A very long time ago, when Magneto was still living in the Hollywood Hills, he took me to his favorite Mexican restaurant. We feasted and drank with abandon.
One of my favorite dishes from the night was the Dos Gringas, bringing back memories of grabbing a quick bite with my parents at the local taco joint where we enjoyed our favorite tacos al pastor. The Dos Gringas at Mercado is a plate of two tacos al pastor, the pork spit-roasted before being placed on light flour tortillas and garnished with oaxaca cheese, red onions, cilantro, Yxta salsa brava, and avocado salsa. While the tacos al pastor I shared with my parents were decidedly less fancy, I’ll never forget the warmth and comfort they brought me – and the Dos Gringas at Mercado captured that flavor perfectly.
Of course, it wasn’t all comfort food there. Magneto opened my eyes to the Raja Poblanas, an incredible vegetable dish of poblano strips, sweet corn, spicy queso añejo. Served with corn tortillas, this is a meal in itself. I prefer to scoop up as much of the creamy sauce as possible with tortilla chips, but that’s just me.
For drinks, we started with the Margarita De Jamaica, which consists of a magical combination of altos reposado tequila, triple sec, fresh hibiscus, and fresh sour. Garnished with a blood orange because they happened to be in season at the moment, these super strong drinks went down smoothly despite the heavy alcohol content.
Later in the evening, we tried a mezcal cocktail (see top photo) that was a cross between an old fashioned and a margarita. Sounds crazy, I know, but the smoky-sweet mezcal blended so nicely with the bitters that this drink changed my mind about fusion cocktails forever.
We ordered dessert – flan – and it’s something Mercado is fairly famous for. But the real winner was the flan cocktail that our bartender made for us by taking a couple spoonfuls of our flan, mixing with what he called “Mexican Bailey’s” and adding a frothed egg white, as well as some mystery ingredient he wouldn’t share so that we’d come back.
A lot of time has passed between that first visit to Mercado and today, but whenever I think of my favorite things, the tacos al pastor with my parents and Mercado with Magneto are high up on the list.