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Downtown LA’s Development Has Been a Decade in the Making

Plus Curtis Stone makes a burger and a new taco player hits the Valley

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Cleo at L.A. Live in Downtown
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.

This is how it happens

For anyone who has grown up in Los Angeles, the return of Downtown as a thriving cultural center must have seemed all but impossible just ten short years ago. Notwithstanding the rise of Staples Center in 1999, the area was from the 1990’s through the late 2000’s a place that emptied out after the workday, with only small collection points of places for diners and drinkers to enjoy.

Of course that’s all changed now, with Downtown Los Angeles becoming one of the hottest culinary neighborhoods in the entire United States. American Way Magazine dives into the driving forces behind it (particularly on the food and beverage side), talking to Cedd Moses about opening Golden Gopher in 2004, and Roy Choi about what it meant to park his Kogi BBQ truck in the area just five years later. Now, Bill Chait says, Downtown and the Arts District are hubs for creative activity, and there are no signs of slowing down. What a difference a decade makes.

Curtis Stone makes a burger

The next chef to collaborate with the NoMad truck is Curtis Stone, which means he’s doing his take on a chicken burger. This one’s got smoked bacon from Gwen, sauerkraut, mustard, and Swiss cheese, and retails for $10 with proceeds going to Chrysalis. Follow along with the truck’s next location here.

More Mexican seafood for the Valley

There’s a new taco player in North Hollywood, as Bajacali Tacos gets things going. Ventura Blvd. Magazine has all the pertinent details on the three month old restaurant, including shots from their seafood-focused menu.

Lao Tao is here

Lao Tao Taiwanese Street Food gets the LA Downtowner treatment, with the upstairs Far East Plaza spot earning raves for its beef ban mien and other Taiwanese favorites.

Light and airy

Apparently there’s a new French concept coming to Broadway in the thick of Santa Monica, and it’s called Air Food. Toddrickallen says that’s all there is to know after talking to one of the owners, but regardless look for the lofty spot to arrive sometime this spring.

It’s a craft beer party

Want to be driven around the city while sipping on some of the best craft beers available? It’s as easy as signing up for this LA Beer Hop tour with certified Cicerone Hal Mooney, where you’ll get to duck into the new Verdugo West, plus Eagle Rock and Mumford Brewing, plus food pairings from Baldoria. It’s going down this Sunday, starting at 1 p.m.

Teenage bakery dreams

Clara Polito is a busy young woman these days. The teenage founder of Clara Cakes just got a profile in LA Weekly, and is hosting a cookbook release party this Saturday on the Eastside.