Mexican Food Week, we've asked a few chefs where they get their Mexican-food fix around LA. First up, Roxana Jullapat, pastry chef and co-owner of Cooks County. She's a star with the sweets and "spretzels" but goes savory with her South of the Border staples.
What's your Mexican-food guilty pleasure?
I get my Mexican-food fix almost on a weekly basis for staff meal at the restaurant. I'm the first one in line when our sous chef, Manuelito (one of the most talented cooks I've ever known), makes fish tacos. He'll put together a feast of tacos, fiery salsa and cabbage salad in less than 20 minutes. And he brings it hard on the spiciness; the entire crew - even the white kids - are well trained and can handle it. But when I'm not at the restaurant and I have a craving, I want a carne asada burrito.
Why do you love it?
The combo of chopped grilled steak, salsa and guacamole makes a perfect bite. The flour tortilla is a perfect vehicle. Tough enough to keep it all together and yet yielding enough to allow you to chip at it without it collapsing in your hands. I prefer when it's not loaded with too much rice and beans. But yes, all this char, spice and rich avocado is perfection in your mouth.
Where's your favorite place to get it?
I'm hesitant to reveal my "go-to" place, but ok, El Portrillo on Virgil in Silver Lake. A cash-only, hole-in-the-wall spot where there's always a pot of black beans simmering on the back burner.