Back when I was a kid Barragan’s was the spot for a special meal with the family. A place that meant you’d have to comb your hair properly, as this was the height of the hair combing days. Now that I’m an adult that pays his own way, and thus entitled to wear my greÃ±as come se me de las ganas, I can come here any old day. Yet I haven’t been back in a long time as this type of Mex-American food is not the sort I crave. But I’d knew I’d be back to have a taste of their monster HR’s some day, and that day arrived unexpectedly this week after work. HR’s for dinner? But of course!
I like their menu cover.
Free Chips and Salsa. Fulfilling their social obligations. The salsa is decent if not very original, I think its made with canned tomatoes. At least its a bit up on the hotness level. Most of the chips were good but there were a few nasty, rancid tasting ones. They reminded me of the smell Los Perricos tostada factory on Whittier used to spew out, a smell I will never forget. Nor tolerate.
Aww man! If I waited til morning I could have had the HR’s for $5.49 (with coffee!) instead of the $8.50 I was about to spend. With water. Oh well, hunger doesn’t wait.
Ha ha! Just as I imagined, covered in layers of cheese goop. This is really the essence of Mex-American food, a caloric trend that gets described as “old school” yet nobody knows where these cooks took their classes. This dish, as pictured above, does not exist in Mexico. And the funny thing is that these sorts of dishes get described as coming from recipes that have been handed down through generations. As if your grandmother would be cruel enough to suggest you melt a block of cheese on your breakfast. (Mine might have, but she would have been playing around.) Though I have fond memories of eating at Barragan’s, the days of this style of food are numbered. Those that still reminisce for these dishes will start keeling over in numbers far too large to keeps these businesses sustainable. No wonder Barragan’s in Echo Park now seems mostly known for cheap Margaritas on Wednesdays. For the record, I did not order a Margarita. I ain’t a fucking stereotype!
That being said, even though I’m not a big fan of this style of HR’s, I don’t mind trying them occasionally.Â The tomato based sauce is quite mild, with hardly any hint of chiles, but its tasty. They add lots of stewed (ugh) tomatoes, bell peppers, and onion chunks which are not visible in this pic but trust me, they’re hiding under that white sheet. The eggs were quite good and properly cooked, though they were on some plain corn tortillas, no frying or oil pass whatsoever. This results in soggy tortilla towards the end of the meal. The rice is good, the beans smell lardy. Its not bad, maybe even a bit good, but its mostly a plate of lots and lots of okay food, covered in cheese. I guess it has its place.
Barragan’s Restaurant 213.250.4256
1538 W. Sunset Blvd
Echo Park, 90026
we call this style of food “cheesy glop” or “glopateria” in our family, out here it usually corresponds to being called “amigo” in these restaurants and means the food is going to be mediocre at best
Our family started going to Barragan’s in 1966. The first generation of Barragans always greeted us as family, knew all the kids’ names and made us feel right at home. Chanfles is absolutely right in that it is NOT Mexican food, but Mexican-American.
Now we go to El Rodeo where we can get closer to the “authentic” Mexican tastes. Had the chicken tacos the other night. Son tan delicioso!
Didn’t this place get invaded by hipsters? I guess only a night huh.
I know that this is not your typical HR in Mexico, but donâ€™t be too surprise if you find similar styles or cooking techniques in Mexico. I was down in Quintana roo a couple of months ago, we were visiting with some friends. One of the nights that we went out, after the borrachera while walking the streets of the city we decided to stop at a taco stand. We were surprised, at least I was, when we saw the taco-tortas and the tortas con queso jack. I had never seen such thing, correct me if im wrong, but since when they layer your tortas with jack cheese? Im not saying this is typical, what im saying is that they violate Mexican dishes in mexico just as much as they do here.
I rather go to el sol restaurant, they have buffet on saturday mornings, the menudo there always takes care of my weekly hangovers
wheres el rodeo?
i’ve recently moved from boyle heigts to brooklyn, ny and am overwhelmingly saddened by the lack of "decent" mexican food on this coast. sure, there are plenty of so called "authentic" joints around here but my theory is, the father you are from mexico, the less authentic the food.
anyhow, i’ve flipped through your all your huevos rancheros review and noticed my absolute FAVORITE spot missing! Los Tres Cochinitos in Lincoln Hgts (on north main) . A fiver gets you a hot plate of huevos, frijoles, arroz and cafe de olla. The place looks like it was built in somebody’s living room and the mismatched plates … ahhhhh.
EAT THERE because i can’t. then review it so i can fantasize about having real food myself.
I totally agree with the cheese \’glop\’ commentary… that ain\’t Mexican! Unfortunately, I\’m having trouble convincing my half-Mex hubbie and our kids of this.
I\’ll have to start buying cotija or something so they can get their cheese fix on their enchiladas and such, at least it\’ll be more authentic than Monterey Jack! But wait, then I might also have to start making fresh sauce (no more canned?!) to go with it, and real picadillo. Dangit!
Ok, maybe I’m Americana, after all! oy vey!
Smells…I know what you mean. :/
What’s with the nasty 24 hour Mayonnaise smell on Mission between 1st and Cesar Chavez?? I don’t pass through there unless I really have to because of that horrible stench. If i do I roll up the windows and turn the AC off. Is it from the “Pato Sauce” factory thing there?? I don’t know how all those people can stand living right across the street from it :/