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Restaurant Quick Pick: Senor Fred

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The Mexican/Spanish restaurant-lounge Senor Fred has cemented its reputation as a Ventura Blvd. hot spot for drinks, but it's also a nice lunch destination for those of you trawling the Sherman Oaks area. The place fulfills at least two requirements of a good Mexican restaurant: spicy salsa that tastes homemade (their version has a nice smoky flavor to it), and strong, simple margaritas. The food is far superior to Mexicali's questionable menu, but about on par with Casa Vega's more traditional interpretations. The ceviche is spicy and tender, if a bit heavy with avocado. For an entree, the cochinita pibil (achoite-marinated, slow-cooked pork) is a winner, while the chile rellanos are a little over-stuffed with cheese.

Although only a few of the inside tables were occupied during the lunch hour, our service was great, friendly and quick. The outside patio, however, was packed with diners enjoying the weekend sunshine. But unfortunately, yes, it's got your usual Ventura Blvd. crowd: ladies, prepare yourselves for the "what is she WEARING?" once-over from dudes and chicks alike. Seriously, Valley kids, what's up with the Judgy McJudgerson stares? Just because I'm don't totter on four-inch platforms and wear designer sunglasses doesn't mean you can give me the cut-eye. Shape up or you're condemned to spend eternity locked in the Cha Cha Lounge, where hipster kids will mercilessly mock your acrylic nails and your terrible taste in music until you have no choice but to poison yourselves in your own hair product.

See you at Fred's!

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Photo courtesy of the Senor Fred website.