Hollywood’s famous Jerry Baker, chef/caterer and founder of Food Matters runs two successful restaurants, (and preferred food cater at nearby Paramount Studios) in Los Angeles called Tinga offering a combo taqueria, Mexican-fusion meets gourmet-like menu in a hip, upscale funky setting.
We sampled Tinga on La Brea last night (the other outlet is in Santa Monica) and were pretty amazed by the food and fun, foodie-friendly setting. Since they don’t serve wine, we brought our own (no corkage either). However there are beers (much to the delight of Richard). The selection includes draft and bottled choices such as Mamas Little Yella Pils Pilsner; The Bruery “humulus”lager; Stone Arrogant Bastard; Stone Smoked Porter; Dogfish head 90 minute IPA; Sculpin IPA; Corona; Pacifico; Modelo; Dos Equis; Racer 5 IPA; Shiner Bock; Shiner Bock Black; Negra Modelo; Blue Moon; The Lost Abbey Avant Garde.
Tinga La Brea, which opened since 2010 on the South La Brea Corridor of Los Angeles, fast became a popular neighborhood eat in or take out joint especially among young diners (although most age groups were represented last night). The waitstaff exudes that warm Mexican hospitality and a joy of serving. They appreciate it when you show you are enjoying your food, which we did.
We began our south-of-the-border foodie foray with guacamole and chips. Just when you thought mashed avocado couldn’t get much better, this one really rocked. Then we moved on to tacos, one stuffed with braised short ribs, another with pineapple marinated pork. We also tried the flatiron quesadilla, and the Elote Especial (grilled sweet corn with lime, chili and poblano puree which got rave reviews from the three of us). Other standout dishes include quesadillas with black bean and goat cheese, potato and chorizo, and Boars Head pastrami w/gruyere and Monterey jack cheese).
For dessert, one of our party who had been there before suggested the churros served with caramel sauce, which is not something the Diva usually eats, but the other two ate them up.
Tinga, which is located at 142 S La Brea Avenue, 323-954-9566 is open for lunch and dinner Monday through Friday from noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. There is street parking after 7 p.m. on La Brea. Reservations are suggested.