was originally established in 1970 near the Helms Bakery in Culver City. Owners Felipe and Maria Telona took over the restaurant in 1987 and moved it to its current location on Washington Boulevard, just east of Centinela in 1996.
Walking into the restaurant I felt I had just entered a museum or fun house with random, kitschy knick-knacks. Tin boxes, license plates, street signs, snow globes, masks, wagon wheels and a vintage collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia are just some of the items dotting the walls and shelves.
Mi Ranchito doesn't just serve traditional Mexican meals. It also serves Veracruzian food. Veracruz cooking is influenced by the foods of Mexico, Spain and Cuba. Spices such as parsley, thyme, marjoram, bay leaves and cilantro, along with the Spanish influence of olives, olive oil, garlic and capers are used in many dishes. Mariscos (seafood) is also plentiful in Veracruz cooking, as the state of Veracruz stretches along the Gulf coast for 600 miles.
You can still find traditional fare such as chilequiles, enchiladas, chile rellenos and burritos here, along with more specialty items like Caldos de Marisco—a seafood stew—and the Filete a la Veracruzana, red snapper in a spicy tomato sauce, a famous specialty of the region.
While waiting for our food, we were immediately given chips and salsa. The salsa took me by surprise. It was very spicy, but very good. It tasted fresh and authentic, but it is muy caliente! Generally, the dishes are pretty mild at Mi Ranchito and topping them with salsa is an excellent option if you want more spice in your dishes.
Since it was too early in the day for a margarita, I ordered an agua fresco de Jamaica (hibiscus-flavored drink). I was pleased to find that this fruity drink wasn’t overly sweet and it didn't taste artificial as can sometimes be the case.
I ordered the Huevos Mi Ranchito (two fried eggs on a corn tortilla topped with a special tomato sauce) and the fried plantains with sour cream. My dish came with rice, beans and a garnish of lettuce and tomato. The rice had diced up carrots and green peppers throughout, which made it more colorful and flavorful. I really liked the tomato sauce on my eggs. It was chunky and tangy; quite a change from the typical Huevos Rancheros that usually comes a thinner, blended sauce.
The plantains were browned nicely and I enjoyed the dab of sour cream on this slightly sweet, delicious fruit.
My friend ordered the Huevos a la Mexicana (scrambled eggs with tomatoes, onions and peppers), which I tried and liked as well. I was glad that Serrano peppers were not added to this dish, as many Mexican restaurants include them. I added a bit of salsa since it was fairly mild, which made it just right. It also came with warm corn tortillas so you can make mini-tacos with the fillings on your plate.
Speaking of tacos, my friend tried a few different ones: carnitas, asada and pollo (pork, steak and chicken). He liked them all and was hard-pressed to name a favorite. The meat was cooked perfectly and each was juicy and tender. He also liked the spices and marinade and thought it was an added bonus that they were topped with guacamole, in addition to the onions and cilantro.
A good time to try the tacos at Mi Ranchito is during Happy Hour, Mon. – Fri. from 3 – 6 p.m. Tacos are only $1.50/each (regularly $2) and all beer is $1 off the regular price.
Hours: Mon. – Thur. 11 a.m. - 9:30 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m. - 10:30 p. m., Sat. 10 a.m. - 10:30 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m. - 9:30 p.m.
Mi Ranchito, 12223 West Washington Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90066-5507, 310-398-6106. Free Wi-Fi.