The best thing that's happened since I got to USC - food wise. Mo-Chica is a Peruvian restaurant inside the Mercado la Paloma. What differentiates this place from other Peruvian places I've been to around Los Angeles is that this place takes Peruvian cuisine to a gourmet level. Sure, I've had Lomo Saltado only a thousand times but never have I had it in a deconstructed form (no pic yet of this dish but will update soon).
Since I've discovered this place, I've been back three times. I've tried the Ceviche del dia, the Arroz con Pollo, the Arroz con Marisco, and the Lomo Saltado.
The Ceviche del dia is delicious and many tend to agree that it's less slimy than most ceviches. It actually tastes and feels more like a sashimi. In this one, you'll notice that there are yams as well as two kinds of corn. My favorite hominy was in it. Hominy is indigenous to Peru and Bolivia (my hometown) so it takes me back to places I cannot enter soley through my imagination.
The Arroz con Marisco, or the Seafood Rice, was reminiscent to paella in a way albeit less spicy. People who love seafood love this dish because of the abundant amount of seafood in the dish. Though in the picture it doesn't look like much, the actual quantity of the food is a lot.
This is definitely one of my favorites, along with the Lomo Saltado which I do not have a picture. This is the Arroz con Pollo and the real differentiation of this dish is the green sauce in the rice. I still dream about this rice and I'm salivating just typing this up. The chicken is also very tender and juicy but man, the rice is out of this world. If you like green sauce, you'll love this dish.
My favorite is still the Lomo Saltado because of the way it's deconstructed. It's very smart and tasty. The beef is tender and juicy, the sauce is the highlight of the dish, and the fries are stacked in a way where you can dictate how much of the sauce you want on it.
I'm so happy I found this place. I don't have to eat anywhere else around USC anymore. In La Mercado La Paloma, you will also find Chichen-Itza, Taqueria Vista Hermosa, Oaxacacalifornia, and a Thai restaurant. Here's a few snapshots of the food you can eat in this Mercado: