Thursday, April 3, 2008

Dinner at La Cabana

My mother had one request: To take her to an authentic Mexican restaurant during her stay in LA.

This was the least I could to for my dutiful Mom, who has tirelessly marched through the bowels of the Design District and the Third Street Promenade day and night seeking out everything from the perfect Chinese wall fountain for the corner of the living area to a Vietnamese-inspired English wallboard (or was it English-inspired Vietnamese wallboard?) for the foyer to the penultimate diaphanous sea foam shower curtain for — I was to assume? — the guest bathroom.

I set out to provide her this experience. I contacted Zaq & Co. down the block and discovered I was to take Mom to La Cabana on Rose and Lincoln. I was assured I would open the door to the vision of a woman huddled over a brick-oven fire making homemade tortillas. (“Katie, do you think she makes them with real lard?” Mom asked with a frightening grimace. I don’t know what lard is, I told her, so I wasn’t sure. Is lard bad?)

Mom knocked on the office door and told me she was ready to go.

We walked out the back door and shimmied down the sides of my pint-sized garage to shoe-horn ourselves into the car. Thank goodness I had parked in the garage because it was actually raining. I thought it never rained in Santa Monica. Vroom, vroom — we were off.

We pulled up to La Cabana and it looked terrific. Very authentic.

We entered the restaurant and, sure enough, there was a Mexican woman right out of Central Casting huddled over the brick-oven stove making tortillas (I didn’t see a vat of lard or anything, so it looked like we were safe.)

The food was fantastic and the wait staff no-nonsense. After we ordered, the thick-mustached waiter praised my mom’s Spanish accent and smiled. Then he looked at me, raised his left shoulder and simply muttered, “Eh.”

Check back soon for a blog on Mom’s and my journey through the Helms Furniture District!

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