What a nice change of pace from TexMex! If you like your Mexican food smothered in cheese and festooned with pickled jalapeño peppers, this is probably not the place for you. I had a wonderful combination torta, with carnitas and cachete de res (cow cheek). The meat was incredibly tender and flavorful (due, no doubt, to the high fat content of the cachet), and it was served on a prefect bolillo with lettuce, cilantro, pico de gallo, mayonnaise, and sliced avocado. The flavors were well balanced, and the mouth feel was satisfying. It reminded me of the tortas one finds in Mexico. My companions were similarly enthusiastic about the chicken fajitas, carnitas and shrimp burrito. The tortilla chips came with three flavorful sauces (smoked pepper, creamy salsa verde, and queso) and an excellent guacamole. Because it was a cold, cloudy day, we decided to pass on the paletas; however they look to be delicious. The restaurant is not very big, but has a covered patio. The interior was clean and simple; no sombreros, blankets, or the lurid paint schemes often found in TexMex establishments. The service was a bit slow; it seemed that they were a bit understaffed for the lunch crowd. (They do not have a liquor license, so you can keep your tab under $10/person.) All in all, we had an excellent experience, and will give this place a spot in our regular rotation. I understand that some suburbanites might be put off by the neighborhood, as it is down at the heels and has a number of vacant storefronts. (I live nearby, and find the street life to be fine.) Perhaps this is a blessing, as it will keep La Vallesana a neighborhood place rather than have it become a "destination" for adventure seekers from the 'burbs.
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