Will this author’s next book be titled “The Carnitas of Echo Park”?

Brando Skyhorse, the former Echo Park resident whose “The Madonnas of Echo Park will come out in paperback this month, shares some of his neighborhood memories in an interview with Patch. His grandmother figures prominently in his recollections as do local stores owners and neighborhood lore. But Skyhorse, who grew up in Echo Park during the 1980s, also served up much praise for one of his favorite Echo Park meals: carnitas at Barragan’s Mexican Restaurant:

“Best carnitas platter I’ve had, and I’ve tried them everywhere.  I grew up on Barragan’s – weekend breakfasts in particular – and I’ve never had a carnitas platter anywhere else that comes close.  The pork isn’t shredded but cubed into bite size bits, a style that I prefer.  Barragan’s is Mexican comfort food in surroundings that haven’t changed since they did their expansion years ago.  The booths are the same, the chips and salsa are the same, etc.  There are better Mexican restaurants in LA, sure, but no other Mexican restaurant I’d rather go to.”

Photo from Barragan’s website

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  1. Yummmmm…Barragan’s for lunch anyone?

  2. I don’t mean to be rude, and I should point out that I’ve never had the carnitas platter at Barrigan’s but…all the food I’ve ever eaten there has been horrible.

  3. I prefer Rodeo Grill’s asada but i’m down with Barragans. Man we’re blessed to live around so many of the best Mexican food spots anywhere !

  4. Growing up in Echo Park ,our family never went to Barragans, and we still dont . The food is salty , tasteless and “gringo-ized”. Great mexican food it is not ! Compadres is no better .
    The only reason why my friends and i went to Barragans when we were in high school , is because our friends mom was a waitress there and we used to hide in a back booth and she would serve us up margaritas!

    Adelita’s and Nayarit is where our family would frequent. Loooonnnngggg gone !

    There are some good spots still in Echo Park , mainly the taco trucks, but nothing beats The Mission in San Francisco with amazing food on every corner.

  5. I can appreciate Mr. Skyhorse stubborn sentiments about Barragan’s because I share similar feelings about the Mexican eatery all love to hate on: El Coyote. It has nothing to do with the quality or authenticity of the food and everything to do with me going there since I was literally a baby and the place today being pretty much as I remember it since I was in diapers. It’s a touchstone.

  6. Apparently he hasn’t been to Barragan’s in a while…he needs to take a walk around the corner to Tacos Arizas next time he’s in town.

  7. @Will Campbell: My sentiments exactly. Love El Coyote….simutaneously horrible and wonderful.

  8. With all due respect to Taco’s Ariza, who has some one of the best tortas, if you’re gonna take a trip to Echo Park for tacos it’s gotta be to Taco Zone.

    Suadero 4 Life.

  9. man. i’m getting hungry reading this post !

  10. @koko if there “gringo-ized”? what would you call a Baja Fresh in Ohio?

  11. Great thread. IMHO there are three versions of Mexican food to be found in LA — the El Cholo/Coyote/Compadres/Barragan’s restaurant-style, palatable to the average taste, little more than a tv dinner to the native. I think ugh when I see frijoles looking like a gooey puddle of Hawaiian poi, some melted cheddar on top, yuck and not the funny yuck. But there’re reasons why such places have been around for decades. Margaritas, music, ambience, parking, etc. Have to say few of my friends go for the food.

    Then there are the taco trucks, street grills and family places in the (true) Eastside and other suburbs. I go to Manuel’s and sit at the counter when I want both.

    Then there is what you get in someone’s home. Ahhh.

  12. I found this while searching in faint hopes of finding a recipe for Barragan’s carnitas. To me they were perfect: crispy on the outside, succulent within, the essence of pork. Together with salsa that seemed as fresh as possible, guacamole that was properly chunky, and refried beans that I’d choose as my last meal, we were so happy on hundreds of occasions. Then we had to move to the northwest!
    I’ve had authentic. I’ve had geographically diverse. I’ve had homestyle. But to be perfectly satisfied, take me to Barragan’s Echo Park!

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