As children, being an adult seemed so ideal that we wanted to grow up instantly.
It would only be a matter of time for us to realize it was all a lie and that we could never get the forced daytime naps back. Adulting isn’t all we were led to believe because it can become so demanding that we need to escape our everyday. Within the responsibilities of our lives we get an itch. It starts off relatively unnoticeable until the itch becomes the only thing you can think about. It’s not chicken pox and it’s not scabies, it’s wanderlust. The uncontrollable desire to travel and break the pattern of being anywhere other than at your desk takes over our thoughts. For the lucky, your bank account will allot you the ability to explore cities and cultures outside your own. Dubai, Amsterdam, Mexico will become stamped within your passport. For those not so lucky to utilize vacation days, we do have an alternative (Angeleno’s in particular). Not as expensive but with the same amount of freedom, we can feel as if we’ve hopped on a plane to another country thanks to Salazar in Los Angeles.
As an adult, I need a break from my everyday and reliving my Mexico City eats on my blog wasn’t enough. Thankfully, a friend put me on to one of LA’s newest restaurants that felt nothing like LA. “It’s just amazing” he texted. As quiet and reserved as he is, those three words were enough to propel me to make a reservation. Later that day, TJ and I were stepping across the white stone walkway and taken to our table.
It really was as amazing as he described. The restaurant enclosed by the dark night was lit up by a flowing arrangement of lights across the outdoor dining area. Walking across sand made the essence of a beach flow throughout my body. Not just any beach one in Sonora, Mexico; sorry Santa Monica. The brightly colored chairs sitting next to the deep wood tables made it feel like it could have been a gorgeous summer day as the sun came down to welcome evening. Sure it was a chilly winter in November, but I didn’t mind.
As we became familiar with the restaurant, the lovely waitress April arrived to take us through the menu. Top to bottom and front to back, she helped us find a few dishes to get and sent them to the kitchen. As we waited for them to come, our table was blessed with water and champagne. To be specific, it was Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs Brut Rose NV ($15 glass, $37 bottle). The wine was light and sweet with continuous bubbles making it the perfect way to start the dinner.
The first plate we shared was a pair of tacos: Carne Asada ($3.75, not pictured) and Al Pastor ($3.75) to be exact. The asada (steak) taco was made with avocado, salsa vaquero, cilantro, and red onions on a flour tortilla. Almost identical, the al pastor (pork) had avocado, salsa vaquero, cilantro, and red onions, and pineapples on a flour tortilla. Both tacos were delicious, but it was the al pastor that was the clear winner. Reason being, the pork has such a dynamic flavor that was enhanced by the toppings. The pineapple had to be the smartest addition to the taco. Whichever chef in the kitchen decided that pineapples should be put alongside pork should be second in line to be Christ in case He’s too busy one day because it is heavenly. Instead of vice president, we could call him vice savior. That actually has a nice ring to it. Here, the juice from the pineapple cascades over the pork in such a way that you mentally let your body escape deep into the restaurant.
As soon as the tacos were removed from the table, our sides replaced the empty plates. The first was the Esquites ($7) followed by the Frijoles Puercos ($7). The esquites (street corn) was cut off the cob and placed in a bowl making it easy to enjoy. Each bite had a pleasant dose of cool juiciness and sweetness that stays with you long after you cleared the bowl. Trust me, you’ll clear the bowl.
The frijoles made of pinto beans, queso fresco, and pork belly had such a smooth texture that it was impossible for me to keep my eyes open as I ate it. The beans are pureed to a delightful creaminess and the sprinkle of cheese adds a taste that will have you thinking about Salazar days later.
For the two previous dishes to be considered sides, they were pretty filling! That became apparent as our entrées arrived. TJ ordered the Pork Chop ($24). The Niman Ranch all natural slice of meat sat on top of a sliced pineapple and served with a bell pepper. The skin of the pork carries a nice smoky flavor while the meat was tender and thick. Another incorporation of pineapple by the vice savior was an impeccable decision as the pork absorbs the fruit to make a perfect blend. Ultimately, the incorporation of the pineapple seasons the meat while it waits for your knife and fork to cut through it. How considerate!
After I stopped stealing bites of TJ’s food, I focused on my Rainbow Trout ($22). The zarandeado was beautifully sliced open. Each grab of the fish could easily be picked up by your fork with little effort. Every bite was full of a delicious flavor that was purposefully subtle. From the sauce to the fish, every taste of it was slow and progressive making it a plate that you have to savor and enjoy slowly.
The final dish of what felt like a vacation was the Campfire ($9): a chocolate soufflé, toasted marshmallow, tequila chocolate ice cream, with a graham cracker crumble on top. The entire description sounded like a childhood memory with an adult twist thanks to the tequila. The taste of it made me feel like I was on a mental roller coaster that started in my mouth. It was intensely rich and decadent. From the airy marshmallow to the deep chocolate soufflé there were a lot of dynamic flavors to take in, in the best way possible. My favorite part of it was the light aspect of the tequila in the chocolate ice cream. The liquor is more of an after taste; if you were hoping you would get drunk on it, think again. It’s just enough you give you the calmest buzz or to make you decide on getting another cocktail. Smart move, vice savior. Eat a bit more of the campfire and you’ll be ordering a drink with April in no time. But she’ll probably already have it ready for you.
Dinner at Salazar was wonderful from start to finish. From the moment I walked across the sand to my last bite of dessert I felt like I was taken away from the everyday hustle that comes with adulthood. Although I never left my city and returned to life the minute I walked out of Salazar, for a brief moment I got to fulfill my desire of wanderlust without the costly plane ticket. A beautiful restaurant, an enriching atmosphere, and mouthwatering food was exactly what I needed, and I didn’t even have to use my vacation days.
Take that, Southwest Airlines.
Address: 2490 Fletcher Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90039
Phone: (858) 352-7737
Hours: Monday – Closed, Tuesday through Thursday – 5:30pm to 12:00am, Friday – 5:30pm to 1:00am, Saturday – 10:00am to 1:00am, and Sunday – 10:00am to 10:00pm
Social: Website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- Food tastes great
- Friendly staff
- Beautiful restaurant
- Street parking or valet only