If you’d like to hear ELV deliver the following words in the mellifluous tones for which he is known, click here. Otherwise, continue reading after the jump.
“Discovering” LOS ANTOJOS
The words “los antojos” means small cravings or snacks. It is also the name of a restaurant I “discovered” two months weeks ago even though it’s been in business for fifteen years at the corner of Eastern and Sahara.
The food is so good, and so downright Mexican and authentic, that I’ve eaten there four times in twelve days and have been telling everyone who follows me on Twitter and Facebook all about each of my meals.
I even got the great Max Jacobson there yesterday for his first stab at the place and like me, he expressed embarrassment that he hadn’t been there in all the years he’s been reporting on the Vegas restaurant scene.
And as long as I’m naming names, I should tell you that the only reason it even came on my radar screen is because uber-chef Alex Stratta was turned on to the place by one of his Mexican cooks, and the Weekly reported on it as one of his favorite local spots.
All of which just goes to show you how we white folks can really drop the ball when it comes to finding great, ethnic cuisine – even when it’s right under our noses.
And this comes as something as a come-uppance for me and Max since both of us pride ourselves on being able to spot the obscure and the excellent when it comes to foreign eats.
Thinking back, perhaps I relaxed a bit after my “discovery” of Los Molcajetes last year – thinking that there were no more Mexicali mountains left to climb.
I did find another tasty hole-in-the-wall in the Northeastern part of town recently, but decided against reporting on it after I found myself sharing my enchilada with a cucaracha.
But bugs or none, that joint can’t hold a candle to Los Antojos. Chef/owner Carmen Ruiz runs the kitchen, and from what I can tell her kids and grandkids run everything else in this tiny, twenty seat place. What she dishes out are everything from a chipotle salsa that had Max and me swooning, to a consommé “loco” that’s the last word in chicken soups.
Unlike most Mexican restaurants, the corn tortillas here are feather-light, and you haven’t had a taco until you’ve tasted Ruiz’s adobo, al pastor, or chicken mole placed on top of one. The huarache carne asada – basically a large, thin steak on top of a sandal-shaped thick tortilla – was also a revelation, as is the alambre – basically a steak and pepper hash.
As superior as all of those are to the usual Mexican fare you find around town, it was the gorditas chicharron (sort of a pork rind sandwich) that had Mad Max exclaiming over and over…”This is (expletive deleted) GREAT!”
Yours truly, of course, is too dignified and reserved to ever resort to such profanity – even in the service of something as praiseworthy as Los Antojos’s house-made flan, which is, by the way (expletive deleted) FANTASTIC!