Homegirl Cafe in Los Angeles, CA

Jury duty ended early, so I decided to head back on the Metro Gold Line and find somewhere to have lunch.  I was thinking of going to Philippe’s for french dip sandwiches in Chinatown, but I couldn’t see it from the train station.  Homegirl Cafe is right across from the station, and I had thought before that it would be good place to try sometime.  I was expecting them to serve American food, but they actually serve “contemporary Latina fare” for breakfast and lunch.  They also have a bakery called “Homeboy Bakery.”

Homegirl Cafe is a social enterprise that provides training and employment for at-risk and former gang-involved young women and men to help them become contributing members of society in restaurant service and culinary arts.  The food is delicious and unique, and I am happy to support a company like this that has a focus that goes beyond providing good food.  I had a really enjoyable lunch sitting outside and seeing the diversity of the people in the area.  Homegirl Cafe is just outside the main hub of Chinatown, but I didn’t see any Chinese people eating there.

Complimentary chips and salsa!  These chips were good and crispy, and the orange salsa was mildly spicy.

You can get a 3 taco plate for $10, so I did a mix-and-match of the achiote chicken taco, Jorja’s taco, and the red mole chicken taco.  You can also substitute a tortilla for a grilled nopal (cactus leaf) for $1, so I did that for the red mole chicken taco.  Each taco is overflowing, and I was really full after eating all 3 tacos.  The flavors are very robust and unique. The achiote chicken taco comes with chicken marinated in citrus and annato seed, cabbage jicama slaw, habanero pickled onions, and cilantro.  Jorja’s taco has sauteed hibiscus flowers and caramelized onions, and it’s topped with avocado, cucumber, serrano peppers, and cilantro.  The red mole chicken taco comes with habanero pickled onions, sesame seeds, and cilantro.  I’ve never had cactus leaf before, and it was interesting to try.  It doesn’t have too much flavor on its own, and it is a little slimy.  Jorja’s taco was the most unique of the 3 tacos.  I’ve also never had hibiscus flowers.  The sauteed flowers have the consistency and flavor of a dried fruit.  It felt kind of weird knowing that I was eating flowers!

I was very satisfied with the food and service here, and I would definitely recommend it if you’re in the area.  I hope to go again and try their other tacos and sandwiches!

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