clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Best Dishes Eater Editors Ate This Week

New, 2 comments

Follow Eater editors as they share their favorite meals during the pandemic

Wagyu tartare at Chadolpoong in Koreatown.
Wagyu tartare at Chadolpoong in Koreatown
Matthew Kang

The editors of Eater LA aren’t dining out as much as before stay-at-home orders were put in place, but that doesn’t mean the team isn’t eating well. From pantry hacks to stress baking to delivery and takeout, here now is the very best of everything the team has eaten recently.


April 5, 2021

Wagyu tartare at Chadolpoong in Koreatown

Wagyu tartare at Chadolpoong in Koreatown.
Wagyu tartare at Chadolpoong in Koreatown
Matthew Kang

It’s difficult to find much history on this Korean version of tartare called yukhoe (pronounced more like yook-hweh), but Koreans will likely insist on its origins in royal court cuisine. This exemplary version at Chadolpoong in Koreatown uses tender American wagyu for an easy-to-chew and beefy appetizer more fitting for a multi-course meal than a dinner of seared intestines (the restaurant’s specialty). The weird juxtaposition aside, this glorious raw beef dish has the light touch of a sesame oil and a soy marinade, well-julienned Korean pear for sweetness and crunch, and a bright orange yolk that would make a farmer proud. I honestly hadn’t even had yukhoe since I was in Seoul in 2019. It’s difficult enough to find in top-notch form in LA (perhaps Park’s and Gwangyang make notable examples), but I was pleasantly surprised by this one at Chadolpoong. 3470 W 6th St #3, Los Angeles. —Matthew Kang

Oxtail stew from Mia’s Kitchen in Manhattan Beach

Oxtail stew from Mia’s Kitchen in Manhattan Beach.
Oxtail stew from Mia’s Kitchen in Manhattan Beach
Cathy Chaplin

For those who have no motivation to cook dinner following a day at the beach, the move is to swing into Mia’s Kitchen in Manhattan Beach for incredible Caribbean cooking to-go. Best of all, most of the menu items from owner Lisa Salinas’s family repertoire travels exceedingly well. While the weekends-only goat curry served with flaky roti bread was truly delightful, the dish that ruled ‘em all was the oxtail stew served with pigeon peas and rice. Hours of slow-and-low cooking made for wonderfully tender tails with meat that fell off the bone with ease, while the accompanying rice sopped up all the fatty drippings in fabulous fashion. 312 Rosecrans Ave., Manhattan Beach. —Cathy Chaplin

Fireside crepe from Café Crêpe in Big Bear Lake

Fireside crepe from Café Crêpe in Big Bear Lake.
Fireside crepe from Café Crêpe in Big Bear Lake
Mona Holmes

Imagine starting the two-hour drive home from Big Bear — the trunk is full and the dog is in the back seat — when suddenly a drive-thru creperie appears and you hang left into Café Crêpe. The owners opened this tiny, but mighty restaurant four months before the pandemic began and they’ve been busy. They only focus on preparing two things well: crepes and coffee. These sweet or savory crepes are made to order, so just prepare to wait with a podcast or a book. When the Fireside crepe with sauteed apples, cinnamon, and caramel sauce is ready, just pull over and turn off the engine to take it all in. The coffees are strong, while the crepes are dolloped generously with whipped cream. The entire caffeinated, carb, and sugar combination provides plenty of fuel for the drive ahead. Café Crêpe also offers vegan options and a delicious gluten-free buckwheat crepe. 41003 Big Bear Blvd., Big Bear Lake. —Mona Holmes

Burgers and Beer at Select Beer Store in Redondo Beach

The South Bay is obsessed with craft beer and for good reason. The sunny, beachy region led the way last decade in reintroducing bespoke breweries to LA County, and today counts some of the best spots like El Segundo and Smog City as neighbors. Among the most well-regarded spots to talk hops and crush cans is Select Beer Store in Redondo Beach — which is perfect because they also host food pop-ups like last weekend’s burger (yes, more burgers) hit Proudly Serving. Stop by the shop this weekend to pick up a few cans and a peek at the ocean. 1613 S. Pacific Coast Highway, Redondo Beach. —Farley Elliott


March 29, 2021

Coquilles St. Jacques at Pasjoli in Santa Monica

Coquilles St. Jacques at Pasjoli in Santa Monica.
Coquilles St. Jacques at Pasjoli in Santa Monica
Matthew Kang

I hadn’t been to Pasjoli since December 2019, a world away from our reality of the last 12 months. Back then, the Eater LA team celebrated the end of the year with a luxurious French dinner with wine, cocktails, and the restaurant’s signature pressed duck. This time I returned with my wife, going through a number of Dave Beran’s new menu items, including this elegant coquilles St. Jacques that comes with fresh, plump scallops and a wonderful mushroom-wine cream sauce underneath crunchy breadcrumbs. Dab on some lemon to cut through the richness and taste this midcentury classic through a modern lens. It turns out the stuffy 1950s-era appetizer still has plenty of merit in 2021. 2732 Main St, Santa Monica. —Matthew Kang

Cauliflower shawarma at B’Ivrit pop-up

Cauliflower shawarma from B’Ivrit pop-up.
Cauliflower shawarma from B’Ivrit pop-up
Farley Elliott

It’s impressive to watch Amit Sidi work. The one-woman pop-up show is a blur of scoops and swipes, sauces and meatless shawarma. Sidi has been perfecting her craft throughout the pandemic, offering vegan Israeli food at places like Melody Wine bar and longtime pop-up spot Glendale Tap — but she still handles just about everything herself, from the falafel to the hummus on down. The result is a menu made with love, and perfect for a warming spring season where eating a little lighter doesn’t have to mean sacrificing on flavor. The well-seasoned, just-soft-enough cauliflower ‘shawarma’ is a prime example of just that, the kind of LA-perfect meal that is best enjoyed on a sunny patio, drink in hand, with an eye on Sidi as she hustles up the next order. It’s always a joy to see people love what they do. Check Instagram for next pop-up location. —Farley Elliott

Cantonese egg noodles with beef and pigs feet at Tam’s Noodle House in San Gabriel

Cantonese egg noodles with beef and pigs feet at Tam’s Noodle House in San Gabriel.
Cantonese egg noodles with beef and pigs feet at Tam’s Noodle House in San Gabriel
Cathy Chaplin

Though I’m sad that Vietnamese noodle shop Nha Trang closed its location on Las Tunas in San Gabriel, I’m finding comfort at its replacement Tam’s Noodle House — a Hong Kong-style specialist with a winding menu that appeals to most. The full-service, shaded patio out front is a lovely spot to dig into Cantonese classics like congee with pork and preserved eggs, crackly pineapple buns, and house-made egg noodles topped with things like fish balls and shrimp, or my favorite combination: stewed beef and pigs feet. The noodles are toothsome and bouncy, while the proteins seem to collapse with tenderness. Swing by for a taste before temperatures rise even higher and stick-to-your-bones fare loses its appeal all together. 120 N San Gabriel Blvd #J, San Gabriel. —Cathy Chaplin

Spicy fried mushroom sandwich from Say It Ain’t So in Historic Filipinotown

Spicy fried mushroom sandwich from Say It Ain’t So in Historic Filipinotown.
Spicy fried mushroom sandwich from Say It Ain’t So in Historic Filipinotown
Farley Elliott

Looking for something a little more robust, satisfying, and (frankly) deliciously fried than a pita filled with veggies? Head over to Say It Ain’t So, the evenings-only pop-up inside Tamales Alberto in Historic Filipinotown. Run by owner Chris Olsefsky, the (also) vegan pop-up trades in hot dogs, burgers, crispy-shelled tacos, and bean-heavy burritos instead of shawarma, but the real hit on the menu is the fried portobello mushroom sandwich. There are light nods to the fried chicken sandwich craze that continues to push through Los Angeles, but Olsefsky doesn’t bother trying to approximate ‘meat’ with soy products at all. The result is a simple, crispy sandwich that is offered at three different heat levels: mild, medium, and hot; perfect for those chasing a bit of spice. The Say It Ain’t So crew even adds some ranch-ish dressing, pickles, and shredded lettuce for maximum effect, making for one of the most delicious vegan bites you can have in the city right now, hands down. Wednesday to Saturday, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., 1644 W. Temple Street, Historic Filipinotown. —Farley Elliott


March 22, 2021

Lonestar from Homestate in Highland Park

Lonestar from Homestate in Highland Park.
Lonestar from Homestate in Highland Park
Mona Holmes

It starts innocently enough. A well-meaning morning spirals into busy work, when a late hour realization hits: I haven’t eaten a thing. Lucky for me, I live in an area where quick and delicious pickups are possible, and even more blessed to live near a Homestate. Homestate’s ordering and pick-up process is easy and quick, which means a Lonestar — wonderfully tender brisket with a minimal layer of cheddar and pico de gallo in corn or flour tortilla — can be ordered and consumed within 15 minutes, depending on the time of day. Whether corn or flour, Homestate crafts a mean tortilla and sells them by the dozen. Gather both red or green salsas and just eat this from the car — the Lonestar is best served hot. 5611 N Figueroa St #1, Highland Park. —Mona Holmes

