It’s an odd and ambivalent thing isn’t it, that when you go into what appears to be some anonymous little restaurant and you see glowing reviews from major magazines and newspapers that have been framed and mounted on the wall, well you know you’re probably in for some good food, but on the other hand you also know that you haven’t made a “discovery.” The word is already out about this place and you’re just following the crowd.
And so it proved when I went to Cacao Mexicatessen at 1576 Colorado Blvd, in Eagle Rock - one of those order at the counter, take a number and go sit down places. It looks invitingly modest, but it has reviews from the LA Times and LA Weekly proudly displayed on the walls. And why not, although it must be said these reviews weren't exactly hot off the press.
People will tell you that the must-have dish is the Carnitas de Pato – duck confit, avocado, vinegar onion, radishes chile oil. And they’re right, and really, seeing duck confit tacos on the menu, how could you NOT order them?
Mind you, the menu indicates that they do strange and wonderful-sounding things with sea urchin – that’ll have to be next time.
There are also Mission fig mole fries - “house made French fries, topped with Mission Fig Mole poblano sauce.” Gotta say I couldn’t honestly taste the figs but French fries in a thick spicy sauce is surely good enough for anybody.
It was all good. And then, afterwards, taking a little stroll, with the Mexican goodies starting to digest inside me, just across the street and round the corner from CaCao I saw this car wash, closed but still in business, I think, and with this extraordinary sign.
Shampoo and dressing? Really? Shampoo I understand, of course, but dressing? What kind of dressing? Balsamic, thousand island, blue cheese? Does anybody want that in the interior of their car? Well, apparently some must. It’s times like this when I realize I still have a lot to learn about LA eating and driving culture.