A layer of melted shredded cheddar cheese cascades over the white mountainous flour tortilla, with crispy and tender portions of carne de puerco en chile rojo (pork slow braised in a tomato based sauce with guajillo chiles, garlic, spices, and chiles de árbol), floating like islands on top, alluding to the mix of succulent deliciousness that lies within.
It is these memories that are cemented in the collective consciousness of Boyle Heights residents and Angelenos at large. Manny’s El Tepeyac Café is to Los Angeles what Katz Deli is to Manhattan or Ben’s Chili Bowl is to D.C. Featured on such shows as Man VS. Food on The Food Network, It is as much a cultural institution as it is a landmark on the food pilgrimage in this.
Located at 812 N Evergreen Terrace, Manuel’s Original El Tepeyac Café was founded in 1942 as “El Tupinamba Cafè” by the Rojas Family. First located in Downtown Los Angeles, then moved to Lincoln Heights as La Villa Cafè, the family run business has built a legacy, serving generations of hungry customers in Boyle Heights.
Though the menu might seem a bit pricy for Mexican fare (between 9 and twenty dollars for a burrito), the portions are family style and large enough to share between a few hungry eaters—one “Manny’s Special” can feed four people. The offerings include such Mexican standards as chilaquiles (crispy fried tortilla chips covered in spicy red or green sauce, a fondue of melted cheese, and a buttery fried egg), tacos, and tortas (Mexican style sub sandwiches filled with a variety of meats), but the café has drawn its fame from its burritos that set the standard. The “Okie”, “The Hollenbeck”, and the “Manny’s Special” form the triumvirate that have solidified Manny’s El Tepeyac Cafè in the hearts of so many.
Choose between carne asada (marinated, grilled, and chopped skirt steak), machaca (shredded beef with peppers and scrambled egg), or the carne de Puerco en chile rojo, to fill your burrito, along with the Mexican style red rice (rice cooked in chicken broth with tomato sauce and onion), pinto beans, and layer of creamy guacamole (pureed avocado with onion, cilantro, and lime) and wash it down with Horchata (a rice based drink that kind of tastes like Captain Crunch milk and is the perfect cool down to spicy Mexican Food) or Jamaica (a Mexican drink made from boiled hibiscus flowers), and you’re good to go.
“Manny’s El Tepeyac” is definitely an experience made better by company, so take your friends and family, and have the special!
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