If you follow @RidingshotgunLA on Twitter, you may have noticed Roy Choi being a little more ornery than usual recently. For a few days, the Kogi king was prodding back at a New York Times piece that lauds the Big Apple’s taco scene. The opening line — “New York has great tacos, tacos that can go mano a mano with the best of Los Angeles” — was more than enough to get Choi fired up. Now it’s our turn.
Those tried-and-true bicoastal food topics (Pizza in L.A.? Pshaw!) never cease to draw a crowd of angry commenters looking to defend their turf. But what if we took the conversation up a notch, and pulled in every corner of the Union? What foods does Los Angeles do better than the entire rest of the United States? Tacos, obviously — better luck next time, Borough dwellers — but also certain street foods, American classics and lots of delicious pitstops in between.
Here are ten culinary delights that Los Angeles does better than anywhere else in America, with a few local examples to help drive the point home.
Lots of great stuff on OverOverUnder.com today, like hot dogs and churros and cochinita pibil tacos and all sorts of other tasty stuff.
Cro(ugh)nuts may be the dessert of the moment, but churros are the dessert of so many L.A. moments, the sort of treat that may be informed by memory as much as taste: You may fondly remember munching on a churro as long as a light saber at Disneyland, or going to a swap meet with your mom and being rewarded for good behavior with a freshly fried churro. There are great churros in pretty much every part of the city, some doughy, some delicate, some filled, some not. Click through for seven of the best.
Mexican food in Los Angeles knows no boundaries. Of course, neighborhoods east of the LA River deservedly get the most attention, but there are quality tacos, burritos, gorditas and fajitas to be had all over this gigantic city. The San Fernando Valley neighborhood of North Hollywood is no exception.
Thanks to a large working-class population that surrounds the hip NoHo arts district strip, cheap and delicious Mexican food can be had all over the neighborhood. And while there may not be as many taco trucks crawling the streets at night, North Hollywood’s ample space gives lots of room for small taquerias to thrive, supplying late night crowds and daily diners alike with all manner of great meals.
Dive bars are a Los Angeles staple. Thanks to the city’s unending urban sprawl, every neighborhood has its own dark, slightly sticky haunt. Some of these bars are kitschy, some are scary, some are strictly for locals only, and almost all of them have karaoke. LA’s beloved dive bars have played host to rock bands before they made it big, and helped underdeveloped neighborhoods stay afloat during the tough times.
Here are eight awesome dive bars in Los Angeles, from Koreatown to Redondo Beach.
Strip malls will catch your eye for all sorts of different reasons. Maybe they sit at a clogged intersection, where you and every other bored commuter have lots of time to take in the scenery. Perhaps there’s a certain food you’re partial to — Indian, say — and you find yourself seeking out the hidden lunch buffet gems as a habit. It could be bright colors, obtrusive architecture or sheer size that draws you to any other strip mall, but at the Clar-Ven Center on the corner of Venice Boulevard and Clarington Avenue, the first thing you’ll notice is the variety.
Each end is stamped with a regional Asian food chain, the first being Miyako Japanese Restaurant and the other a Thai Original BBQ. But in between, you’ll find plates of Oaxacan food, daily Italian dishes and that ever-present Indian buffet. Here’s a look…
What’s not to love about quesadillas? Large, perfectly crisped tortilla; warm, gooey, heart-stopping cheese; salty, perfectly portioned meat. It’s a time-tested ratio that has worked on taco trucks, food carts and inside sit-down taquerias since forever, and with L.A.’s current focus on Mexican food with flare, the results are tastier than ever.
We’ve been scouring the streets, stalls and late night Mexican spots for the best quesadillas we could find. The greasy, cheesy, meaty results — and the related clean up — couldn’t possibly all be chronicled here, so we’ve picked four of our favorites from across the quesadilla spectrum.
In America, burgers are the great equalizer. There’s a reason that the President’s favorite blue collar campaign trail meal is a cheeseburger: They’re the perfect everyman food, available in every voter district and are always at least satisfying, if not downright delicious. People come together over beef and bun, at summertime cookouts and in restaurants where the waitstaff will refold your napkin if you go to the restroom. In short, everyone loves a good burger.
Los Angeles is no exception, with a per capita burger rate that surely rivals any other city in America. From Santa Monica and East Hollywood to the hidden South Bay gems, forge ahead to find five of our favorites.
We’ve seen puffy tacos before in Los Angeles. Classy casual chef Josef Centeno’s downtown spot Bar Amá offers them as a near rite of passage for anyone looking to break into LA’s Tex-Mex game. But after Bar Amá, the next best place to get crispy, fried puffy tacos around town is…where? Anywhere?
One place: Arturo’s Puffy Taco, in Whittier. Aside from Bar Amá’s upmarket version, Arturo’s is virtually the only place you’ll find the decidedly Texan fried delight. In fact, Arturo’s prides themselves on doing a lot of things in the supposed Tex-Mex tradition—with varying levels of success.