Tuesday, August 6, 2013
The Jolly Oyster Kitchen serves Thursday through Sunday, 12:00 to 7:00 P.M., at San Buenaventura State Beach Park.
Despite the South Coast’s surfeit of shoreline, ocean-adjacent dining hardly has any sea-legs in Southern California. Private playgrounds clog the cliff-sides of the Pacific Coast Highway, which comes dotted with the occasional high-priced or low-quality surf-and-turf chain, their high rents leaving little space for organic expressions of the Pacific palate, nor the sterling sea life sourced from the Santa Barbara Channel and surrounding depths.
Visitors and locals alike will be stumped to find signature seafood recipes akin to Maine’s lobster rolls or Maryland’s crab houses that truly reflect our relationship with Southern California’s native shores. Our favorite fried fish tacos were ferried in from points south; our cioppino arrived from the north. The Central Coast’s prized urchins and spot prawns are considerably more likely to be shipped to Japan or relished in an Encino strip mall sushi spot than in the region’s seaside restaurants. And even though places like the Redondo Pier’s Quality Seafood makes crustaceans, whole fish, and molluscs approachable, eating by the beach in L.A. typically means someone is going to Gladstone’s or Neptune’s Nets, more famous for their ocean vistas than their seafood selections.
Wednesday, July 31, 2013
The great Boris Karloff was born in England, found fame as Frankenstein’s monster (and also played Frankenstein, thank you, readers, for the correction) in Hollywood, and finished his career in Mexico (awesome example at the end of this post). Somewhere along the way he developed a strong affinity for Mexican food, as the article above, found on BadassDigest, explains, along with telling its readers that guac is an “avocado-based sauce”. His recipe for guacamole has an English twist, with a dash of sherry thrown in along with more common ingredients:
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
“Back in the day, when I was a teenager, before I had status, and before I had a pager . . . ”
It’s 1996. A Tribe called Quest is blaring out the car window. I just wrapped up an Apple Pan run soon to be followed by a screening of Rumble in the Bronx and some mall loitering at the Westside Pavilion. $11 lighter after leaving Apple Pan, I only wish knew then what I know now: Marty’s on Pico is West LA’s answer for Bang for your Burger Buck.
Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Because somedays you just say “Fuck it. Give me a double chili cheeseburger.”
For the record I am not a chili cheeseburger kinda guy. I like chili on occasion. I like cheeseburgers very often. But I don’t need them at the same time. Much like the argument with bacon, good beef patties don’t need friends from the meat department. But we are at the original Yuca’s on Hillhurst; a venerable, James Beard award winning taco stand, where Cochinita Pibil is simmering away in a corner burner, skirt steaks are getting a serious char on the griddle and the cashier is practically giving away double chili cheeseburgers at a price of $5 with tax – I think you realize why I had to go for it.
Thursday, June 27, 2013
“Yo-ho, yo-ho, a taco life for me.” The benefits of the taco lifestyle were on naked display to everyone at Tacolandia, Saturday’s celebration of the city’s favorite staple. These convictions were doubly confirmed spying the event’s culinary curator, Bill Esparza, strutting through the massive with Miss Los Angeles on one arm and Dita Von Teese on the other. Direct benefits of the man’s dedication to this here taco life. In fact, everyone at Hollywood’s Palladium that afternoon reaped the rewards of Esparza’s epicurean experience and deep connections to gifted chefs as various and voracious members of L.A.’s many taco tribes joined up under the sun in the parking lot of the Palladium to sip drinks and shoot the breeze, all while eating very well. (Continued)
Thursday, June 20, 2013
The Big One is back! Next Saturday, June 29, L.A. Street Food Fest returns to Pasadena’s Rose Bowl with over 100 restaurants, food trucks, pop-ups, and sidewalk chefs preparing street-style specialties in an all-you-can-eat orgy of traditional and trailblazing recipes. The lineup of savories alone, as you see above you, resembles a culinary Coachella. Serious specialists like Bigmista’s BBQ, the barbacoa bravos from San Diego’s Aqui Es Texcoco, Starry Kitchen, Inglewood’s Coni’Seafood, Oaxaca’s own Rodolfo Castellanos, 9021Pho, Tijuana’s Javier Plascencia, Rivera’s John Sedlar, Bell’s Corazon y Miel, Grilled Cheese Truck, Octavio Olivas’ The Ceviche Project, Ensenada’s El Coraloense, and El Monte’s mind-blowing Dragon Whiskers candy chap will be among the many artists uniting for the six-hour affair. The annual festival has also turned into a surprise springboard for cool forthcoming concepts, and this year will also feature a beer garden, seven cocktail bars, an ice cream social, and commando clothing boutiques. Last year, there were a lot of sponsors giving away free swag like entire bottles of K.O. Ketchup, putting a little more icing on the cake of an all-day, all-you-can-eat booze and food feast. Every one who enters also gets a free ticket to the O.C. Fair to cavort with barnyard animals and deep-fried foodstuffs. Check out the full roster of participating restaurants on the event’s website, and get a $5 discount on the $50 Gen-Pop and $75 VIP tickets when you buy through Eventbrite using the code “LATaco13.” See you at The Street Food Fest!
