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When Out of Towners Write About LA Strip Malls, It Doesn’t Always Go Well

Plus some big new moves for a South LA legend, and more

Jitlada, East Hollywood
Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

Writing about Los Angeles

Los Angeles has never been an easy place to simply quantify. There’s coastline and desert, high mountain peaks and deep river washes, all spread over hundreds of square miles and filled with people. That’s what makes LA’s multi-cultural food habits so hard to distill down: We tend to dine at every level, high and low, all the time. But sometimes, as writer Tien Nguyen points out, it’s the habit of boiling down those larger stories that can land some out of town publications in a bit of hot water.

In her piece on Medium, Nguyen uses the lens of strip malls to refract on the culture issue that others outside of LA sometimes land their eye on. Specifically pointing to articles in places like GQ and the New York Times that have recently covered strip malls, Nguyen aptly shows how interloping publications tend to grab on to big, new (and often white) chefs doing “risky” restaurants in unexpected places, leaving out the tens of thousands of others who have made strip malls their kitchens — often without any other logistical choice — for more than a generation. The whole piece is worth a read, and comes with a fair bit of LA history attached.

More Marugame for all

Looks like an official expansion for Marugame Monzo, the Little Tokyo udon specialist. They’ve recently brought their strong flavors and handmade noodles out to Las Vegas, with a new outpost that just opened a few days ago along Spring Mountain Road.

The myth-making of Tito’s Tacos

KCET has put together a lengthy look at divisive Tito’s Tacos, the longstanding hard-shelled taco operator on the Westside. They’ve been after it for nearly 60 years, and still draw lines down the block just about every day, with folks coming for nostalgia, a cheap meal, and their famous red salsa.

LA’s most Instagrammed

If you’re always chasing the next quality food shot, consider this list of most Instagrammed restaurants in Los Angeles. The list includes Eggslut, of course, as well as Republique, Sugarfish, Alfred Coffee, and Smorgasburg, among others.

OC’s most important

Want to know what’s big, buzzy, and new in Orange County right now? Consult this list for the Daily Pilot for some great intel, starting with LSXO in Huntington Beach and moving to Sichuan Impression in Tustin, which seems to be doing very well.

It’s going down in Watts

Look who stopped by the All Flavor No Grease setup in Watts? None other than Gabriel Iglesias, the comedian and TV show host. He swung through for some food from Keith Garrett, and apparently brought his film crew along for the ride.