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drop by and give Choza Mama a go.
Choza Mama in Burbank is very much fast food oriented. (In fact, the restaurant is referred to on their website as "Choza Mama Express".) You order your food at the front counter then pick it up when your number is called on a loudspeaker (read: no table service). The food is served on trays with plastic plates and utensils - nary a piece of hardware in sight.
What I ate:
1. Inka Kola (can, 1.69 USD). This is a soda indigenous to Peru (created by a British émigré), which is served at Peruvian restaurants pretty much everywhere (also sold locally at Latin American markets). Apparently, lemon verbena is the key ingredient, but I think Inka Kola tastes more like bubblegum - very sweet and honeyed. It is sunny yellow in color.
2. Lomo Saltado (12.94 USD): Flank steak sautéed with onions, tomatoes, french fries, and soy sauce and diner's choice of two sides. My two sides were Papa a la Huancaina (1.99 USD additional surcharge) and black beans. The Lomo was a tasty and straightforward rendition while the sides lacked brio. I was especially disappointed by the huancaina sauce: it was quite bland.
I thought Choza Mama's aji - the green salsa always present at the Peruvian table - was an exemplary version. It was a precise balance of the trinity of chile, cheese, and herb and when added to the black beans, it livened them up to great effect. In addition to the aji, there was a fiery ochre colored salsa that had a nice flavor profile.
I was disappointed at not finding anticuchos on the menu. I love meat grilled on a stick and I would've totally ordered some if they offered them.
Parking: There is a small parking lot behind the restaurant, off Ontario Street. You can park on the surrounding streets as well.
The Bill: 14.44 USD.
My Rating: No star out of four stars (satisfactory). Open Monday through Friday, 11 AM to 9 PM and Saturday and Sunday, 12 PM to 9 PM. Credit cards accepted. www.chozamama.com
Last Word: Choza Mama doesn't have the best Peruvian food in town but the food is satisfactory nevertheless. I'd eat here again.
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