La Cabañita: Sparring with Pork Chops, Pollo and Pasilla

  • Home
  • California
  • La Cabañita: Sparring with Pork Chops, Pollo and Pasilla
Mexican Restaurant Los Angeles

La Cabañita is a beloved neighborhood restaurant with some destination dishes in north Glendale.

La Cabañita means “little cabin” in Spanish, a name that isn’t quite appropriate anymore for this sprawling restaurant. Francisco Jimenez and wife Patricia opened a Mexican café a shade south of Montrose in Glendale’s Sparr Heights neighborhood in 1989, capitalizing on time-tested family recipes from Francisco’s mother. Over the years, the couple has more than doubled the size of their restaurant. Thankfully, it hasn’t lost any of the allure that has compelled hordes of customers to take their maiden drives up the seldom-used 2 freeway.

A colorful wall-length mural in the main dining room features several key components of Mexican history.

One swath features an eagle carrying a snake, which is a central image of the Mexican flag.

It’s unclear what this strange paper decoration represents, but it was certainly festive.

As soon as you sit, expect a complimentary bowl of warm tortilla chips, freshly fried and served with dishes of moderately spicy green and full-on spicy red salsa, both house-made.

Chuletas en Chile Pasilla ($13.75) were fork-tender pork chops baked in a silky pasilla chile sauce, served with rice and cheese-topped black beans.

Danny, the son of a Mexican immigrant, judges any Mexican restaurant by its mole. First, a restaurant has to offer mole to have any credibility. Next, it has to be sweet. Danny ordered Pollo Con Mole ($13.75), a boneless chicken breast covered with a rich mole sauce, sprinkled with sesame seeds. Danny was satisfied with La Cabañita’s version, finding it suitably sweet. The mole was served with rice, black beans and two homemade corn tortillas.

The menu described Carnitas a La Cabañita ($14.95) as “lean pork lightly deep fried.” I was skeptical of a description so oxymoronic, but the chunks of juicy fried pork actually fit that description. Carnitas are often either too greasy or too gristly, but not these, which were golden and luscious. They were served with rice, salad, pico de gallo and fresh guacamole.

Chiles a La Cabañita ($13.95) were described as “Poblano peppers stuffed with our special chicken recipe with almonds and raisins.” This was one of three stuffed chile dishes available at the restaurant. This version was rich and creamy, and slightly sweet from the raisins, but good. It was served with salad and cheese-topped black beans.

Spicy frijoles charros accompanied the carnitas.

La Cabañita offers a textbook horchata ($2.25), the sweet cinnamon-tinged rice milk drink.

La Cabañita doesn’t skimp on portion sizes, so we didn’t have room for dessert. Happily, the restaurant coaxed more flavor from one course than most restaurants can from three.


Joshua Lurie

Joshua Lurie founded FoodGPS in 2005. Read about him here.

Leave a Comment