Last year my wife and I ate at Guisados, a current LA staple. Things just seemed to work out for us. Parking, although not wonderful, did not constitute the nightmare it potentially can and we ordered just before a line of people that surely would have tested patience. After narrowly escaping an ordering fiasco we ventured outside to sit and enjoy the coming dusk on the early summer day.
Once we stepped onto the patio we immediately confronted color. First and foremost the color. A bright piñata of colors. The color helped establish the entire atmosphere. Then, layer upon layer added to the foundation like a growing onion. The colors based a math equation that summed in a feeling of authenticity for the customer. Sitting outside, in the warm air, a bright mural painted on the brick wall before us depicted male and female Mexicans. The mid-fiesta Mexicans displayed the desired attitude for patrons.
Between the festive wall and us, a 3 piece band played. The music supplied the very sounds of tradition. To my side, another group at a table sat above an unmoving scruffy brownish grey old dog. It looked like a bigger version of a terrier or something and to my mind didn’t have a name (see ColdWarKids: Mexican Dogs). This mutt added greatly to the ambience simply by doing nothing. Just laying there and being. And “mutt” perfectly describes him. Not his origin. I don’t happen to have a clue as to his pedigree. But when thinking of a “mutt” one conjures up this specific animal.
Finally, the actually important part of a restaurant, the food. A sample platter of various tacos arrived from the kitchen via the waiter. Now the hint of a Mexican smell that surrounded the patio area rose up strongly from directly in front of us.
The food provided the sense of traveling to a foreign land in the best possible way. Just the right cocktail of the familiar with the unfamiliar. A dash of excitement added a hint of spice that paired it perfectly with the surroundings as if a sommelier made the selection for us.
Truthfully, I don't recall much of the meal. I simply know that it was good and that I would like to eat there again sometime. It was an atmospheric explosion that knocked me over. That I remember. Normally an establishment doesn't attempt to surpass the quality of the meal with the aura surrounding it. Usually I would agree that the surroundings don't matter much if the main event doesn't live up to billing. Thing is, the surroundings here dazzled so much that I possess an inkling we ate good food, and now I'm more than willing to extend the benefit of the doubt to Guisados. I'm looking forward to eventually SMOR food there.