Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tortilla Grill Mourners - Get Stoked!

When Tortilla Grill closed a few months ago ... well, tears were shed. It was such a great spot to grab something to go, meet your friends for a quick, cheap, Mexican bite, and watch the action on Abbot Kinney Boulevard go by. I know people that ate there multiple times a week and never got sick of it (especially Matt and Vav). I especially loved the smoothies there, that not everyone knew to try. The Fun In The Sun one ... I'm about to cry again.

But last night was the first night opening of the new Tortilla Grill replacement, Casa Linda. We were all set to have a grudge against it in solidarity for our old pal, TG, but guess what? No need. It's like a Genie came in, crossed their arms, nodded their head and SHAZAM! - way nicer, but otherwise almost exactly the same (including prices!) Mexican sit down or take out eatery! And I daresay ... the food is BETTER. Way better.

Scanning the menu when we walked in (same deal, menu hanging from the ceiling, order from the Counter Person, To Go or to sit in the nicer tables or in the nicer upstairs, but they bring you your food with a little number on your table, instead of having you hang around listening for it to be called - a plus), you get all the old favorites - tacos, quesadillas, burritos (just as big!), only the ingredients are nicer (Alaskan Halibut, roasted pumpkin seeds, etc..) , and even include more exotic Oaxaqueno ingredients like Tongue ("Lengua"). I'm not down with the tongue - yet - but my friend/Chef Mikey said between mouthfuls of tongue (blech), "It's REALLY good!" For now, I'll trust him on that.

One small problem ... the music that was playing when we sat down was that one song "Sometimes When We Touch ... I wanna hold you in my arms ... " that you probably roller-skated backwards to back in the day. I hated it then, I hate it now. {Blogtown trivia: Who sang that thing? I now know. Do you?} Rather than poke out our eardrums with our plastic knives, we asked if it could possibly be changed. The super-nice owner, Linda (hence the Casa LINDA - I thought it meant pretty house, which it is, but it's her namesake. She too is pretty.) Novak (of Hal's Bar and Grill a couple doors down) had no problem with it, and soon enough we found The Joint (Satellite Reggae Station) and the entire mood picked up in the place immediately. Everyone is happier when reggae is playing. You can't help it. I hope they kept it on. Let me know. Better yet, let THEM know.

So after that ambiance enhancement, we dug into our food. Every last one of us LOVED what we had. Awesome chips, great spicy salsas (if you like condiments), great guacamole - all crucial indicators on if a Mexican place is decent. This is far better than decent, and it was only opening night. Remember how the carne would be kind of gristly in Tortilla Grill things? Not so here. DELICIOUS carne, like how it's really supposed to be done. Lari had her selective eater brother Tommy with, and they were also very nice about accommodating his special request plainy-plain burrito. I told Linda that we appreciated her spoiling of us, and she said, "Oh, my pleasure, sweetheart." I like her already.

Jenny would like to see cheese in the Veggie burrito, but that can be asked for. What cannot (so far) be asked for is sour cream. It's BYOSC over there, which doesn't make sense to me. Let's all keep bugging them for it every time we go (and I'm sure it will be often) and that should fix that. Oh, and it's also BYOB, but that's no change from when it was Tortilla Grill. Just put your cervezas on ice at home, go pick up the food, return and indulge. If you like your Mexican (and who doesn't in these parts?), you are stoked.

Casa Linda is open from 11 am to 9 pm, and you can place your order at (310) 664.1177. The heavy wood door is also an improvement, and you will see it on the corner of AKBlvd. and California, 1357 Abbot Kinney, Venice, for you Mapquesters.

Fun In The Sun can now rest in peace, as my new jam of a drink is the Summer Melon stuff they have (a better tasting one of those watermelon water drinks TG used to have), that you drink half of and then fill up the rest with Sprite. It is delightful, and I don't mind at all if you copy me.

As I'm telling you about this, I'm thinking about how happy Matt and Vav are going to be when they get back from Australia and visit Casa Linda for the first time. I'm also thinking it's almost past lunch time and I could just amble down to Casa Linds ...

Yep, they're going to be seeing a lot of us.

1 comment:

  1. Tortiila Grill,was a great spot,but it was F$$#@@#$ing disgusting.It was dirty, the food was too greasy, and the guys would treat you like dog shit,like they were doing you a favor to take your money.Back in the day they were the only ones and they could do wherever they want.But when people have choices then treating costumers like shit, wont work for to long.