“Chula means beautiful… I call my daughter Chula, my mom calls me mija. So these names resonate with the family and I have so many customers who say oh my gosh my horses name is chula, my sisters niece is called chula. It’s that wonderful feeling of family. It feels like it is right. I am hoping the food is.” Katherine Gonzalez explained to us the names that have brought the touches of love to her meals.
Farm to table and the hardy feeling of comfort meals always are a quintessential part of summer. Whether spending time with friends ahead of a long night out or attempting to heal the morning after. There was a particularly fulfilling sensation when stepping into Mija Handcraft Kitchen that makes one forget that we are in Culver City. The warm hopes and desert sentiments are shared in the lovely wooden decor. A certain rustic fever dream offered in wishes to stroll by a grand date palm post meal. In reality were moments away to the beach and all the cool sea air’s mood of calm and tranquility.
But that is precisely what we are supposed to feel, the satiation of desert romance and the long held traditions of Southwestern Mexican, Cali tinged food. Chef and owner Gonzalez got her moment to highlight her work at sister restaurant Chúla Artisan Eatery in La Quinta before setting sights beside the sea.
On the day we visited classic traits of Mexican brunch time was well represented with immensely fresh produce and a balanced execution, which made for a meal, which was both hearty while quite light. This freshness is well conveyed as Gonzalez mentions, “Farmers market is a way of life. People come loaded with 6 bags, when they leave the farmers market they are dragging every single thing from all the vendors there. They are supporting the farmers that get up at 4am to pick, thats really how Chula started.”
The bacon and shrimp chile rellenos were airy whilst draped in a beautiful green salsa as did the corn fritters that featured veggies in their most al dente. The crudités were bright and gorgeous in color and snap. The chicken chili was smooth with tingles of the spices waving through. The flavors and textures felt all too familiar but somehow updated to some Cali centric airy profile. It was a product that had been engineered and cultivated to this standard. “It’s a different twist from what my mom made, but we have Never changed the way we make things especially when Guy Fieri film us. I am not a classically trained chef. I cook from what I like to eat crunchy, salty, sweet I love it, all those different textures and dishes. I am cooking from what my mom made all the time, tweak things a little so that it has a value to my business.”
Mija Handcraft Kitchen | 4130 Sepulveda Blvd G, Culver City, CA 90230