A TASTE OF BRASCA

Pollo Ala Brasca
NRETSEW
758 S. Western Avenue (approx)
Los Angeles, CA 90005

I don’t know what Ala Brasca means, but I believe Brasca is a surname so the little joint I pass each day at the corner of 8th street and Western Avenue is Pollo Ala Brasca or chicken Brasca I guess. What has intrigued me is that under their name on the big yellow sign is the word WESTERN imprinted backwards and mirrored like the word ECNALUBMA on an ambulance. I wonder who did that and why. I was also intrigued by the smoke stacks always puffing away and the large cords of wood stacked between it and the car wash that shares the triangle of land between the splits of 8th street and Western. There is no parking that I can see, but lots of foot traffic.

It was doing a brisk business when I entered and made my way to the back of the dining space to read the menu posted on the far wall. I could smell the wood burning which fueled my appetite. My eye fell on the first item Antichuchos described as “BBQ beef heart” which they sold by order of 3 or 4 sticks. Must be on skewers. Actually everything looked promising and everything the patrons were eating looked yummy, so I stepped up to the order counter and asked the boy what I he suggested. He didn’t understand me, but could see I was excited. Then I asked what he thought I would like. He smiled and his pen hovered to take my order. Then I asked what was especially good. He lit up and answered, “Especial! Si! Yes!”

That is how I got The Special. It was ¼ barbecued chicken with 2 orders of frijoles and rice. I pointed out the chichi morada and the corn chocla but the boy shook his head and said, “No…out.” Hmm, those must be popular. Then I asked about the Arroz con leche Mazamorra for $1.50 but that cool sounding rice pudding was sold out too.

I sat at a table waiting for my food, listening to the chill Mexican music and watching people slurp their Aquadito chicken soup. Not sure what their designer was going for, but this Mexican joint features a Foo dog behind the counter and those lucky cats you see in Asian establishments. The cashier beckoned me and my bill, with large drink was only $8.00. I dragged 2 large bags home and swear I could have fed a family on the contents of my lunch. The chicken was beautifully cooked with spices on the browned skin, but the meat was tender, juicy and not particularly smoky. It tasted like chicken. Nothing fancy. The rice was a bit smoky tasting as well as were the saucy black beans. I can’t identify the flavorings in the beans, but there were tiny bits of green things that I noticed as I stirred them which could have been peppers or scallion.

The nice boy had given me a container of the Aiji hot sauce that was advertised with a sign on his counter for $1.50. It was green like the color of tomatillo sauce , but baby—it’s not tomatillo! Yowzer! It packs a punch! I also got 2 containers of pico de gallo so after nibbling a bit of each item I dumped them all together and created a big giant lunch of arroz con pollo ala Brasca! Well, not all of the Aiji sauce or I’d have rendered the delicate food inedible.

It was too much for 1 meal so later that afternoon I went to the corner and got 2 ripe avocados and a lime and an onion from Santos in the van on the street – took that home and made a fresh guacamole for part 2 of my rice and chicken entrée.

Y’all know I’m not a snob, and I have no idea why this eatery has a B food rating, but it doesn’t seem to bother them or their patrons. Could be that it is the old fashioned wood way of cooking that just can’t rate an A. Whatever the reason, I will definitely stop back to try that chicken soup that everyone was savoring. It is nice that it serves food fast, but it’s not fast food. Also cool is that the pollo at Pollo Ala Brasca is not greasy or hiding under breading. A descent neighborhood joint.

Ivy

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