Tasty Tortas

Downtown Los Angeles now has Executive Chef, Founder, and restaurant entrepreneur Jimmy Shaw’s Loteria Grill. Always thinking ahead, he built a Mexican sandwich Torta Company next to his signature restaurant to serve warm and tasty fare.

For those who read my review of Loteria Grill – http://dineandtravel.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/authentic-mexican-cuisine-in-la, you will understand why this affable image003chef is one of my favorites.

On Friday the 13th of December, I attended an Opening Night of Torta Company and Loteria Grill. I was excited to try his new restaurants at FIG at 7th. Located on the first floor inside TASTE, it’s a gourmet food court.

MELT is across the way serving up epicurean grilled cheese sandwiches. I was happy to also see Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef, Joe Kim, open a Flying Pig inside this new development (Read my review of Flying Pig – http://parklabreanewsbeverlypress.com/news/2011/07/flying-pig-cafe).  Kim told me that his Flying Pig has been open for four months.

We were led into the TASTE to the makeshift bar, not everything was up and running yet at this clean and brand new gastronome. Jalapeño, Tamarind and traditional Margaritas were being custom-made for the 100 guests.
Sous chefs were making Shaw’s famous soft tacos with chicken mole poblano, carnitas en salsa morita, and papa con rajas with creamy potatoes.  We nibbled on each of the authentic tasting Mexico City-style tacos before the Tortas arrived.

Served wrapped in paper and hot off the grill, Shaw and his brother served up one of the most unique tasting sandwiches I have ever had. They are divided into categories: IMG_5887Vegetarian, Chicken/Turkey, Fish, Beef, Pork and my favorite La Cubana. Chef Jimmy Shaw’s brother Andrew Shaw created this tasty torta. Imagine black beans spread on authentic Telera rolls fresh out of the oven, and topped with smoked ham, melted white cheddar cheese, tomatoes, onions, avocado, chipotle mayo and a cilantro dressing. It’s distinctive flavors will keep people downtown happy at lunch or when they take one home for dinner.

The two vegetarian tortas are a roasted poblano peppers and Oaxaca cheese with pinto beans or an oyster mushroom stewed in a tomato-chipotle sauce with avocado and Oaxaca cheese.

Chicken Tortas include a breaded cutlet with black beans, onions avocado, chipotle mayo and cilantro dressing or a turkey mole sandwich

Fish is either Shaw’s famous red snapper Veracruz with olives, jalapeños and a caper sauce or an exquisite tuna melt with Gruyere cheese, avocado and sweet dill jalapeños.

Shaw offers a roast beef torta with a Mexican twist and a chorizo cheese steak that tastes like a Philly cheese steak with Mexican flavors.

IMG_5888His pulled pork is tender and juicy, as is his smoked Black Forest ham and cheddar cheese.

There is a Caesar salad and Jicama slaw of the menu to accompany the Tortas.

For those with a sweet tooth, the banana and Cajeta torta. Cajeta is a milk based sauce similar to caramel. For early risers wanting to take breakfast to their desk, there are three breakfast tortas to get you going until lunch.

Located at FIG at 7th, Loteria Grill and Torta Company will be a spot you visit often when downtown at work or shopping. Go to: Tortacompany.com.





Fig at 7th

732 S. Figueroa St.

Los Angeles, 90017



National Taco Day in LA

Casa Vega

Casa Vega

National Taco Day is October 4. What better way to celebrate than to go to one of the restaurants below and order a giant margarita with a plate of tacos. Here are some deals my favorite restaurants are offering in honor of the soft or crispy taco –

Los Gringos Locos 

Since today is such a special day, Gringos is serving three roasted pork belly tacos with caramelized onions, spices, rice and beans for $10. This pairs nicely with a $5 Habanero, Jicama, Prickly Pear, Pineapple or Mango margarita. 631 Foothill Blvd. La Canada, (818)790-2696.
Casa Vega

The Valley’s celebrity hot-spot is offering beef taquitos con guacamole or crispy four chicken flautas with creamy salso roja for 50% off their normal price on Friday, October 4 to celebrate National Taco Day. 13301 Ventura Blvd (818)788-4868.

