La Flama

La Flama is the sister restaurant to the Santa Monica butcher shop with the same name, except it’s really more suitable for a casual lunch than picking up five lbs of meat. This place dishes out excellent molotes–fried masa croquettes filled with potatoes and spicy Oaxacan chorizo. They’re then topped off with black bean puree and queso fresco, giving each bite the flavors of a tlayuda minus the clumsy mess that comes with enthusiastically shoveling one into your mouth. La Flama’s memelas deserve special recognition as well for their soft masa, savory asiento, creamy bean paste, and luckily being large enough to carry three types of meat of your choosing. We consider these face-sized memelas to be a prime opportunity for sampling the butcher’s specialties, like minced Oaxacan chorizo, tasajo, and one very flavorful cecina that rivals the chorizo in smoky heat.

Food Rundown


The combination of masa, beans, and cheese has never failed us, and it certainly doesn’t fall short here. These corn croquettes are filled with a chorizo and potato mixture that’s spicy, oily, and full of interesting textures. The heat gets cooled down with a bean paste and queso fresco topping, but keep in mind that they're definitely a bit on the heavier side.


These soft memelas come fresh off the grill and receive a spoonful of savory asiento before getting layered with silky smooth bean paste, salty quesillo, and queso fresco. We love the spicy adobo marinade of the cecina on top that dyes the whole thing a bright red, as well as the heat from the chorizo that pairs great with the hidden layer of asiento.

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