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Elvirita's: 99 Essential Restaurants 2011 

Thursday, Nov 10 2011
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In the great march of regional Mexican cooking across Los Angeles, the cuisine of Puebla is usually reduced to a pair of dishes: mole poblano, which has become a generic term referring to pretty much any mole not made by Oaxacans, and cemitas. In one way, this is a shame, as anybody who has ever tasted mole de panza (not a mole), one of the world's greatest tripe soups, can attest. But the cemita is perhaps the greatest of Mexico's sandwiches — a multilayered concoction on an oversized, sesame-seeded roll, griddle-toasted to a fine, oily crunchiness and crammed with ripe avocado, smoky chipotle chiles, an astringent herb called papalo and threads of hand-shredded quesillo. There is a layer of meat over the chiles, usually a parchment-thin sheet of breaded, fried beef or chicken burnished to a bronzed crispness in a vat of hot, clean oil, but sometimes carnitas or head cheese. At Elvirita's, perhaps the first of L.A.'s cemitas restaurants and still probably the best, there is also the poblano specialty called taco Arabe, carbonized nubs of pork (perversely enough) dressed with chipotle salsa and rolled like shawarma into a flour tortilla. Grab a bottle of mango-flavored Boing! and you're good to go. 3010 E. First St., Boyle Heights. (323) 881-0428. Daily, 10:30 a.m.-10 p.m. No alcohol. Street parking. Cash only. Mexican.

99 Essential L.A. Restaurants 2011:

Jonathan Gold's Introduction
Anne Fishbein's Photos
The Google Map

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The List:

A-Frame
Akasha
Alcazar
Angeli Caffe
Angelini Osteria
Animal
Antojitos Carmen
Attari
Babita
Bludso's
Border Grill
Bottega Louie
Bulgarini Gelato
Cacao
Campanile
Casa Bianca
Chang's Garden
Chego
Chichén Itzá
Chung King
Church & State
Ciro's
Comme Ça
Cut
Dae Bok
Din Tai Fung
Drago Centro
El Huarache Azteca
El Parian
Elvirita's
Euro Pane Bakery
Eva
Fab Hot Dogs
Father's Office
Fig
Gjelina
Golden Deli
Golden State
Good Girl Dinette
The Gorbals
Guelaguetza
Guisados
Huckleberry
Hungry Cat
Ink.
Jar
Jitlada
Kiriko
Kobawoo
La Casita Mexicana
Langer's
Larkin's
Lazy Ox Canteen
Le Comptoir
Little Dom's
Lou
Lucques
LudoBites
Lukshon
Mantee
Marouch
Mayura
Meals by Genet
Mélisse
Mezze
Mo-Chica
Mother Dough
Mozza
Musso & Frank Grill
Nem Nuong Khanh Hoa
Newport Tan Cang Seafood Restaurant
The Nickel
Night + Market
Oinkster
101 Noodle Express
Palate Food + Wine
Park's Barbecue
Picca
Playa
Pollos a la Brasa
Providence
Ray's
Red Medicine
Rivera
Rustic Canyon
Salt's Cure
Sapp Coffee Shop
Sea Harbour
Son of a Gun
Sotto
Spago
Spice Table
Street
Tacos Baja Ensenada
Tasting Kitchen
Terroni
Tsujita L.A.
Vincenti
Waterloo & City

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