Expresion Oaxaqueña: A Culture at Its Best

Take it from a well-fed Oaxacan-American: a visit to Expresion Oaxaqueña will lift you from Los Angeles into an oasis of the finest Oaxacan flavor.

Like any treasure in L.A., the place is easy to zip past when racing against the traffic lights, but if you’re smart enough to pull over to the side of Expresion to give it a shot, you’re not going to forget it. On a first visit with a small party, I’d recommend trying out their chicken mole.

Chicken Mole at Expresion Oaxaqueña, in all its glory.

In case you’re wondering: yes, it IS every bit as wet and chocolaty as it looks. And yes, when mixed with tender grilled chicken it IS going to dramatically alter the way you like your chicken and sauces.

On another visit with a larger party, I’d recommend the tlayuda, which is basically a little island where the sand is made up of ground beans and queso fresco on top of which there’s sprawled a little village of avocados, tomatoes, chorizo, and a bunch of other goodies just waiting to get wiped out by the waves of a furious appetite.

A tlayuda island, at Expresion Oaxaqueña.

Again, by the time you’re done, the tlayuda WILL make you rethink about the way you like your Mexican food. It might even make you rethink about your political affiliation through some crazy food-coma induced epiphany. Or about the start of the universe.

The face of a food-coma, at Expresion Oaxaqueña.
The face of a food-coma, at Expresion Oaxaqueña.

Either way, only one thing’s for sure: as any of my friends or family could tell you, these dishes are only THE BEGINNING of what Jerry Seinfeld might call a long and meaningful relationship between you and Expresion.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: it can’t get any better. But of course it gets better.

After you’re done with your meal, sure you can wash it all down with some horchata or piña colada, but doing so would only be smart if you followed these drinks up with some of the finest coffee available in Los Angeles.

Let me put it this way. In all my years of devotedly treasuring hot chocolate, cappuccinos, white chocolate mochas, and other sweet and dark flavors, I often wondered how it was that I didn’t quite take to coffee like so many of my friends claimed to do, quietly believing that most of the coffee generally found in cafes was actually rather bitter and stale despite my peers’ appreciation for it. At Expresion Oaxaqueña, this suspicion was confirmed RIGHT ALL ALONG. I couldn’t treasure what we generally call coffee in SoCal because I simply hadn’t had the cinnamon-rich sweetness of OAXACAN COFFEE yet!

To put it lightly, ever since I rejoiced in this splendor, my standards for coffee have significantly been updated: basically, if it’s not Oaxacan coffee or at least within range, then it’s probably not really worth it, to be honest with ya’.

Think I’m just exaggerating?! I can assure you that if you’ve got a sweet tooth like I do, then sippin’ on Oaxacan coffee will drive your taste buds CRAZY! After all, do you think anyone who wasn’t CRAZY would ramble on as long as I have for a single drink?! Of course not. But I’m not crazy anyhow! I’m just in love with the coffee here!

Seriously though, can someone get me a refill already?!

If you’re in the Koreatown area any time soon, don’t miss out! Rest assured, I won’t.

To find out more, visit the restaurant’s webpage. And no, they’re not paying me to write this; I just really freaking love and respect what they’re doing:

Author: J.T.

JIMBO TIMES is about the heart of a nation, which begins with the heart of a woman. It was the 1980s, and hailing from the dusty trails of her pueblo of San Pedro in the mountains of Oaxaca, Mexico, my mom crossed over 2,000 miles to find work as a garment laborer in downtown Los Angeles. Shortly afterwards, she met my father. He had just escaped from a civil war in El Salvador and was working as a handyman for an apartment complex in East Hollywood. They were both in their mid-twenties when they met, and in 1989, they married to give birth to me and my brother, respectively. Ten years later, before my brother and I became teenagers, my father left. Heartbroken, but not overcome, my mom didn’t remarry, but chose instead to raise us on her own. It wasn’t the first time she had to start over. When mom was in the sixth grade, her father —a tradesman of el pueblo — was shot and killed by a jealous ex business partner. As the oldest of nine siblings, mom left school in order to take care of her brothers and sisters. She helped raise them alongside my grandmother for the next ten years, after which she'd leave for L.A. Today Mom's resilience is mine, which flows through JIMBO TIMES: a dedication to her and Los Angeles. J.T.

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