La Flor de Loto – Restaurante Vegetariano

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In a previous post of veggie options, reader jk2001 pointed out a Mexican Vegetarian restaurant I should check out in the city of Huntington Park. I had made a personal vow never to return to HP, due to their idiotic approach to Mexican Futbol fans during the last World Cup, and based on my memorable experience of having been in the 94 “soccer riot” which consisted of police tear gassing and shooting rubber bullets at people just trying to celebrate a victory. Nothing quite makes you hate a place like seeing an old lady get knocked over by a bunch of baton wielding thugs operating under the guise of public safety. Still, I couldn’t resist checking out this suggestion, it’s not everyday you get word of a place doing vegetarian Mexican food. Bygones and all that, time to head out to the HP!

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At first glance the multiple choices on the menu reminded me of the Super Soya locations in Mexico city with their focus on healthy foods. There are some messages on the menu about eating healthy and even a quote by Einstein promoting vegetarian eating. I figured its best to skip the spaghetti and hamburgers, I didn’t drive all the way here for that. It’s still hard to figure out what to get when you want to try everything! And they even have three daily specials.

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They brought us some chips and salsa, covering some of the basics. The salsa was nice and hot though the chips were obviously bagged, could be better.

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A quick look around: it’s a nice clean place.

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Not very many eaters during the lunch hour, but it seems they do lots of delivery and to-go orders.

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I ordered the milanesa plate which was their version of the breaded meat fillet, only here it’s made with wheat gluten. Though the picture my not be much to look at, I was quite impressed with this dish. Doused with the subtle tomato salsa the milanesa was tasty and savory, as if someone was aiming for some actual flavor. The black beans were authentic; they used salt! I don’t get health food places that skimp on the flavor of the food just for a bit of perceived healthiness. The potato salad was unique and acceptable, and the arroz integral (brown rice) was better than I expected, though I could do without those healthy touches, regular Mexican rice would have been fine.

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My lunch companion ordered the Chiles Rellenos de Picadillo, which was made with a slightly sweet tomato and raisin sauce that used TVP as a substitute for ground beef, and it included the same collection of side dishes.

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Even though the dishes (around $7 each) provide more than enough food, we wanted to taste something else on the menu. This Oaxaca style tamal, filled with dark mole and a fresh stringy quesillo was just perfect.

They do a $9 buffet on Sundays from 12-5 which I think I’m going to check out just to try some of the other items in one big swoop. They also do some veggie fish options which sound very intriguing. It’s hard to judge a place just by one visit so I’m planning on going back, but this first experience was certainly a sign of better things to come.

La Flor de Loto – Restaurante Vegetariano
5526 Zoe Ave.
Huntington Park, CA 90255
323.589.5393
Google Map

8 Replies to “La Flor de Loto – Restaurante Vegetariano”

  1. I generally don’t get the appeal of ‘vegetarian Mexican’ food. What’s wrong with heading to any of the trucks, stands or fine dining establishments from East to NE L.A. and just asking for ‘beans from the pot’ (no lard) hold the carne. I guarantee you will get a better relleno or calabasitas or burrito or enchilada platter or chilequilles from an authentic joint than some identity crises neuvo Mexican/Hamburger health place. Just look at Cinnamon in Highland Park. That place is a disgrace to food, world-wide.

    But maybe there are other sides to this issue?

  2. Evan,
    Or I could just stay home, make my own, and be done with it. It’s about options, and about being able to eat somewhere without having to pick around the food or having to make special requests. What’s else is the appeal to any sort of vegetarian food place?

    Thanks for the ordering suggestions but I think I can manage.

  3. Options are worthwhile for sure. But eating “out” at a “restaurant” that serves Mission tortilla chips out of the bag, you might as well eat at home just like you said. Haha.

    You live in Lincoln Heights right? You should come on a beer bike ride our blog is sponsoring!

  4. Restaurants that serve Mission style chips don’t bother me too much knowing that tortilla chips aren’t anything one would find in a real Mexican restaurant. I notice some places serve chips just because customers expect them. I would prefer other types of botanitas, like jicama or escabeche but I guess tortilla chips are the all American choice.

  5. There’s nothing wrong with having a culinary “identity crisis.” Mexican vegetarian food with Asian fake meat is a total identity crisis. So what? It’s a challenge.

    I don’t think La Flor de Loto is like Cinnamon, at least by what I’ve read about Cinnamon on the web. They’re doing their own thing. The Chowhounders haven’t even found it yet. It’s not in a newly trendy neighborhood. (BTW, hound credit should go to Darel Lee who turned me on to this place. Also, someone wrote in a review that Cinnamon uses SOYRIZO. What’s up with that? Reynaldo’s is better, and they could make their own with some tvp soy meat.)

    That tamal looks really good.

    There’s an enthusiastic fan on Yelp with pictures, including one of the menu:
    http://www.yelp.com/biz/nZ5T0BqPljgZ7edI84FjMQ

  6. The food at Cinnamon lacks flavor, spice and joy. I assume the owners are veg for religious reason (seventh day adventist) and that’s why their food seems passionless. The food I had there was okay but not worth the price or poor service.

  7. How would this place be for vegans?

    Cinnamon doesn’t understand what “vegan” means. You ask if something is vegan and they answer with this defensive “no meat!” I really hope that someday we can get a decent vegetarian restaurant in HP as that place is so digusting and service is just about the worst I’ve seen.

    It’s not all Mexican food, but Pure Luck on Heliotrope makes some excellent jackfruit “carnitas” in tacos and tortas. And they have lots of good beers that are all vegan.

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