Los Angeles County Mexican Restaurants

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Monday, June 22, 2015

L.A. Women Rule The 5th Annual Habanero Eating Contest 2015

 First-time winner is a woman Teresa de Jesus Sandoval

20 minutes and 53 chiles habaneros later new chile-eating champ is crowned in Los Angeles.

Records broken during Chichén Itzá Restaurant’s 5th Annual Chile Habanero Contest held on Father’s Day.

Vesper Public Relations. LOS ANGELES, CA (June 22, 2015) – On Sunday, June 21, 2015, a new chile habanero-eating champ was crowned by Chichén Itzá Restaurant and chef-owner Gilberto Cetina at the 5th Annual Chile Habanero Eating Contest, women ruled the contest.

Watch a snippet of the 5th Annual Habanero Eating Contest

The contest took place on Sunday, June 21, as part of the Father’s Day Celebration at downtown’s Mercado La Paloma located at 3655 S. Grand Av., Los Angeles, CA 90007.

Teres de Jesus Sandoval, from Los Angeles, managed to eat a record-breaking 53 chiles habaneros in a period of 20 minutes, breaking last year’s record by a whopping 8 chiles! Sandoval claimed the first-place trophy and a $500 gift certificate from Chichén Itzá Restaurant.

“I thought last year was something when we had a tie for first place with the winners eating 31 chiles each,” said Chef Cetina. “But this year’s champion stunned us all with his downing of 53 chiles. This puts us only 8 chiles behind the Guinness World Records for chile habanero eating.”

Taking second place, and returning for a repeat performance, & win was Octavio Sebastián from Los Angeles, who managed to eat 25 chiles. Last year he had eaten 41 chiles to take the second-place award. In addition to his second-place trophy, Sebastián received a $300 gift certificate from Chichén Itzá Restaurant.

In third place was Adela Ballesteros another woman from Los Angeles, who joined in at the last minute and ate a total of 18 chiles, but was very happy to have placed in the competition. Along with her trophy, she was awarded a $200 gift certificate from the restaurant.

10 contestants vied for awards during the 20-minute competition this year. Each was provided 45 chiles habaneros to start with along with milk, water and tacos de cochinita pibil to help wash down the fiery chiles. Each contestant received a certificate of participation and a t-shirt announcing that they had survived the chile-eating contest. Family members, friends, supporters and a lively crowd cheered on the contestants.

Make no mistake about it, these chiles are hot. Chiles habaneros rate up to 325,000 on the Scoville scale. Compare this with the jalapeño pepper that rates a mere 2,500–8,000 on the same scale.

Chichén Itzá Restaurant specializes in the cuisine of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula where folks love their ultra-hot habanero peppers. The restaurant has garnered rave reviews from loyal customers and from such publications as Travel and Leisure Magazine, GQ Magazine, L.A. Weekly, Los Angeles Times, Hispanic Magazine, and La Opinión. It was recently named by the L.A. Times food writer Jonathon Gold as one of the best 101 restaurants in the greater Los Angeles area. Chef Cetina also runs a thriving catering business and markets a line of Yucatecan culinary products under the Chichén Itzá Restaurant label that includes two chile habanero salsas. His cookbook, co-authored with Katharine A. Díaz and son, Gilberto, Jr., is available in English and Spanish: Sabores Yucatecos: A Culinary Tour of the Yucatán and Sabores yucataecos: Un recorrido culinario a Yucatán (WPR Books: Comida). Both are available on Amazon and at WPR Books.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

La Feria de los Moles 2014

Mole Display

Just a reminder that this Sunday, September 28, from 10am to 7pm is the annual Feria de Los Moles at Olvera St. in Los Angeles. Come and enjoy the festivities and try various molés from Puebla and Oaxaca. This year features a, "'Mole de Caderas' preparation which is a traditional Mixtec dish prepared with goat meat."

Official Site

Here's some photos of when I went to their blogger preview event this past Tuesday:

Click here if you are unable to view the photo album.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Chichen Itza

Chichén Itzá
3655 S Grand Ave, Ste C6
Los Angeles, CA 90011
(213) 741-1075

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Official Info

Open Sunday thru Thursday 8am - 9pm and Friday/Saturday 8am - 10pm

Chichén Itzá is part of Mercado la Paloma.