Friday, June 14, 2013
All photos by Tatiana Arbogast
Bill Esparza single-handedly raised our standards for authentic asada, carnitas, and pastor in L.A. through his blog Street Gourmet L.A. and writing in The L.A. Times and O.C. Weekly. Fueled by fastidious explorations of the regionally rich and diverse culinary culture of Mexico’s many states while traveling as a professional saxophone player, the Stockton native often plays secret weapon as a consultant on other parties’ street food events, intrepid eaters’ television shows, and fancy restaurants State-specific Mexican menus. Next Sunday, Esparza presents his own event, Tacolandia, in a partnership with L.A. Weekly at The Palladium. Priced at $20, the writer promises us, “I’ve put together a tight group of vendors that is a refreshing break from the usual Gourmet Truck fests–not knocking them–I love them and support them for real as I support all street food venues–but it’s nice to offer something different. We also have the best Mexican chefs in town: Rocio Camacho, Jimmy Shaw, Jaime and Ramiro (of Bell’s Casita Mexicana). We have the 4 Baja chefs and stands, Trey Foshee from George’s on the Cove in Coronado, we have traditional mom and pops, and some chefs doing great things with tacos–Wes Avila, Joshua Gil, Laurent Quenioux–can you say…escamoles?–and Ricardo Zarate.”
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Because Burgers and Rice are as American as apple pie.
There is something about the Asian American Sensibility that sits so perfectly well with Bang for your Burger Buck. Their reputation for hard work and business savvy came after a long road paved by manual labor and unjust exclusion from mainstream society. Being a child of immigrants from a Third world country, I would occasionally get the “remember where you came from” speech and as a result, some lessons from the old country prevail. Lucky for you, value is one of them, and that pretty much sums up Uncle John’s to a T.
A standard visit to Uncle John’s is incomplete without trying the Spicy Fried Pork Chops and Eggs. Chinese food for breakfast? No Brainer. Add eggs? That pretty much sums up the culinary trend of the last 10 years. Just remember to get fried rice on the side. Avoid the tubers, as they just are not up to snuff. Besides you really are missing the point: rice is the starch of choice for the Asian continent, and when in Rome . . . .
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Barbecue stands strong as the enduring, finger-lickin’ legacy of American roots cooking. Long before Memphis ever pulled its pork, the Arawak were pit-smoking meats in the West Indian islands. Generations before Texans teamed mesquite-smoked brisket with tequila cocktails and white bread, privileged MesoAmericans were pounding pulque and sotol, smoking chilies, and slow-cooking a menagerie of animals that may have included iguana, turkey, and tapir in their subterranean earth ovens. When it comes to our own great city, the great migration of Southern-born African Americans to Los Angeles over the turn of the 20th century leaves our landscape still dotted with sturdy barbecue spots mostly in the Texan tradition, represented today by dedicated, smoker-strapped pitmasters like Neal Strawder of Bigmista’s Barbecue, Kevin Bludso of Bludso’s BBQ in Compton, and The Spot, which until recently showed up with killer smoked turkey necks and slabs of pork ribs at West Compton’s Prayer Assembly Church every other weekend.
This summer, prominent pitmaster Robbie Richter will open Roadhouse L.A. at The Hollywood Improv with backing from Umami Burger entrepreneur, Adam Fleischman. Richter is a Queens native making the move to Los Angeles for his first solo venture. But before a rousing course of California cue-junkies can start crying, “This stuff’s made in New York City!” keep in mind that Richter made his bones on the intensely cutthroat competitive barbecue circuit, contests judged in the strictest seriousness by the Kansas City Barbecue Society that offer champions five-figure purses. Through his work at Manhattan’s Hill Country and Brooklyn’s Fatty Cue, this East Coast pitmaster is among a tiny handful of names responsible for making “New York Barbecue” a term we now think twice about snickering at. Of course, pit-cooking is believed by some scholars to have originally spread to the South from the East Coast (think underground clam bakes in New England), no matter that native Americans had their own form of pit-cooking in the American South West.
Wednesday, May 22, 2013
The Good Life.
Something about taking the 4th/5th street exit off the 10 feels like I’m taking a mini vacation. The beach, the tourists, the fact that I live east of La Brea, all have a hand in doing that. But more important than vacation, are burgers, and Santa Monica has a pedigree when it comes to that department. Father’s Office, Nook, The Counter, Rustic Canyon - I could go on but the point is this: if you are trying to sling burgers in this part of town you need to bring your “A” game. Enter Pono Burger, new kid on the block, chef driven and priced just close enough to be placed in the Bang for your Burger Buck territory.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Corner Burger. Lawndale.
Let’s talk about that for a sec.
So unless you work near LAX, get bored with the same old-same old in the South Bay or happen to be in the know for the smokiest & tastiest Chicken Tikka Masala in LA (Al Watan, next door in Hawthorne); you probably have never heard of Lawndale. You probably thought Hawthorne was some show on TNT with the Fresh Prince of Bel Air’s wife. You need to change that thinking. Cuz Lawndale is bringing a signature burger blend and some serious griddle skills in the world of Bang for your Burger Buck.