CORAZON Y MIEL
BOLD DESTINATION FOR BITES & BEVERAGES IN BELL
Thank goodness there’s more to the City of Bell than just corrupt politicians misappropriating public funds and paying themselves exorbitant salaries. There’s much more, including Corazon y Miel, a daring restaurant and bar that serves inspiring Latin-themed dishes with charm and flare unlike anything else in the area.
Just 10 minutes from Downtown Los Angeles, Bell is home to a blue collared, mostly Latino community that is lucky to have this go-to destination for first rate cocktails and delicious cuisine that is described as “a collision of the food and culture” that the three principal chefs, Eduardo Ruiz (formerly of Animal on Fairfax Avenue), Travis Hoffacker and managing partner Robin Copra, grew up on, “along with the modern boldness and culinary creativity” that inspires them.
While the menu changes regularly, rest assured the powers that be are never short of inspiration. Some have called the Corazon y Miel fare Latin pub food, which may be a stretch but it is crowd-pleasing. During our recent visit for dinner, we started with the signature Corazon y Miel—hearts and honey served in a small bowl of warm, seared chicken hearts in sweet, honeyed vinaigrette. This antojito may be too much for some diners, but it does aptly create the setting of eating slightly outside your comfort zone, yet being so richly rewarded for doing so.
Drink-wise, we started with the La Moda Antigua (Tequila Old Fashion) made with Don Abraham Añejo tequila, Angostura Bitters, brown sugar, and lime peel. Personally, at this stage in my drinking game, I’m over the Old Fashioned and Manhattan craze, but I do welcome creative variations to the classic recipes and this one is a stiff, fiery take that I enjoyed.
Likewise, the Flor y Miel Sour, made with Encanto Pisco, Cocchi Americano, Benedictine, prickly pear, lime, and egg white, is a tasty cocktail that will gently start your evening if you don’t want to get into things full guns blazing.
Other great starter items include the “Dulce de Puerco” (bacon wrapped dates), which are delightful bites of bacon, dates, almond, whipped cotija cheese, and mustard seed cider; along with the Carnitas Estilo Francés—pork rillets with pickled vegetables.
A must-have, perfect to share dish is the Ceviche de Corazon, a fresh and tasty ceviche made with shrimp, octopus, burnt peanut, and house tortilla chip.
Looking for another drink, do make it a point to ask about the "Punch of the Day" as beverage director and managing partner Robin Copraa, along with bar right-hand man Darwin Manahan, loves to make delectable punches (especially at their new pop-up Punch above the space at Picnik in Pasadena—also run by the Corazon y Miel folks). Another winning stiff drink is the Guadalajara, made with Blanco tequila, Dolin Dry Vermouth, Benedictine, lime, and bitters. You can also go with the "Dealer's Choice" $10 drink—just pick a spirit (pisco, mezcal, tequila, rum, whiskey, or gin), tell the bartender if you like your libation sweet, sour, bitter, strong or savory and they'll take care of the rest.
The menu does change frequently but my personal favorite during our visit was the Wild Boar Chilaquilles made with guajillo (a variety of chili pepper), roasted carrot crema, queso casera, and a fried egg (a vegetarian options is also available). These are so damn addicting. We couldn’t stop picking at the plate until it was spotless. It’s just so flavorful and filling and fantastic.
Two other hearty dishes that hit the spot are the Dry Rubbed Pork Shoulder ($12 per lbs) prepared with smoked “duck gravy,” fennel and raspberry slaw, and the Borrego—lamb chops barbacoa, goat cheese gnocchi, and pickled chayote. Both of these are meat eater delicacies. I would recommend ordering one or the other unless you’re eating family style. Either way you’ll be a happy camper.
Corazon y Miel also offers their “Fire the Menu” where you can eat every menu item served at a discounted price. This option is available Sunday through Thursday by reservation only for parties of five or less. This extravaganza excludes sides and alcohol.
While you’ll probably look forward to dessert all night, take my advice and opt for a liquid dessert (a favorite of mine) instead, as the bar serves a couple of “cocktails” that are hard pressed to be beat by any sweet concoction. The Borra-Chata is a delicious drink made with Ancho Spiced Rum, amaretto, cinnamon syrup, horchata, and half and half. There’s just nothing better than boozy horchata.
Another fine dessert that you can eat and drink is the Paleta En Su Jugo, made with Cana Brava Rum, Cocchi Americano, lime, coconut, and Mexican Popsicle. You can soak the Popsicle and eat it or let it melt somewhat into the drink and enjoy it that way. It’s booze; it’s a Popsicle; it’s a dessert that satisfies.
Corazon y Miel is located at 6626 Atlantic Ave in Bell. Open Tues – Sun 5pm to 10pm; Sunday Brunch 10am to 2pm. Call 323-560-1776.
Story and photos by Jose Martinez