Everyone in Southern California seems to have their favorite carneceria. Mine just happens to be Los Toros Meat Market in Rosemead. When I'm feeling particularly lazy but am still craving some serious grub, it has everything I need for a weekend at home in the San Gabriel Valley.
What I love about many ethnic markets in Southern California is that they carry a wealth of delicious prepared foods along with their normal grocery selections. Los Toros is no exception. Whoever said "Never go grocery shopping when you're hungry" obviously never lived in L.A. In L.A., we buy the groceries for the stuff we're gonna cook later but get instant gratification from the stuff we can eat now. That's how we roll.
A typical Lazy Los Toros Weekend goes something like this:
1) Put in order for tacos or combination plates at the food counter located in the back of the store. If it's early on a weekend morning, make sure menudo is included in that order 'cause families will come in with pots and scoop all of it up before mid-morning.
2) Pick up some of the market's own tortilla chips and habanera salsa, which, by the way, is my own form of crack as of late. If you like spicy foods, you'll love the slight smokiness of this salsa that burns in a just-enough-to-clear-your-sinuses-a-little way instead of the literally-kick-your-ass way that we often associate habanera anything with.
3) Then you'll wanna go to the meat counter to pick up some carne asada and other marinated meats for grilling that night.
4) Go to cashier to pay for all your stuff.
5) Upon seeing the glass case of carnitas and house-made chicharrones near the door, realize that you want some of those too.
6) Repeat Step 4.
7) Eat the tacos you just bought in your car before leaving the parking lot. Pick up any pieces of cabeza or lengua that may have fallen onto your lap and eat them before you get too many oil stains on your pants.
8) Immediately upon arriving home, put meat & other perishables in fridge. Then bust open the habanera salsa and tortilla chips while you prepare your menudo with lime, oregano, chili flakes and other accoutrements.
9) Savor that bowl of deep reddish-orange broth in front of you. It's got good flavor depth with a nice kick, a good balance of tripe and hominy, and they even throw in a gelatinous pata (foot) or two. No wonder the stuff sells out so quickly.
10) Go about the rest of your morning business, which for me means watching an energetic 2 year old tear up my house.
11) Eat delicious, tender, but slightly crispy hunks of carnitas and rice and beans in combination plate for lunch.
12) Crack a beer open and watch Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew or similar marathon on V-H1 while snacking on more chips and salsa.
13) Take a nap.
14) Fire up grill to cook that meat you purchased.
15) Have a good time at dinner with your loved ones.
16) Wake up hungover, tired and/or lazy, either from what you drank the night before or from life in general. Hungover, that is, in a good way.
17) Crave menudo.
18) Repeat steps 1-16, and 17 if applicable.
Los Toros Meat Market
8210 Garvey Ave.
Rosemead, CA 91770