By Erica Olsen

Jonesing for something new to check out? This week I’m rolling out some hot new restaurants, new music and events to cure your FOMO.

Today, it’s all about food.

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In my Labor Day article, you heard about the summer corn recipe from Chef Jose Acevedo which happens to be one of the must-try dishes at the newly opened Mercado Taqueria in Studio City. I joined a hungry crowd at the soft opening, and here are some highlights:

The restaurant is a taqueria so one would hope they can deliver on their namesake, and they do.

Baja Fish Taco

Jicama Shrimp taco – replacing a corn tortilla with a thin slice of jicama might seem less exciting to some, but this taco is PACKED with flavor and the sweet chile mango salsa has just the right kick. It’s my go-to taco here.

Baja Fish taco – lightly battered with a lime crema that you can’t get enough of.

Mushroom Chorizo taco – the restaurant was worried it might pack too much heat, but it was perfectly balanced with the queso fresco.

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I also can’t gush enough about the Cauliflower al pastor served over a slice of grilled pineapple. If my parents had fed me this as a child, finishing my veggies would not have been an hour-long battle.

You can’t go wrong ordering a specialty cocktail at any of the Mercado restaurants. Beverage director, Cesar Arenas’ offerings have the perfect balance of sweet, sour and heat. So, when they have a special, order it!

The interior is a cozier version of its predecessor, Maradentro. The bar has been moved from the back to the front making it more inviting, not to mention easier to belly up and watch the football action on one of many TV screens.

Plus, the larger-than-life lucha libre mural reminds me of my first year in LA living around the corner from El Carmen. Now, I’m around the corner from this great addition to Ventura Blvd. Bienvenidos!

Most of the menu is $12 or less. Plus, the restaurant is planning some happy hours on the weekends (4-6p), as well as late night happy hours.

Other new restaurants getting buzz:

From Quinn and Karen Hatfield (Sycamore Kitchen, Odys & Penelope) comes The Mighty – an all-new all-day downtown eatery. From pastas made in-house to focaccias and of course the standard avocado toast, this appears to be an easy yet elevated menu. Another newbie to downtown is Blacksmiths restaurant, open for dinner and brunch in an airy space deemed as “glitz and industrial design.” The vibe of each plate? Classic American fare with some fresh updates pleasing to just about anyone’s palate.

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