April 23, 2011

La Golondrina

Combination Plate (chicken enchilada, chile tamale, rice and beans)

There's sushi in Little Tokyo, dim sum in Chinatown, and in between the two better known neighborhoods, there is Olvera Street, allegedly, "the general site of the birthplace of the city of Los Angeles." { link }  Deemed a historic part of downtown LA, some may view Olvera Street as a tourist trap with underwhelming attractions and overpriced food.  Maybe it was the colorful pinatas, serapes, and other tchotchkes displayed on the vendor carts lining the center of the street or the mere fact that I've never been there (rosy first-time goggles), or maybe it was because it was my last day at work and I was already running high on nostalgia, but I found Olvera Street to be charming and welcoming.

Keeping true to tradition, my boss(es) took the externs out for our last chambers lunch at La Golondrina on good ol' Olvera, and disappointed, I was not. Everything was great: the food on their extensive menu was tasty, the service was attentive, and for a brief moment, I felt like I was dining at a homey restaurant in Puerto Vallarta (keyword: brief).  But really, with the mariachi band playing in the background, the dark wood paneling, and colorful art hanging from the walls, the ambiance was whimsical compared to the other downtown places I've lunched at in the past.

The homemade corn tortilla and flavorful chicken of my chicken enchilada paired particularly well with a drizzle of the spicy salsa, which you have to ask for (if you're up for it).  The corn from the tamale gave a sweet touch to the kick of chile.

I'll be back, La Golondrina!  Perhaps next time, with a margarita (or two) from the bar.

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cuisine:  Mexican
location: DTLA
website: yelp }
attire: Casual
parking: street meters 
notes: Can get kind of noisy, but is all sorts of fun.  Ole!