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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Homegirl Cafe: Great Food, Great Drinks and a Great Cause

I went to Homegirl Cafe shortly after it opened a few years ago and really liked it. The food was creative, tasty and I could tell used very fresh ingredients. Years later, I was heartened to see Homegirl Cafe outposts at City Hall as well as at Kaiser Permanente. The food was just as solid as the first time around.

I like going to the actual location next to Union Station though and while service was spotty back then, I'm sure it's gotten better over the years.

We started off with Angela's Green Potion, a spinach mint limeade, and Mango Agua Fresca, which wasn't too sweet and refreshing. It's hard to say anything negative about mango. I also loved how pretty the pop of colors looked side by side.

Then came the guacamole, which had a bit of a kick that made it better. Homegirl now serves a guac with roasted pineapples that I haven't yet tried but can't wait to sample on my next visit.

Our group ordered a mix of tacos that were all good. I mean I do prefer my fish tacos fried, but the grilled whitefish taco wasn't bad.

I got a 3 taco combination that included red chicken mole, carnitas and beef tinga. The red chicken mole was moist and came with habanero pickled onions, cilantro and sesame seeds, which gave it a slightly nutty flavor.

The carnitas one was topped with an apple-tomatillo salsa and fresh cilantro. It was tart, tangy and very refreshing. The carnitas was moist and soft.

The beef tinga, a stewy way of preparing shredded meat, had a slight kick as well and was topped with habanero pickled red onions and fresh cilantro.

The trio came with a wedge of lime and some sliced radishes.

The sandwiches are served on a freshly baked baguette (on the premises) that also have creative combinations of cold cuts or grilled meats paired with Mexican cheeses.

It's always inspiring to learn about the mission of Homeboy Industries, which is the umbrella nonprofit Homegirl works under. Jobs Not Jails is the organization's slogan. It's a great cause and they do great work so going to its restaurant and bakery is also a great way to do your part in the mission. Check out the inspiring stories here.

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