By Brett Callwood
The La Pasadita meat market is located at the back of the Yas store on Vermont – a fairly standard but well-stocked and browsable grocery shop. It’s a fun place to venture into and grab a snack at any time. But at lunch or dinner time, when you have a hankering for some seasoned meats, Mexican-style, this is a great place to go.
We opted for the Carnitas plate, carnitas being slow-cooked pulled pork. This was an inspired choice, and the serving was so large that it ended up lasting for three meals for us. A heaping, generous portion of carnitas came with salad, beans, cheese and rice, plus four soft taco shells.
It wouldn’t be healthy and balanced, but we could have sat down and eaten nothing but the carnitas. The pork is cooked so beautifully that it melts in your mouth like butter. One would imagine that, when it was removed from the bone behind the scenes, it literally just fell off. It’s marinated and seasoned to glorious perfection.
These people clearly know their meat, though the sides aren’t to be sniffed at either. The rice is fluffy and full of flavor, while the rich refried beans have a slice of a hard, white cheese melted on top that adds something a little different. It all sits next to a crisp, simply salad.
You can eat it with a fork, just like that. Or you can heap the various ingredients into the tacos and chow down. Either way works fine; the individual ingredients are magnificent but they also work extremely well in combination.
When reading through the online customer reviews, it would appear that a lot of people took issue with the quality of the service, with many referring to it as “unfriendly.” That wasn’t our experience at all, so perhaps it’s something that the establishment has addressed. The staff were helpful and, if not over-friendly (it is canteen service, after all), certainly not strikingly unfriendly.
The menu is large and illustrated, so easy to understand for non-Spanish speakers. Their burritos are apparently large and delicious, though everything on the menu looks tempting.
Look around the rest of the store (which, full disclosure, is mere feet away from our office), and you can get a dessert – Mexican pastries, ice-cream and more on offer. But it’s those lunch combos that you’ll be going back for.
La Pasadita is located at 14823 Vermont Ave., Gardena 90247. Call 310-630-0197 or visit their website.