My Meal Cost: $9.35. Health Rating A. Yelp 4 stars
My trek on Garey Avenue has brought me to my home neighborhood. For this review I actually WALKED to the restaurant, less than half a mile (adding to my steps for the day), from my Lincoln Park neighborhood home. When I started writing this blog, this location had been promised for about a year but had not yet opened. The Lovely Mrs. C and I have now been there numerous times. We had been going to the original Lily's location (on Garey just north of La Verne St.) for the 20+ years that we've been living here, so we're very familiar with the food provided by this lovely family. At that location, on a Saturday morning, you would often see what looked like Hispanic laborers lined up or seated at the picnic benches with their bowls of menudo. We had a favorite burrito that we couldn't get replicated elsewhere in the city.
They have also opened a second location on Foothill Boulevard in the new development on the north side just past La Paloma in La Verne. As the founder's son told me, "They forced us out of our original location and we came back by opening two." Below is a photo of the family taken outside their original, what I call, Taco Shak.
The location of the new Pomona shop is on the corner of Garey and Kingsley, a block south of Stater Brothers in a row of commercial storefronts that includes a gym and florist shop. The location has seating for about 50 and is a walk up and order type of place.
They have a nice assortment of burritos, enchilladas, tacos, tortas, quesadillas, sopes, and other Mexican standards as well as combination plates. I was being waited on by the founder's son and, noting that I was familiar with the menu, asked what I hadn't had that he would recommend. He fairly quickly recommended the Chile Verde, a plate of braised pork chunks in a "verde (green)" chile sauce. Adventuresome as always, I said sure and added a diet Coke to make it a full meal.
The meal came with rice and beans, chips, and four corn (or flour) tortillas. I also picked up some mild salsa and onions from the salsa bar where they have three salsas, onion, cilantro, lime wedges, and sliced radishes.
The rice and beans were very good. The beans were creamy and the rice was not overly dry (a little of the salsa added made them perfect). Now the Chile Verde . . . it was certainly spicy. The spiciness was the kind that made my eyes water and my nose run, realllllly good. But the heat did not so much "burn" as add a flavor. Once the sauce was out of your mouth, the heat did not linger as with some hot foods. The pork was extremely tender and easy to "pull" or cut with the fork and melted in your mouth. Other dishes which I've had here include the Chile Relleno, all meat burritos (usually carne asada), and their street style tacos. All of which I've enjoyed and will gladly come back for more in future visits.