Tia Juana’s Mexican Restaurant – If You’ve Got it, Don’t Flan It

tia juana's mexican restaurant, los angeles, ca - flan
I gave it second chance.

Flan, that is.

After this delicious lady protested too much about how much she doesn’t love flan, she gave it another try.

I was right the first time. (And second, third, fourth…I’ve given it many chances, you see.)

Flan is, and I wish there were a better word but this one actually seems to suit it perfecty, flan is…yucky.

I’ve never been fond of custard desserts. It’s strange, I know, since other people go absolutely bonkers for the stuff. They look at me, completely aghast when I reveal that, no, crème brulee doesn’t send me into every kind of delicious orbit. Perhaps they sneer at my utterly uncultured palate that just *sniff* can’t *hmph* appreciate a sexy crème caramel, a sophisticated crème brulee, even a pure milky pristine white panna cotta? Is “yucky” uncultured? Yes, yes it is. Maybe, they say, I’ve just never had a good crème brulee that’s silky smooth, soft and supple? However, the texture is precisely why I don’t love them. *shrugs* I just can’t dissociate a custard from Bill Cosby and his J-E-L-L-O chocolate puddings snacks that come in tiny plastic tubs with a tear off foil wrapper. It’s not like I won’t tap the tines of my fork and crack through the whisper-thin pane of caramelized sugar of someone else’s crème brulee and try a bite just for the sugar high, but I don’t order it for myself. I just don’t love it. I guess, I need something with more texture. I need something I can feel when I bite into it.

Of course, I totally contradict myself every time my head drops backward with eyes gently closed when a tiny spoonful of ice cream melts into slippery sweetness in my mouth. :) But come on, it’s ice cream. Ice cream! A class by itself.

Despite the yucky flan ending at Tia Juana’s, our dinner, as usual, was good. Yes, of course I am mildly hypnotized into that opinion by the two kerchiefed, red- and blue-costumed young ladies slapping out tortillas by hand and grilling quesadillas around the fire-fueled tortilla oven. There is always something comforting about being able to watch food being made instead of a server disappearing behind swinging double doors and magically re-appearing with food. It’s not necessarily bad to not be able to see, but I suppose that’ s why I can lose myself watching people cook on tv.

tia juana's, los angeles, ca - sopa de vegetales
a delicious tangled mess of queso

I always order a little bowl of soup with dinner. It’s not a fancy tortilla soup nor a broth teeming with meaty albóndigas. The salty, simple broth is nothing particularly special at all, but the cheese sprinkled on top renders itself into a semi-translucent web across the surface that I lift out in a tangled, dangling delicious mess. Sometimes something as simple as melted cheese is…how you might call? Fantástico.

It’s too bad that Tia Juana’s only dessert is flan – it was chilled, sitting in a pool of its own filmy caramel residue, but it’s okay. I certainly don’t mind the excuse to stop at Ralph’s next door and pick up a pint of coffee Haagen Dazs.

Tia Juana’s
11785 W Olympic Blvd (@ Granville)
Los Angeles, CA 90064
310.473.9293

** a year ago today, i turned into morimoto with figs, goat cheese, and prosciutto **

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Grace April 17, 2006 at 1:04 am

Awww.. flan is one of my favorite desserts. ): SIGH, fine, it’s okay, I still love your blog. (;

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2 peachiee April 17, 2006 at 3:14 am

But how was the other food at Tia Juana’s??

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3 Maure April 17, 2006 at 4:06 am

sarah, flan’s just like sex – you gotta, well you have to approach it sort of, ur, oh hell. so how do you feel about rice pudding darn it all?!?

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4 Neil April 17, 2006 at 4:15 am

Maybe you just haven’t met the right flan.

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5 dorkie porkie April 17, 2006 at 5:16 am

you’re crazy not to like flan.. altho i do believe the homemade ones are much much better.

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6 santos. April 17, 2006 at 7:08 am

i think i read somewhere here that you are a picky eater; most picky eaters i know have one thing in common: problems with food textures, so i’m not surprised that you don’t like flan. also, very few ice creams have textural similarities to flans, so you’re not contradicting yourself. even frozen custard isn’t particularly flan-like.

and maure’s right, flan is like sex.although, i’m not we’re not thinking the same thing. and although i do like rice pudding, that’s more like an std.

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7 santos. April 17, 2006 at 7:08 am

i think i read somewhere here that you are a picky eater; most picky eaters i know have one thing in common: problems with food textures, so i’m not surprised that you don’t like flan. also, very few ice creams have textural similarities to flans, so you’re not contradicting yourself. even frozen custard isn’t particularly flan-like.

and maure’s right, flan is like sex.although, i’m not we’re not thinking the same thing. and although i do like rice pudding, that’s more like an std.

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8 Skip April 17, 2006 at 4:40 pm

I dated a girl that told me she hated mushrooms because of the texture. This made me wary of her sensuality because I don’t really trust people that don’t like mushrooms.

We got to it and…I was right.

*sigh*

Flan is different though. I think I just wanted to tell that little story.

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9 hermz April 17, 2006 at 6:41 pm

I’m with ya on the flan. I’ve tried it at various places, with people who say it’s good. To me it’s just “eh.”

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10 sarah April 17, 2006 at 7:20 pm

grace: aw, i’m sorry to hate on one of your favorites, but thanks for giving me the love anyway :)

lacheesemonger: old habits die hard.

peach: the food is always good! very low key place. not something others would want to drive 20 miles for, as they would have the same kind of place in their neighborhood. but for moi on the westside, perfect!

maure: like sex? really? how! tell us! and i don’t like rice pudding either. ;)

neil: i’ve met them all, and i just don’t think there is any flan out there for me.

dorkie porkie: just call me la loca deliciosa.

santos: i am picky, but then, i’m not. i think i am particular about the foods that i don’t really like, and i’m pretty vocal about them, whereas others just quietly push those foods away they dont’ like or politely eat them anyway. hee hee, i’m just rude. LOL! but then, i’m also not afraid to try anything. hm, but maybe those are two completely different subjects.

on rice pudding being an std! i TOTALLY agree. LOL! but then, i don’t know. what would that make tapioca?!?!?

skip: dislike of mushrooms=not sensual or =not trustworthy? then if is use my algebraic theorems, does that mean not sensual=not trustworthy and sensual=trustworthy?

ok, too early for equations, but still makes me feel weird about trusting my accountant with my tax return. LOL!

hermz: *eh* is right. screw them all. let’s go out for cheesecake :)

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11 KT April 18, 2006 at 1:56 am

Thank you. I do not like flan. Texture is part of it, but the taste too … it’s like … how I imagine dead babies would taste. Gross. I know, but it’s true! Sort of like old milk.

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12 Maure April 18, 2006 at 2:14 am

dear kt: in fact, flan tastes nothing like dead babies, a common misconception.

now rice pudding, on the other hand, when made correctly has that
exact taste. makes me misty eyed
thinking about mom’s classic recipe.

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