Friday, January 9, 2009

Me encanta El Carmen

She drew me in with her seductive perfume.

well, not really....

But after nearly missing, but passing by many times, I finally got a chance to check out El Carmen.

I love how LA has such a large variety of Mexican eating/drinking joints. You get your ghetto yet delicious taco trucks, your highbrow cantinas (like Ciudad or Casa). Then you have these nifty little bar/restaurants like El Carmen.

Walking in, it's like you've stepped into a world of mariachis mashed up with your favorite luchadores mashed up with your favorite tequila library. It's lit up in multi-reddish christmas lights, but it's not in a tacky way. The walls are adorned with portraits of mexican masked wrestlers (luchadores), but it's not brusque or intimidating.

After seeing the big old jar at the bar filled with pineapple chunks and finding out from the bartenderess that this was indeed pineapple-infused tequila, it's flavor quite surprised me. It wasn't sweet like I expected. Rather, it had the pungent tequila aroma I expected, laced with a hint of the pineapply spice. It's hard to explain, you'll just have to order it yourself ($8) :P Add a dash of salt to your hand before gulping that tequila and it'll enhace everything even more...

This place is literally a tequila library - there were pages upon pages of tequilas on the menu. I wouldn't be surprised if it numbered over 100! So if you want to graduate from "let's get drunk with tequila shots!" and elevate yourself to a true tequila connoisseur, this just might be your place.

They also have a yummy sounding food menu with the standard taco/enchilada/tamale fare for under $10. I also recall a tomatillo glazed rib entree that sounded interesting.

I came to this place on a Wednesday night and it wasn't too crazy, but I've been told it can be a real clusterf*ck on weekends. But then again, if you wanted to be in an empty room with a bunch of booze, why would you even leave your house in the first place, right?

El Carmen
8138 W 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(323) 852-1552

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