A steady stopby on Van Nuys
5142 Van Nuys Blvd. (south of Magnolia, in Sherman Oaks)
Phone: 818-501-9065 | map
La Fogata is reliably in-between, a unique mien that Valley-based Mexican eateries have: a counter-order place with too much decor and booth seating to be a fast food joint*. Small rooms jut from the main area, with bullfighting posters and smiling porcelain sun faces populating every wall.
Look over the menu above the counter, then turn about-face and read the other menu on the opposite wall. Color photos cause indecision. I am usually not compelled to explore too deeply here, as if the universe is all right with my taking it easy.
When pulling away from my usual burrito-plus-a-taco habits, I have the Chicken Breast dinner. A big, symmetrically satisfying brace of chicken, grilled golden, skin stiffened only just, presides between the expected rice-and-beans fare.
The rice is standard issue, but the refried beans are notably tasty, almost whipped smooth, the layer of white cheese fused into translucency. A pleasing mound of shredded lettuce, cheese and guacamole is present to stuff into your tortillas, or just to crunch for the coolness.
The salsas are happily chunky and good enough, and except for a slight boost in bite, the difference between the mild and hot cannot be discerned in appearance nor in heat. I spoon hearty qualities of each over everything.
However, a burrito and a taco for companionship is my frequent friend. The burritos could be a little bigger for their price, but still make for good eats.
The Chile Burrito is an elastic flour tortilla packed to capacity with nothing but lovely shreds of juicy pork, richly brown with a slight antique fuchsia tint**, and more of those creamy refried beans. The Red chili is a tad too sweetish like a ragu, so the green is a better bet.
La Fogata is better with Veracruz-style fish than, say, the Baja fish tacos, which can be dry and lackluster. The Fried Chicken Taco basically means a hard-shell taco, with miles of gentle shredded cheese on top.
Continuing with my Sherman Oaksian gringo moment, when I need simplicity I secretly like the cool habit of a Chicken Taco Salad, warmly shredded chicken fraternizing with the refried beans underneath. With a crispy pale green mound of lettuce, sour cream and guacamole, there is a well-defined transition of heat to cold.
La Fogata has its own parking lot (let's say about five cars), and the side street is usually sparse and a little spooky, but available.
** As in color. It's meant to indicate the barest touch of purple that exists in roast meat. If you didn't like that comparison, try "fandango" or "cerise."
( Categories: Cuisines (by Region), Mexican, The Valley )
|« Welcome - Where Should We Go?||John O'Groats Grille and Pub »|