Menu Board

Event Information

Chichén Itzá Restaurant and Mercado La Paloma partner up to a host month-long celebration of the wonderful state of Yucatán, “The Magic of Yucatan;” during the month of August there will be an ongoing art exhibit featuring Yucatecan and Southern California artists, as well as delicious demonstrations on the culinary art of Yucatan.

During the month of August:

Art exhibition presented by artists: Luis Coral, Ignacio Fernández, David Mir, Mario Sibaja and more.

Cooking Demonstrations:

Tuesday August 19th - 6 p.m.: Tortilla para panuchos

Tuesday August 26th - 6 p.m.: Cochinita pibil

Every Sunday 12 p.m.

Ballet Folklórico Xanat performance.

Benefits of Chaya

Unique Item

A unique item at Chichén Itzá is their chaya aguas frescas. Chaya is a vegetable from the spinach family and is loaded with nutrients.

A Little Secret

You can purchase bottles of Chichén Itzá's habanero sauce while you are there. Yucatecan cookbooks too.


Park in the back or on the side of Mercado la Paloma. Just be aware that if you try to leave out certain exits you may be on a one-way street.

Monday, July 21, 2014

East LA Meets Napa 2014

Official Site

Click here if you can't see the slideshow above.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Arturo's Puffy Taco

Arturo's Puffy Taco
15693 Leffingwell Rd
Whittier, CA 90604
(562) 947-2250

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After hearing for years about Arturo's Puffy Taco I finally made the pilgrimage to it a couple weeks ago. Arturo's is its own blend of Tex-Mex and Southwestern-Mex. Of course, those two subsets of Mexican food are not all that dissimilar, but they do have their differences and Arturo's incorporates them both. Their namesake item, the puffy taco, is a traditional Mexican taco except that instead of being served in a crisp shell or a soft shell tortilla it is served in Navajo fry bread, which ends up being somewhere between soft and crispy. That's where the Southwestern aspect comes in, that blend of Mexican food and Native American influences. Images of sombreros resting against cacti further that just-barely-north-of-the-border theme. The fry bread holds it shape when the taco stands up instead of slumping like a soft shell does, but melds with the ingredients better than a crisp shell does. I got my first puffy taco with ground beef but you can also get it with carne asada, carnitas, carne guisada (stewed beef), chicken, or picadillo.


A Little Secret

Arturo's is CASH ONLY. I think they have one of those cheap little rickety ATM's that I hate using, and only partly because of the nasty surcharges. Also, whether you're going to eat inside or outside you still have to place your order at the outside window.



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

L.A. James Beard Award-Winning Yuca's Restaurant Honored at Día Del Yucateo Ceremony

Restaurant Owner Socorro Herrera celebrated for providing good food and love

Los Angeles, CA - Serving up some of LA's most mouth-watering Mexican cuisine, Los Angeles' very own Yuca's Restaurant founder, Socorro Herrera, is being lauded at the Ceremonial Proclamation of the Resolution of the City of Los Angeles: Día del Yucateco (Yucatan Day) on Friday May 24th, 2013 at 10 a.m. at the Los Angeles City Hall.

Herrera, A.K.A. Mama Yuca, will be honored at the ceremony, presented by Casa de la Cultura Maya (House of Mayan Culture) and honorable councilmember Ed P. Reyes. This special ceremony will celebrate the hard working people of the Yucatan living in LA who have made a significant effort to promote their culture and the state of Yucatan. Socorro Herrera used her culinary passion combined with her family's dedication of community development to make a cultural impact on this city.

Officially a local favorite and one of USA Today Travel Guide's Top 10 places to eat, Yuca's came from humble beginnings nearly 40 years ago when Socorro turned an old shoe shine booth into a thriving little taco stand. In 2007, the family opened a second location, Yuca's on Hollywood, not far from the taco stand; that location has flourished in popularity the way the taco stand did. Their delicious, authentic Yucatan recipes have been enjoyed and highly praised by a vast amount of food lovers, tourists, and food critics.

