There are few places better for a summer dining experience than HomeState: A Texas Kitchen.
The Highland Park location, which opened in March, hosts an eclectic range of Tex-Mex options, a patio dining area, and a cocktail menu that won’t raise eyebrows if you order from it at 9 a.m.
The moment you walk in you are greeted by the words “Welcome Home” in giant letters behind the bar, an ode to both Southern hospitality and their handmade flour tortillas.
There is plenty to love about HomeState’s menu, but in terms of value and quality their tacos can’t be beat.
At $3.50 each, they cost more than the average Los Angeles street taco, but HomeState offers a heftier and more flavorful variety. Their taco options are broken into two categories, “Anytime” and “Breakfast.” No need to beat the morning rush though, because their breakfast is served all day.
Patrons can choose a flour tortilla which is made in-house, or an organic corn tortilla. I went mid-day and tried a combination of both. All tacos come wrapped and labeled in foil, which helps out later if, like me, you order far more than you could reasonably eat in one sitting and must pretend you intended to take them to go in the first place.
In the breakfast category, l went with “The Trinity” taco, an underwhelming mix of organic eggs, bacon, potato and cheddar. This was followed by the incredible “Blanco,” a vegetarian taco made with organic egg whites, mushrooms and Monterey jack cheese.
The Blanco is a perfect example of less is more, with its three ingredients working harmoniously.
For “Anytime” tacos, the potato, brisket and chicken are each cooked with different toppings — not just the one-size-fits-all cilantro and onions
The potato taco featured cheddar, sour cream, guacamole, cabbage slaw, pico de gallo and pickled jalapeño. It is much better than potato in a tortilla has any right to be, and if you have never tried a potato taco let that special first be with HomeState for under $4.
The poster child of Tex-Mex and holy grail of the HomeState menu is their — cue drumroll — beef brisket.
The brisket, which is roasted “low and slow” for 12 hours, is flavorful and tender. The “Welcome Home” sign should probably read “Trust us, get the brisket” underneath it. While I wish I could have ordered a plate full of brisket on its own, it can be ordered several ways: A taco with guacamole and cabbage slaw, or a breakfast version called the “Pecos.” It can also be ordered in the Texas Toast sandwich($10), also with guacamole and slaw, served toasted only on the inside of the bread which gives a nice crunch and mix of textures. The brisket is also on the menu in the LoneStar Migas ($10), an egg scramble with crispy corn strips, onion, cheese and pico de gallo. For an optimal dining experience, I suggest ordering it in all of its offerings — it’s honestly that good.
I can always appreciate the culinary fusion of different cultures, and what HomeState does well is take their Tex-Mex menu and leans into the LA way of doing things. While they boast the traditional Tex-Mex staples, they also have a range of vegetarian options.
Even evident in their aesthetic, they mix the Tex-Mex roots with the Highland Park vibe and LA dining. The outside dining area is surrounded by red brick walls and a dirt floor that looks straight out of an old Western, with string lights hanging above wooden picnic tables and patio furniture. The music is an eclectic blend of classic country hits from artists like George Strait to Alabama Shakes’ blues rock.
As far as alcohol goes, you can get a mimosa bucket ($28) or a more traditional Spicy Paloma ($10).
Their non-alcoholic beverages include a traditional Mexican Coke bottle ($3.50), cold-brew coffee and teas.
Unlike their location in Los Feliz, HomeState’s new Highland Park location features alcoholic beverages and is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.
If you check out HomeState this summer don’t leave without trying one of their frozen margaritas ($10), which are also available on the rocks. Although they just opened, the frozen margaritas seem to be the early favorite on Yelp.
A variety of beers are also available, including La Lupulosa ($15), an American Style IPA made by Cerveceria Insurgente, a Tijuana-based brewery.
HomeState has found a lifelong patron in me as long as they continue to have such affordable menu options and quality homemade ingredients. I highly recommend it this summer for indulging in a few tacos … or 10.