BRINGING TASTY & UPSCALE MEXICAN CUISINE
TO THE MIRACLE MILE & HANCOCK PARK
Something the Miracle Mile and Hancock Park area has been lacking for quite some time is tasty Mexican food, unless you wanted to trek to Candela Taco Bar on La Brea near Olympic, but now that vast culinary gap has aptly been filled by Tinga, a refined South of the Border hole-in-the-wall embraced by locals.
The taqueria opened back in August and delights with its homemade chips and spicy salsa and hearty guacamole. Its specialty cuisine, including fancy and mouthwatering tacos and absolutely delicious quesadillas, are a bit pricey for Mexican food, ranging from $7-$10 for ala carte orders, but they do hit the mark and will have your palate desperate for seconds and thirds. Currently without a liquor license, they turn a blind eye if you bring your own booze and do not charge a corkage fee so plan ahead and bring something savory to drink to spice things up.
Do yourself a favor and start with the Elote Especial, grilled sweet corn with creamy lime, chili, and poblano puree. At $5 a pop its pricy for a small plate but it’s so good that you won’t really cares about money at this point. Also, at that price it’s too good to share so make sure everyone buys his or her own. The Spicy Guacamole & Chips are definitely worth ordering, and at $5.50 they’re sharable. Do note that most taco orders come with a side of chips and salsa so you can really save some scratch here and skip the guac if you have to save somewhere.
The Tinga Specialty, two tostadas with spicy stewed chicken, crema, shredded lettuce, and picked red onion, is definitely worth having at least once. At $7.50 it tends to price itself out of being an every visit order but if you’re sharing with someone it a good one to have.
The taco orders (two tacos with chips and salsa) seem to be the way to go here. The 48 Short Rib plate with salsa verde and pickled red cabbage, raw tomatillo salsa, papas bravas, queso fresco, and crema is a must-have for meat-eaters, as are the Flat Iron Steak Tacos made with chipotle tortillas, tomato/avocado relish, dog snout salsa, pickled red onions, queso fresco, and lime chipotle Escabeche. Both orders are $8.50 which is a lot of two small tacos no matter how delicious they are so you may not want to share.
A fantastic order for non meat-eaters are the quesadillas, believe me, the Mushroom Quesadilla, prepared with wild and tame mushroom pate, jack cheese, avocado tomato salsa, and crema, along with the Black Bean Quesadilla, are incredible. I put the Mushroom Quesadilla in the must-have category. And it’s a very large item priced at $9.50 that is perfect for sharing or enough for one person as a meal. Be forewarned that the Chorizo Quesadilla with goat cheese and picked red onions is extremely rich and probably too much for one person to handle. As delicious as it is you’ll be better off sharing this one. Eat and enjoy the pending food coma that will overtake you.
As far as drinks go, the Watermelon Lemonade and the Horchata are tasty but I recommend the Dirty Horchata, a feisty combination of Horchata with a double shot of espresso. At $5 a pop if might just be too much for your wallet, or may keep you up longer than you want, but it definitely is refreshing.
Tinga is located at 142 S. La Brea between Beverly Blvd. and Third Street. Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 12pm-9pm and Sundays 12pm – 7pm. Call 323-954-9566.
Some Photography courtesy of Tinga Buena