Never having been to LA, I was really excited about trying this place for a few reasons: it's LA-inspired Mexican food (which supposedly has some of the best Mexican food), it's cheap, and lastly, I just love Mexican and could eat it every day.
Lindsay and I braved the bitter winds blowing down 6th ave and Watts St, where we found ourselves upon Lupes East La Kitchen – a kitschy, Mexican diner in the middle of practically nowhere. It's not the type of place I would want to go into just from walking by, but I guess that's what word of mouth is for. AND if that is what they're basing foot-traffic on, they might want to lighten up the attitude in this place. All the waitresses were rude, dismissive and bordering on incompetent. Case in point: I asked for two plates and I got one bowl. Yup. And we sat there for probably 15 minutes before someone even walked by; we had to ask the waitress for menus and she looked at us like we were asking for the Hope diamond.
Once we got her attention (which took some effort), we didn't want to waste time ordering, so we got chips, salsa and guac (naturally), a cup of the Chili Verde, and I ordered the Egg Chipotle Burrito off the brunch menu. You know me and my love for eggs – it can't be stopped. Take that and add my second favorite thing in the world, guacamole, and I'm a happy camper. The guacamole was really creamy and it came with a nice dollop of verde sauce in the middle, which I expected to be spicy, but it wasn't; in fact it had more of a strong lime taste than anything else. Fine by me, I love a lot of lime in my guacamole.
The Chili Verde was spicy and hearty. BIG chunks of roasted tomatoes, potatoes, peppers and onions floated around in a spicy "verde" (green) sauce, where you can see flecks of jalapeno seeds. This was when I had asked for a bowl and never got one, so I asked for two plates and finally got a bowl. Perhaps there's a special language I'm not understanding here…and I don't mean Spanish.
The Egg Chipotle Burrito is stuffed with scrambled eggs, beans, sour cream and cheese, served alongside Spanish rice, and a lettuce/tomato salad that was dressed with just a bit of vinegar. The salad was better than the burrito in my opinion – is that weird? I love things that are sour so that could be why. The burrito was huge, and I had a couple issues with it – first it needed some salt, and second it was so stuffed and melted inside, there was no texture to it. It was like a big pile of mush wrapped in a flour tortilla. I also neglected to realize that this burrito has no rice in it, which probably would have helped soak up some of the liquids. But I am a problem solver, so I mixed guacamole with a lot of it, which added a cool, creamy texture and a hint of tart lime taste to the mild sour cream and cheese. Mucho bueno.
As usual, I stuffed myself just like that burrito. I don't know what it is about Mexican food, but I can just keep eating it. I love it. Both of us full beyond comprehension, we still wanted to just "taste" the Mexican Wedding Cookies they had sitting up by the counter. This traditional cookie is a buttery sugar cookie usually made with nuts and rolled in powdered sugar. Mmmm. It crumbled in our hands when we tried to break it, and I could see little pieces of walnuts and almonds inside. It was delicious – how can you go wrong with a buttery cookie rolled in powdered sugar? I don't think you can. Unless maybe you asked for it and didn't receive it until 15 minutes later. That might be a deal breaker for me. Lupe's Kitchen has good food and I think it's worth a visit, but be prepared to stare down the waitresses and throw up your gang signs à la LA.