Feliz where your order is written in sharpie on a paper plate the Abuela then Frisbees into the kitchen.
And of course, for a real LA experience, hit up the best closest taco truck (which is Leo’s Taco’s if you find yourself in Eagle Rock.)
CHICAGO’S DEEP DISH PIZZA IS BETTER IN ECHO PARK
Illinoisans favour baking their pizzas in a deep-set pan, filling it to the brim with copious amounts of cheese and chunky tomato sauce, and dubbing it Chicago-style Deep Dish Pizza.
I’ve eaten deep dish at Chicago’s notorious Gino’s East restaurant, and I’ve eaten deep dish at Los Angeles’ bakery Masa of Echo Park, and what I have to say may shock you. Masa’s was better. They do this one called California Vegetable, and that’s all you knead to know. Sorry, that was cheesy.
THE BEST CHEESEBURGER IS SIMPLY A BURGER WITH CHEESE
What’s the deal with beetroot on a burger? As if that wasn’t bad enough, we try slap a fried egg and a slice of pineapple on there as well. So gourmet, mate. The formula for a classic burger in LA is much simpler, and there’s only one place to get it: In N Out.
The fast food chain was established in 1948, and up until the last decade, operated solely in California. It’s got a cult like following on the west coast and for good reason—it makes the best cheeseburger in the world.
The lineup is simple—a lean beef patty between two buns, served with lettuce, tomato, melted American cheddar cheese, and In N Out’s signature thousand island sauce. There’s also a secret menu available to those in the know, so if you wanna mix things up a little, ask for your meal ‘animal style’.
So many lessons, so little time. Till next time, LA.