Thursday, July 06, 2006

hungry? los angeles
Flor Morena Fine Foods, Silverlake

From BL clockwise: Red Velvet with red sprinkles, Carrot Cake with candied carrots, Rich Chocolate with polka dot sprinkles.

An email invitation to a private informal launch party for Hungry? Los Angeles led to a night of fun conversation with fellow food blogger, Oishii Eats, as well as some good eats with the lovely people at Flor Morena Fine Foods and Glove Box Books.

From TL clockwise: Exterior signage. Interior lighting. Green Beans with garlic & tomato salad. Books for the launch.

Relatively new to the restaurant world, this little stop is brimming with heart and soul. It was apparent to me in the atmosphere, the food, and the people who make up Flor Morena. Taken from Hungry? LA, we learn that it's "a popular neighborhood eatery with lots of personality and top quality ingredients... [with a] unique mix of southern soul, americana, and mexican offerings."
Three generations of women make this restaurant special. The restaurant was started by a mother (half Tennessee black and half Mexican - hence the menu mix) and her daughter, Desiree, who will make you feel like a regular customer even on your first visit. And grandma comes in on weekends to make the fresh tamales. They do the grocery shopping each day themselves to make sure their ingredients are top quality. Drive slow to find this spot that sits on a narrow corner of a block. - Molly Siple
Coming from a strong matriarchal family myself, I love the fact that this restaurant is not only owned and run by a woman, but that three generations of women make up Flor Morena. I like to think of this restaurant as a reflection of the rich cultural diversity that is Los Angeles. People from all corners of the globe, the city embraces old and new generations of immigrants bridged together by a love of good food, good people and good sunshine.

Flor Morena's fun and colorful little deli and restaurant is easily missed if you drive quickly, and I almost did. There's a small lot for only a handful of cars, but J and I were pretty lucky to score a spot on the side street just up the hill. A brisk hop, jump, and a skip... and we were opening the door to this warm, welcoming and eclectically modern and vintage space. Beautifully delicate golden chandeliers hung from the ceiling and added to the charm of this Silverlake gem of an eating spot. We claimed our small table for two, but were a bit camera shy until AFTER our first bite.

From TL clockwise: Spinach & Strawberry salad. Salsa-like salad. Summer melons. Jicama & Blackberry salad.

We grabbed our little black plates with clear plastic forks in hand, and sampled a little of each dish. J's favorite of the night was the Strawberry Green Salad with fresh flavors and fruity goodness. My pick of salads would have to be the crisp summer green beans blanched and sprinkled with olive oil, garlic and tomatoes as one of my favorites.

From TL clockwise: Jars of Sea Salt & Vanilla Caramels from Little Flower Candy Co. 50cents each. Macaroni Salad. Beef Brisket mini sandwich. Fried Catfish mini po'boy sandwich. Drunken mushrooms.

The food we had that night reminded me of a great picnic outdoors, and I thought to myself that the next time I plan to eat and watch a concert under the stars at the Bowl, I'll definitely pack some boxes of salads, sandwiches, and more from Flor Morena for some good picnic eats.

We also had helpings to Grandma Morena's Green Chile Tamales. They were mild, moist, and rich with corn flavor. Handmade and wrapped with care, these were so delicious that I went for seconds.

Dessert came in the miniature variety of their glass encased cupcakes [pictured above]. Each one of the four choices had its own topping: red velvet cake with creamy frosting; rich fudge like chocolate cake with colorful sprinkled dots; carrot cake with candied shavings of carrot; and coconut with grated coconut topping [not pictured].

Since I'm not entirely sure of what red velvet is supposed to taste like, I wasn't sure what to expect. It was rich, thick, and a little dry. Better eaten with the frosting in one bite.The chocolate looked like it would have been my favorite, but was way too rich for me. Even the small sized cupcake would have been better shared and enjoyed with a cool glass of milk (or for the lactose intolerant like me, soy milk). My favorite of the night was definitely the carrot cake. I liked this one most because of the candied pieces of carrot that I first thought were candied orange zest on top. Moist and light, the carrot was clearly winner of all cupcakes.

Poor coconut didn't even have a chance. I hate coconut.

A couple of huge glass jugs had samples of Sea Salt Caramels and Vanilla Caramels for 50 cents each that would make for a great dessert as well. After a quick freebie to taste, it didn't take long for J and I to agree that this little piece of candy was definitely a keeper. We went home with little bags of the sea salt treasures from the Little Flower Candy Company. (The maker happens to be the mom of a good friend of OUR new friend, Desiree - the daughter behind Flor Morena.)

