Getting a Little Buzz in Highland Park

January 10, 2011
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Trying to catch up for my slow start to the New Year

Trying to catch up for my slow start to the New Year

Since I didn’t do any celebrating on New Year’s Eve, I thought I might catch up by going to Villa Sombrero, a Highland Park hole-in-the-wall that’s serves about the best-damned kick-ass margaritas anywhere.

They’re slightly pricey at $9, but they come in a goblet, so you’re really getting two for the hefty price of one. With your margarita, it’s a must that you order the made-at-your-table guacamole. It’s green, it’s chunky, it’s ample, and you will fight whoever is sitting at your booth for the last swipe of the tortilla chip through the lush, fertile dip.

As for those booths, you’d think the proprietors might take some of their margarita profits and invest in some new ones. One of my dinner mates sank so low in the booth I almost forgot he was there until I saw his right arm sweep in for that last scoop of guacamole.

But in a way, the booths are part of the kitschy charm of this neighborhood watering hole. I guess that quirkiness also explains why various shades of pink balloons were clinging to the low ceiling well more than a month in advance of Valentine’s Day.

 As I was eating my tacos al carbon combination plate (three out of five stars), one balloon popped, exploding like a gunshot.  It rattled me a little (this is Highland Park, Calif., after all, not the tonier Highland Park, Mich.) but the margarita soon soothed my ruffled edges.

For my money, Villa Sombrero delivered just the right amount of mayhem I was looking for.  The food is all very adequate and decent, but let’s tell the truth! You come here for the green dip and yellow drinks. Our waiters were also superb filling our water classes, reloading our basket of chips and making us feel like regulars – scores of which this restaurant regularly attracts because it give you an honest pour without taking you to the poorhouse.

Regulars appreciate that.

Villa Sombrero is located at 6101 York Blvd. in Highland Park.  For more information, call (323) 256-9014.

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