This post is long overdue. I work in Pasadena and we've all been anticipating Mercado to open. Amazing art work like bullet skulls as you walk in from the commons. By them being here, it's definitely brought a lot of life to lake avenue. I'm not even kidding when I say I've been here multiple times within a week. I can honestly say the food is that good.
Here are some food from my first visit (Full menu here for Pasadena):
Guacamole - hass avocado, serranos, cilantro, red onions, Yxta salsa brava, spicy pepitas, and fresh chips. There dip duo is also highly recommended. It's basically guac and their choriqueso - melted cotija, parmesan, oaxaca cheese, white wine, house chorizo, poblanos, and mushrooms.
Enchiladas de pollo en mole oaxaqueno - pulled Mary’s free-range chicken, oaxacan mole, queso fresco, crema fresca, red onions, sesame seeds, mexican rice, and chile piquín black beans. The mole wasn't too sweet, velvety and luxurious. Probably one of the best Oaxacan moles I've had.
ELOTE - grilled sweet corn, caramelized onions, chile piquín butter, topped with queso cotija.
Tostaditas de ceviche - citrus-marinated white fish and shrimp, mango, corn, cherry tomatoes, serranos, fresno chilies, avocado, chile de árbol aioli. This is probably the best ceviche I've had in a while. Fresh, citrusy with a good balance of sweet and heat from the mango, corn, fresnos and chile de arbol aioli. This is a must order if you're here.
COLIFLOR AL PASTOR - roasted cauliflower, chile morita marinade, pineapple, cilantro. A great side dish if you're doing low carb and want tons of delicious flavors. GM Justin loves to eat this with tortillas. Man was he right.
Camarones al ajillo - mexican sweet shrimp, chile de árbol garlic butter, market vegetables. You will never find a dish that's executed like they do it here. I've had this many times and didn't know how it should taste until I had it here. The flavor is to die for. Another highly recommended dish.
Other items I recommend not shown:
Carnitas. Anything carnitas but I love their tacos. From their happy hour menu, order their jicama shrimp tacos.
Cucumber salad with skirt steak (trust me it's delicious).
Tamales - I ordered their special tamale of the day. It was carnitas, but I know it changes from time to time.
tres leches - YES
Heard the fried chicken torta is a must. Stay tuned for that!
140 S. Lake Avenue #101, Pasadena, California 91101 626.345.5778 www.cocinasycalaveras.com