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Ponci on Lincoln

Feb 1, 2015

IMG_5862Lety told us to come about 10:30. By the time we arrived around 11 a.m., people were already filing in, lining up to order their choice of tortas, burritos, and tacos.

Seasoned pork al pasor, cabeza, chicken chipotle, shrimp cakes with cactus, chile rellenos, chicken and beef fajitas, tongue, pork rinds with green or red sauce, asada, birria, beef and potatoes, carnitas, chicharrón, shrimp burrito, shrimp cocktail with octopus—the days menu. The kitchen galley is steaming with these freshly made dishes in silver trays behind the glass.

 

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Lety says the cooking is Jalisco-style; Jalisco being a state in the central west region of Mexico. It’s kind of spicy and her motto is “homemade fast food.” Her chile rellenos are not “high end” with a drip of crema and sprinkled with pomegranates, she tells us, but down home and “drowned” in tomato salsa, just as she would prepare them at home.

We played it relatively safe and ordered a plateful of tacos and the shrimp burrito along with a slightly spicy, not too sweet, beautiful ruby/raspberry red hibiscus agua fresca (each day has a freshly made drink, including horchata and jamaica). The tacos are very simple, which we appreciate, dressed with onions, avocado, and cilantro.

Al pastor (seasoned pork): Cooked with onions with the meat crunchy in places; nicely seasoned; one of our favorites.

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Carne de puero con nopal (pork with cactus): Spicy after-bite with still a hint of sweet from the cactus, served with green salsa.

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Carnitas: shredded, dry, very flavorful (especially with additional salsa).

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Pollo con sason: Seasoned chicken served with cilantro, tomatoes, and green peppers. Very simple, though on the bland side.

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Cabeza: This was our one “dare” as eating head is not generally on our menu. But we’re delighted it was. The meat was so tender, it nearly melted in our mouth and the taste reminded us of beef pot roast, which is delicious comfort food in our book.

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To squeeze more into our stomach seemed outrageous, but we felt we needed to try more. So we ordered Lety’s daughter Martha’s favorite, the shrimp burrito.

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It’s flavorful, yet mild, and the shrimp are plump and cooked perfectly.

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One more to go: the Ponci specialty torta. All we could think of was a Grand Slam breakfast, but in a sandwich, and minus the eggs. On a grilled roll spread with beans are heaped grilled green peppers and onions, tomatoes and lettuce, queso fresca, ham, and steak.

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Ponci Burrito Express is a simple place: a bright yellow sign and green awning outside with ample parking and a covered, no-frills outdoor eating area. Inside, the place is rather the same, not much ambiance, but then the folks who know about Ponci don’t come for that. They come early for homemade-style fast food (11 a.m.; we suggest an early lunch), have a quick chat and share a smile with Lety or her daughter Martha, and head back to work with “a bag of delicious.”

 

Ponci Burrito Express, 2291 N. Lincoln Ave., Altadena 91001. Tel.: 1.626.398.0439. Monday-Saturday, 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m.

 

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