Aside from helming a popular taco stand, Mama Yuca also excelled in the role of Christmas toy and wreath vendor, fashion industry sample-maker and Avon representative. Socorro's efforts at Yuca's, along with her daughter, Dora, won the restaurant the acclaimed 2005 James Beard award and put Yuca's on the map as one of "America's Classics." Since receiving its first press review by the Los Angeles Examiner, food connoisseurs have taken an acute interest. Yuca's most popular items have been featured in many publications including LA Magazine, GQ, IN STYLE, Vogue, Ciudad Magazine and Gourmet Magazine.

Today, Dora Herrera continues to follow the family's tradition of success. Hand-picked by Fresh & Easy as the Hispanic spokesperson of its Ready-to-Cook line last summer, Dora visited different cities across the country to promote the line. She appeared on morning television showcasing how to BBQ and grill the delicious hassle-free meals. Her segment was featured on the Las Vegas, NV Spanish network Telemundo affiliate KBLR-TV and Telemundo station KUNA-TV.

Still serving the community with good food and love, Yuca's success and longevity is definitely the product of Socorro's enduring life motto - if you're going to do it, do it well. And according to a great portion of Los Angeles, Yuca's certainly does it well.

RSVP to Attend For Free: CLICK HERE

Join the celebration filled with food, music and entertainment!

When: Friday, May 24, 2013 at 10AM

Where: City Hall: 200 N. Spring Street, L.A. 90012

Friday, March 15, 2013

Bumblefoot's Hot Sauces

Just got sent a sampler of some hot sauces created by Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal, one of the guitarists for Guns N' Roses. These aren't strictly Mexican but are inspired by some of the different flavors Bumblefoot has savored while traveling the world as a musician. The one called "Normal" is probably the most straight-up Mexican one. Three are rated mild, one medium and two HOT!!! One of them even scores 6 million on the Scoville scale. If you check out this link you can see that there is a hot sauce called "Blair's Mega Death Sauce" that scores 550,000 and another one called "You can't Handle this Hot Sauce" that scores 225,000, so, yeah, 6,000,000 is pretty hot.

Bumblefoot Hot Sauces

And here's the official press release:

Guns N' Roses guitarist Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal

Launches new line of natural/gluten free gourmet hot sauces and wins 3 of the coveted Golden Chile Awards at the 2013 Fiery Food Challenge.

The Fiery Food Challenge, which kicked off ZestFest 2013, is the longest running, most prestigious competition of zesty products in the industry.

Working with the masters at CaJohns Fiery Foods, Ron developed a line of Bumblefoot hot sauces that are all natural, no preservatives, gluten free, peanut allergy safe, with flavors ranging from mild cherry bourbon "Bumblicious!" to high-energy heart-pounding "BumbleF**KED" with ginger, tropical fruit, ginseng and caffeine. Proceeds from the "BumbleBabe" hot sauce will be donated to women's health organizations.

"It was 1981, family get-together in Brooklyn. I was 12 years old, and my older cousin Steve dared me $5 to eat a hot cherry pepper. I ate it. That was my earliest memory of 'the rush' you get from spicy food. And it grew from there. Extra wasabi with sushi... extra peppers in Thai food... extra hot sauce on Mexican food. Always ordering things "as spicy as you can make it" and testing my limits. Friends would get me hot sauces as gifts; I'd be eating spicy chili and adding 12-Million-Scoville extract to it. People would ask, 'Do you even taste the flavor of the food anymore?' Yes - when you've developed a high tolerance, you can enjoy the food more, as the heat isn't a distraction, it's a complimentary sensation to the colors and aroma and taste. I love the rush."

"With music, I've always felt such excitement in discovering new bands, new sounds. It inspired me to learn and make music, to develop it, and eventually share it, give others the enjoyment I experienced from it all. It's the same for anything that inspires - art, music, entertainment, knowledge, food, everything. When you're passionate about something in life, it follows a process - you love it, then you make it, then you share it. It was like this with music, it's the same with hot sauce. Love it, make it, share it..."

"For years I've had ideas, recipes, flavors that I wanted to share. It was my good friend Brimstone at Hound Entertainment that put the pieces together and introduced me to the masters at CaJohns Fiery Foods. I flew out between GNR shows in Vegas to CaJohns' headquarters in Ohio where me, Brimstone, Cajohn Hard (CEO) and Chef Steve Lawrence played mad scientist in the kitchen and brought these flavors to life.

