Socalo for lunch

Met a friend here for lunch. Really wanted it to be good since husband works close by. You order at a counter for lunch. The place wasn’t very busy, maybe half full, but the din was such that ordering was difficult. The cashier couldn’t hear what I said and my friend, standing next to me, could not hear what cashier said. Very bad set-up. They were out of the cauliflower, the cashier said, and I have to repeat to friend. Whole order went like that.

My friend wanted the chips and guacamole. The guacamole was good, but one of the salsas that came with it tasted like a fruit salad. No heat whatsoever. The other salsa was oil based, and had good flavor but not very hot. I don’t really want an oil based salsa with my chips, but that is just me.

The cashier recommend the corn in place of the cauliflower. I found it odd tasting, with a vinegar flavor that didn’t go with the sweetness of the corn.

I asked the cashier if the fish ceviche and ceviche with octupus, etc, tasted similar. She said no, so we got both.

The fish ceviche was fine. My friend found it too fishy, but she is not an adventurous eater.

The mixed ceviche didn’t taste super fresh.

I found myself wondering why anyone would go here instead of ConiSeafood. Nothing spicy. Is that the westside/santa monica diner palate?

The last thing we got was the chicken skin. I thought this would be good. It was like saccharin to sugar. In Vancouver, we had chicken skins fried and dipped in chocolate. Delicious! And in New Orleans, chicken skin was fried onto fish. Fantastic. But this just made me realize how great chicarrones are and wish I had a plate full of those, instead.

Maybe 25 years ago this would have been cutting edge in Santa Monica, but now it just felt lacking in the heat and flavor we expect from good Mexican good. I had wanted to order the chiles toreados because I love the ones at Aqui es Texcoco, but then I realized they were just shishitos. Don’t get me wrong, I love shishitos, I grow them every year. But as calling them chiles toreados just seems wrong.

I did get croissants for next day. And we heated them in oven and they were delicious. Not sure where but I know they come from some bakery.


Dinner was worse.

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susan feninger and mary sue milliken are great esp for what they were able to accomplish back in the early 80’s being pioneering female chefs…but i think you nailed it on the the head