Los Antojitos is placed smack-dab in the middle of the Mexican restaurant-row of an East L.A neighborhood called Boyle Heights, which is best known to be Mariachi central and also where the movie, "Real Women Have Curves" is based.
On our list of 25 restaurants, three are located on this stretch of 1st Street. Bienvenidos a Los Antojitos. Positioned directly across the street from the LAPD Hollenbeck Police Station, I can imagine this tiny place packed with officers during breakfast and lunch.
This being number four on this list, I had high hopes. And I guess that's one of the big problems with lists such as these: you really have to manage your expectations. The review told us that Los Antojitos served a "definitive" version of machaca, a dried shredded beef and egg scramble that I ate practically every Sunday when I was a kid, when the folks would take me to our little hole-in-the-wall, El Mexicano No. 2 on Euclid Boulevard.
There was certainly nothing wrong with Los Antojitos' version, but to me, this was certainly not definitive. It was nothing special, nothing like I remembered machaca to be like -- and it certainly had to be something spectacular for me to order it week after week, month after month when I was young. The beef was tender enough, the portion was ample and the price, $6.50, was reasonable. But I didn't get that "wow" thing that I feel like I should have got for being at the number four.
As The Mayor was looking at the menu, he asked the lovely waitress how big the burritos were -- they were only $4.00. The waitress replied that they were small, so he ordered two -- one stuffed chile colorado and one with carnitas. When the huge plate of food was set before him, we laughed and laughed... these were hardly piqueño!
The Mayor packed one up immediately and went to work on the other. Again, nothing spectacular here. The prices were certainly cheap, and the staff sweet and accomodating, but this is not something I will be able to coax The Mayor out of bed for on another Saturday morning.
The best thing I had here which was new to me was the Agua de Melon -- cantaloupe water. My beloved Jamaica was not ready on this particular morning, so I branched out and was delighted. Made with fresh melon, water and sugar, it's thirst-quenching and refreshing. I won't give up the Jamaica for it, but I'm going to test out recipes to try and recreate this at home. I'd love a jug of this on hand instead of orange or cranberry juice once in a while.
2112 East 1st Street
Boyle Heights, CA