I don’t know why I care. It actually makes me look bad, a so-called vegetarian succumbing to eating ground up shrimp powder? I mean, why not just go for some dolphin or tuna or shark or lobster instead of the roach of the sea? Cuz I’m an idiot, that’s why.
Yet here I am once again excitedly reminding you that during these few weeks of cuaresma you might consider trying that odd and irrelevant plate of Tortas de Camaron, a dish that will disappear for another year once the zombie Jesus squirms his way out of that tomb. It’s a strange seasonal option: the dish consists of tortas (or tortitas) which are fried shrimp-powder infused egg batter, topped with nopalitos and doused with a red chile sauce. Its the poor persons way of not eating land animals as an act of sacrifice (oh please!) meant to appease some Catholic tradition or other. I used to know, now I don’t care. It’s just a time of year with much more food options at Mexican restaurants for vegetarians. And bad vegetarians as well.
There’s something satisfying about the simplicity of this plate, its humble origins, and the pleasing contrast of textures. It just works.
It’s an option quite common all over the Eastside, might be hard to find in the rest of Los Angeles though. I once called 5 different “Mexican” places on the Westside of town, none of them seemed to know what I was talking about. Though I bet if I could have talked to the folks in the kitchen, then It might have been a different story. This time I was checking out Lencho’s, that Lincoln Heights spot that has changed hands quite a bit in the past years, though I hope this current crop of owners and their Sinalo style fare stick around.
The requisite chips and salsa. At no extra charge. Aka, a proper restaurant.
Though it looks kinda boring and unspectacular, this is easily the best example of the dish I’ve had to date. Never mind that the rice and beans were perfect, which in itself is an odd occurrence. The tortitas were the right balance of nopales, tortas, and chile sauce. Even though it was a quite mild sauce in terms of spiciness, it was rich with flavor, the kind you just want to spoon up and drink. Plus these tortas were soft and pliable, though they kept their form. Too many as of late have been quite hard and tough to eat. Not at Lencho’s.
I may try other places but now I know where to cure my cravings.
2657 Pasadena Ave 323.227.5752
Lincoln Heights, 90031