DTLA: Checking out Pez Cantina
I’m always on the hunt for dinner options before shows at the Music Center in Downtown Los Angeles. Pez Cantina opened late last year and I’ve been meaning to check it out. It’s an easy two blocks away and service is super sweet. Their bar scene is pretty lively as well.
Como La Flor – bourbon, hibiscus, pineapple, cinnamon, anise, orange oil
Pez was nice enough to give us a salsa to go with the chips and guacamole. We opted for the pineapple salsa which was touted as spicy but it’s only a tiny bit spicy. The guacamole was gorgeous but we soon discovered the chips were too small to tackle the monster. Under the creamy exterior were huge chunks of avocado. Normally not a problem but we we ended up scooping them out then mashing it on the plate before piling it onto our chips. It was an awkward task. Bar Ama still makes my fave guac in DTLA.
The seared sea scallops are served on top of mini pea-garbanzo beans empanadas with bacon and pea sprouts. The cucumber crema was a neat twist.
The grilled octopus is served with crema and chicharrone. My friend wanted this as her main course which our server warned was a small portion. We didn’t mind since we were sharing lots of plates. We also had oysters (not shown).
She was in a mood for a margarita to go with the seafood. Our server recommended the hibiscus margarita that wasn’t on the menu. It’s quite beautiful though I was interested in the Margarita Fresca made with muddled seasonal fruit. The best part might be choosing either tequila or mezcal as the base spirit.
Margarita Fresca – tequila blanco or mezcal, muddled seasonal fruit, housemade sour, sal de gusano
We also tried out the tacos. I was excited to try the daily fish taco which turned out to be yellowtail that day and I almost nearly got shrimp. However I love oysters in all forms but I think they’re particularly great fried with those luscious middles. My friend and I decided the fish was pretty good but no Ricky’s Fish Tacos good (that’s pretty hard to beat!). The batter was good on both but maybe almost too good for the oysters. I didn’t get the oysters at all. Perhaps they were using smaller oysters but it felt like eating air.
Things got immediately better when my posole verde arrived. I like this simple, rustic soup a lot. And it’s elevated at Pez. It’s clean and it felt healthy.
The enormous cochinita pibil pork shank our late-comer friend ordered (who needs apps and stuff when you go full on pork?) was rightly the star of the meal. But by that point I was content with soup. I did sneak a bite and liked it to want to try to make a mini burrito with tortillas and the lime rice.
For a dessert drink, go with the Dulce Suenos. The spiced rum drink reminds me of a spiked horchata.
Dulce Suenos – Stolen spiced rum, rice water, cinnamon, almond, soy, Oaxacan chocolate
And we were off to the Music Center with no time for dessert. We’ll have to include that the next time we swing by.
Pez Cantina401 S Grand Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90071 — (213) 258-228
© The Minty 2015