The food had a home cooked feel, as if it would be something out of my own family kitchen. And that's what I loved most about this place - how at home I felt and how I couldn't help but get a second and third helping of the good stuff.

So remember to take some time to slow down while you're driving in Silverlake, make a stop at Flor Morena, chat with Desiree who's got a sparkling personality, and have some good eats in what I think is one of LA's best.

Flor Morena Fine Foods in Silverlake
street: 2742 rowena ave | los angeles, ca 90039
tel: 323.665.3567
small lot and street parking

Hungry? Los Angeles by Glove Box Books
retail: $12.95 at BN

Sea Salt Caramels
Little Flower Candy Co.
Los Angeles, CA 90065
ingredients: cream, milk, sugar, corn syrup and sea salt.


yoony said...

oh i passed by that flor morena store the other day and thought it looked really nice. glad you covered it! :)

as for the little flower company sea salt caramels - they are definitely something special! i love the super milky creamy caramel's soft texture and of course the sea salt. sweet & salty, along with spicy and sweet, is my fav combo of flavors.

Tokyoastrogirl said...

I must say I am surprised by your positive comments since I've heard nothing but bad..well, horrible...comments on this place on Chowounds. I wonder if this party is a sign that they are "starting over" so to speak..?

BoLA said...

Hey Yoony! Make sure you have a chance to chat with Desiree if you go there. She is way cool. And yes, those little caramels are absolutely delicious! I shared some with my hairdresser the next day, and they were ALL gone! LOL!

Hey TAG! Not sure why Chowhounders are pretty negative with their comments, but after a quick read through, most of all the posts were from last year. I had heard that they hired some people to help them out with their business plan. Great people, and I enjoyed the food. Like I said, it felt like good home cookin. Not pretentious at all. Very down to earth. I'd give it a try, even IF the chowhounders don't have much good to say. =)

Jeni said...

BOLA...when you get back from NorCal, let's get some mojito's and some tamales!

rick james said...


looks tasty... its hard to find good tamales.. how do they compare to El Cholo green tamales?

k said...

BOLA...looks yummy! And sea salt carmels: Good stuff!

Erin S. said...

Love the look of the jicama and blackberry salad...will have to stop by. Thanks for the report!

Passionate Eater said...

I really like your site Bola! Your pictures are mouthwateringly amazing. ...Hungry... I hope that you'll do a series on the "Best of SF" now that you are visiting!

I left a comment on my site about good dim sum places you might want to try out now that you are in the Bay Area. Also, feel free to send me an email or give me a call. EDNBM should have my cell phone number.

Mike said...

Hey Best of LA... the Franklin Avenue 3 (Mike, Maria, Blogger Baby) were there too... sorry we didn't get a chance to meet a fellow blogger!

Colleen Cuisine said...

oooo!!! I love those Little Flower caramels. They sell them at Susina and I buy a bag whenever I go there

BoLA said...

Hey Jeni! I'm jonesing for some good tamales and mojitos right about now! Will you be at Jonah's BBQ potluck on Sunday?

Hey RJ! You know, the last time I went to El Cholo's... I didn't get the tamales and the dish I got - I REALLY didn't like which is why I haven't posted it here. But the ones I got at this party were great appetizers! I'd give them a try. They just don't have El Cholo's LA nostalgic know?

Hey Keri! Sea salt caramels are GREAT! I'm going to try to make some myself one of these days!

Hey Erin! I'm not a HUGE fan of jicama so I ate all my blackberries. hehe....

Hey PE! Thanks for stopping on by... not sure if I can meet up with you this week. The bf and I have tix to see "Spelling Bee" at the Post Theatre tonight and will probably try to get down to Palo Alto sometime too. *sigh* And yes, I'll be writing and posting up pix from my trip up north soon... just have been very very busy. After all, this is a vacation. LOL! Thanks for the dim sum recommendations... will save them for later!

Hey Michael! Love your LA Blog! Sorry I didn't get to meet you, Maria and the baby that night. But I'm sure that there will be other times. Do you frequent at all?

Hey CC! Oooo.... Susina. I *still* have to go there! Can't wait to see you on Sunday! Do you like BBQ Ribs? =)

Colleen Cuisine said...

Those BBQ Ribs were OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD!! So delicious. Great seeing you again - look forward to the next one!

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