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This place is always mentioned when people talk about L.A.'s best tamales, and its owner, Angelita Alvarez Renteria, has been a community fixture since Lenchita's opened in the late 1970s. You should probably consider Lenchita's combination platters, not just tacos and chiles rellenos and tamales, but also grandmother-style stews plopped onto a plate with rice and beans, informal tastes of plain, second-generation Mexican home cooking served with big stacks of freshly made tortillas. You will find most of the usual antojitos at Lenchita's, snacks based on the kitchen's handmade masa - dryish gorditas, vaguely similar to rounds of Mexican pita, split and filled; rudimentary tacos so big you can barely get them into your mouth; and simple quesadillas stuffed with melted cheese. The sopes are especially nice, and soups are good too, also quite plain but among the best of their kind in Los Angeles: rich chicken soup, a chile-laced beef soup called picadillo, and a minty broth barely concealing a lode of enormous albondigas - loose, delicious meatballs flavored with onions and herbs that dissolve in a gush of liquid in your mouth.
For some people, discussions of Lenchita’s begin with the massive weekend lines: Pacoima’s minivan set, Dodger-lidded four-generation families, hot CSUN kids out for a Saturday-morning bowl of albondigas — a vague, undifferentiated mass that... More »
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