"And now, after years of saying 'someday' I finally got to hold bottles of Bumblefoot hot sauces in my hands, and share them with all of you. I hope you enjoy these creations! These hot sauces are available to everyone everywhere in the world through CaJohns.com. I hope to see a growing number of stores, distributors, pubs & restaurants, and food trucks carrying them. If you know one, or are one, please reach out to CaJohns! I'll be attending food festivals with Cajohns and giving my personal support whenever I can, and will keep an updated schedule of events at bumblefoot.com - hope to see you there!

"Final thought – cousin Steve never gave me the $5. I still joked about it with him when he'd see me loading hot peppers onto my turkey sandwich at get-togethers. He passed away unexpectedly, before these hot sauces had come to life. To the man who tricked me into eating my first hot pepper and started me on this journey, these hot sauces are dedicated to you." - Thank you!

Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal

Heat level: Mild
1st Place Winner at ZestFest Awards 2013, Condiments: Specialty category
Sweet & savory cherries, Bourbon & chipotle with a subtle kick – your wings, ribs, chips (and guests) will thank you.

Heat level: HOT!!!
Tropical fruit & ginger, followed by a 6-million-Scoville sledgehammer of caffeine & ginseng. Hi-energy heart-pounder for “pain junkies” like me...

Heat level: Mild
1st Place Winner at ZestFest Awards 2013, Hot Sauce: Jalapeno category
Tomatoes & Mediterranean herbs, a hot sauce that feels like a delicious salsa purée.

Heat level: HOT!!!
1st Place Winner at ZestFest Awards 2013, Hot Sauce: X Hot category
Thermo-nuclear heat with a Caribbean kick - tamarind & Island spices, Bhut Jolokia peppers, long-lasting taste & brutality. *Not for beginners.

Heat level: Medium
A twist of curry, cumin & citrus, inspired by my favorite tours of the Far East.

Heat level: Mil
Hot sauce with women's pleasure in mind – chocolate & cherry, indulgent & edgy, sweet & fiery, like the rocker ladies that inspired it.
A percentage of proceeds from the sales of BumbleBabe will be donated to help fight breast cancer

About: Ron 'Bumblefoot' Thal

Solo artist, producer & lead guitarist of Guns N' Roses Bumblefoot has 20 years of releasing music, international festivals & headlining solo tours, and covers of guitar magazines. The latest Bumblefoot releases were an innovative song-a-month series that included transcriptions and backing tracks for guitarists and recording stems for remixers, including a cover of “The Pink Panther Theme” featuring members of Guns N' Roses. Lead guitarist of Guns N' Roses since 2006, Bumblefoot has toured sold-out shows in over 40 countries, headlining festivals with crowds of 150,000. Bumblefoot's unique 'fretless guitar' can be heard throughout GNR's Chinese Democracy album.

Bumblefoot has collaborated as a songwriter/producer with many artists, his music often heard in TV, film and videogames including theme songs to SpikeTV's "MXC" and VH1's "That Metal Show", So You Think You Can Dance, Oprah Winfrey, ESPN, UFC, WWE, NFL, dozens of MTV/VH1 shows and more. Bumblefoot has appeared on stage with Joe Satriani, Nancy Sinatra, Cyndi Lauper, members of Badfinger, Paul McCartney & Wings, and on recordings with Dream Theater's Jordan Rudess, Anvil's Steve 'Lips' Kudlow, Jessica Simpson, rapper Scarface, Don Jamieson and many more.

Studying music since age 7, he began teaching at age 13 and for the last 10 years has taught music production at SUNY Purchase College. He teaches master-classes at schools and venues around the world, and has been a guest music coach on MTV's "Made". Bumblefoot is continuously donating songs and performances to fundraising CDs, often making appearances and donating autographed items for charities. He has performed at events for the Red Cross, Navy Seals, juvenile diabetes, men's & women's health issues, burn victims, Music Rising “Icons of Music” for victims of Hurricane Katrina, Oxfam's Tsunami Relief & Global Emergency Fund, Earthquake Relief Fund, Foundation Fighting Blindness, Rock Asylum for children's education, a board member of the MS Research Foundation, a member of “Musicians On Call” and visits patients at children's hospitals all over the world with guitar in hand.