International flavors at Mondo Taco

International flavors at Mondo Taco

Taco Mondo

One of my favorite taco shops located in a mini-mall offers braised short rib with a horseradish slaw, Moroccan lamb with a chimichurri sauce, grilled shrimp with chili sesame oil, soyrizo with peppers and mushrooms, and shredded pork topped with Dijon mushroom cream. Order one of the thirst-quenching frescas. I love the fresh watermelon or refreshing blueberry/ginger beverage. 1292 S La Brea Ave. (323) 939-0161.

Petty Cash

Hang out on Beverly during National Taco Day at one of the coolest taquerias in town. Chef Walter Manzke and his staff are offering one taco of your choice with a Modena on draft for $8 on Friday. DJ Stepdad – Davie Fernie will provide great tunes. 7360 Beverly Blvd. (323)933-5300.

Goat Tacos

Ebanos Crossing in downtown Los Angeles is a newer dining venue offering goat tacos that are braised in Mediterranean spices and garnished with yogurt slaw and rosemary oil. Pair them with a rum, mezcal, or tequila cocktail. 200 S. Hill St. (213)935-8829.

Skinny Style Tacos

Tortilla Republic has tacos de jicama with thinly sliced jicama “tortillas” filled with shrimp, chipotle mayo, cilantro, red onion, avocado and roasted corn salsa served on butter lettuce wraps. They also serve a sweet potato hibiscus flower taco has jicama, beets, queso fresco, sweet potato, hibiscus vinaigrette and cilantro. Both go nicely with a margarita. 616 N. Robertson Blvd. (310)657-9888.

Skinny taco at Tortilla Grill

Skinny taco at Tortilla Republic

Tacos for Bacon Lovers

Loteria Grill offers the “Three Little Pigs” tacos with juicy carnitas, crispy bacon with salsa morita, finely chopped onion and cilantro with pork rind chips. Farmers Market – 6333 W 3rd St. (323)930-2211, Hollywood – 6627 Hollywood Blvd. (323)465-2500, Studio City – 12050 Ventura Blvd. (818)508-5300, Westlake Village – 180 Promenade Way (805)379-1800 and Santa Monica – 1251 3rd St. (310)393-2700.

Happy Hour at Frida

Enjoy a good deal at the Americana at Brand during Happy Hour from 3 to 7 p.m. All drink specials and draft beers are $4. Sangria and well drinks are $5. Sip a martini, mojitos or margaritas for $6. Wines by the glass are $4 or order a bottle for $15. All go well with tacos. 750 Americana Way (818)551-1666


Sushi Roku

Sushi Roku

Roku Style” Albacore Tacos fuse Latin American and Japanese cuisines, wrapping chunks of albacore tuna in crispy wonton wrappers before topping them with creamy guacamole and a tangy Asian salsa. 8445 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, (323) 655-6767 and 33 Miller Alley, Pasadena (626)683-3000.

M Café

Macrobiotic cuisine enthusiasts love the Tokyo TJ Tacos, featuring soy-and sake-marinated black cod or tofu in warm, sprouted corn tortillas with avocado, daikon sprouts, pickled onions, shredded cabbage, and yuzu mayo, served with choice of pinto or black beans, crispy corn chips and lime. 7119 Melrose Ave. (323)525-0588 and 9433 Brighton Way (310)858-8459.


If you are in the Marina del Rey area, Ricardo Zarate makes a wonder Paiche Lettuce Wrap made with pieces of the Amazonian fish anticucho miso-marinated and grilled with crispy sweet potato. 13488 Maxella Ave  Marina del Rey
(310) 893-6100


For a raw, living foods spin on the classic Vietnamese sandwich, check out Matthew Kenney’s Banh Mi Taco, with maitake mushrooms, guacamole, chipotle crème, carrot, and radish. 395 Santa Monica Place #333, (310) 394-7046.

Taco at M.A.K.E

Taco at M.A.K.E


Korean BBQ has joined the taco trend with Bibigo’s Green Taco filled with bulgogi in Boston lettuce, and topped with pickled daikon slices, pickled pepper, cilantro, and fresh tomato salsa dressing. Get a taco and beer at all three locations- 1091 Broxton Ave. (310) 824-0011, 225 S. Beverly Dr. Beverly Hills (310) 275-0011 and 10252 Santa Monica Blvd. (Century City Mall) (310) 557-0011.