A friend of mine recently mentioned to me how much they enjoy in Altadena. They asked if I had ever gone there and I had to admit that I had driven by many times but hadn't gone in. He urged me to stop by and said that I would be glad that I did.
So last week, my youngest daughter, one of my coworkers and I, feeling adventurous and hungry, ventured forth to try it. My friend was right! We were very glad we did. We went for a late lunch and found a parking place right out front on Lincoln.
Inside we found that it was pleasant and cheerfully decorated, seating approximately 25 - 30 people. There were others finishing up their lunches at a couple of tables and it smelled good inside.
We were seated at a booth by the very friendly waitress who gave us our menus and took our drink orders. I ordered Horchata and my companions ordered Jamaica and a coke (also from Mexico - made with cane sugar, no fructose).
We perused the menu and found many of the standard items that are on most Mexican food menus. They serve breakfast all day and are open Monday through Saturday from 8:00 am until 8:00 pm, Sundays 8:00 am until 4:00 pm. Everything on the menu looked good.
My friend swears by the "Camarones Al Mojo de Ajo" -- shrimp sauteed in garlic butter, served with rice and beans. He raves about it and says that it is the best anywhere. He and his wife frequent Mota's so often that the chef makes hand made tortillas for them when they come in. I was going to give the shrimp a try......until I saw the Birria Plate! Birria is marinated goat meat and not often seen at many local places. I hadn't ordered it in a long time so opted for it and ate every bite! It was very good, and at $7.95 with rice and beans and tortillas worth every penny.
My daughter ordered the 2 chicken flauta combination also served with rice and beans and guacamole and sour cream ($5.95). My coworker ordered the "Arroz con Pollo" -- chicken with rice, also served with rice and beans ($7.95). They both said that their food was delicious, and I concurred after they each let me taste test. The chicken from the Arroz con pollo was juicy and full of flavor.
The chips there are delicious, light and crispy (perhaps fried in manteca?). The salsa is fresh, full of flavor with just enough heat. They also bring out a small bowl of chile that I thought was great.....with medium heat and a great smoky chipotle taste.
I also loved the rice and beans, which are not my favorite part of traditional Mexican fare. The beans are flavored with toasted oregano and other spices and I really enjoyed them, although my daughter wasn't a big fan - preferring more traditional frijoles.
I will definitely be returning to try the shrimp and other items. The food is delicious, the prices are excellent and the service was friendly and prompt. The restaurant is owned by Alfred Mota and has been opened since 2001.
Tortillas are handmade on Saturdays and Sundays, which is also when they serve their menudo. You can eat inside or order takeout. Unlike a lot of local places, their menu is online.
Another fabulous find in Altadena! Try it....I bet you'll like it.