Birria at Birrieria Apatzingan in Pacoima

Birria at Birrieria Apatzingan in Pacoima.
Birria at Birrieria Apatzingan in Pacoima
Matthew Kang/Eater LA

This classic Pacoima birrieria hides in a crowded lot that also contains a liquor store, recycling center, and even a windmill-shaped filtered water dispenser. Step into the small eatery, which also boasts a nice outdoor dining area just outside the entrance and order up a storm of daytime Mexican favorites. Think huevos rancheros topped with chopped pork ribs and a hearty menudo. The namesake birria comes with ample broth and fresh tortillas to build a parade of tacos. The broth and spices mellows out the stewed goat meat, with more complexity and flavor than birria de res (beef). 10040 Laurel Canyon Blvd, Pacoima. —Matthew Kang

The biggest pork tenderloin sandwich on earth at Comfy Pup

There really is room for everyone in LA’s exploding pop-up scene, from home bakers and pupusa makers to the extra-regionally-specific foodstuffs folks remember from back home. Case in point: Comfy Pup, a roving restaurant setup that found a home last weekend at 1802 Roasters in Cypress Park The place pedals hardcore versions of prominent Midwestern comfort food, with a particular focus on all things Illinois. That means Italian beef sandwiches and Chicago-style hot dogs, naturally, but look past the usual to find a lot of other outlandishly good stuff, including the Michigan favorite coney dog laced with Cincinnati-style chili and an impossibly large pork tenderloin sandwich from the state of Indiana. Big, breaded, and almost daring to be taken down in one bite, the tenderloin in a great alternative to LA’s many fried chicken sandwiches, but seriously the buyer should beware here: Comfy Pup offers Midwestern style portions with every meal. —Farley Elliott

Delightful mandu of all stripes at Chang Hwa Dang (CHD) in Koreatown

Koreatown’s multi-story Wilshire Center is among the busiest places to catch a meal in the neighborhood. Filipino restaurants and takeaway soft serve spots compete for space with Korean barbecue outdoor setups and CHD, a Korean dumpling specialist that offers steamed and fried versions in a variety of formats. (There’s even bags of the frozen stuff for take-home consumption, naturally.) First-timers will love the mixed mandu plate, but there’s also nothing wrong with diving in to one order just to see what a particular style is all about — after all, it’s almost certain that after a few bites you know you’ll be returning soon. Bonus points for picking up a takeout container of just-spicy-enough tteokbokki, for those all-important rice cake cravings. 3377 Wilshire Blvd., #104, Los Angeles. —Farley Elliott


March 15, 2021

Glazed buttermilk doughnut from B&B Donuts in Fullerton

Glazed buttermilk doughnut from B&B Donuts in Fullerton.
Glazed buttermilk doughnut from B&B Donuts in Fullerton
Mona Holmes

Southern California’s doughnut shops have been perfecting deep-fried and baked dough treats for decades and that includes B&B Donuts in Fullerton. For almost 50 years, this walk-up and drive-thru spot sports a sizable display case — whether sprinkled with Fruity Pebbles or doused with a thick marshmallow glazed frosting. The toppings are the easy part, but it’s all about the quality of the doughnut underneath. And one of the best ways to test the base is by tasting a traditional take like the glazed buttermilk. B&B’s buttermilk consistency is perfect with a generous amount of glaze that’s not heavy-handed. In all, it’s a place where classic doughnuts and newer flavors are well made and ordered from the comfort of your car. If Fullerton seems too far for just doughnuts, there’s plenty to see and eat a bit further up on Commonwealth Avenue or Harbor Boulevard. 925 Harbor Blvd., Fullerton. —Mona Holmes

Surprise slices from Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co. in Boyle Heights

Surprise slices from Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co. in Boyle Heights.
Surprise slices from Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co. in Boyle Heights
Farley Elliott

Could Los Angeles use more pizza by the slice places? Obviously, the answer is yes, though we make up for it in quality taco stops instead. It is perhaps all the more special then for Brooklyn Avenue Pizza Co. in Boyle Heights to be turning out such blistered by-the-slice greatness, with charred edges and inspired rotating toppings. While the pepperoni is a usual but still worthy take, the slice with cheddar cheese and jalapeno offers the kind of innovation that LA loves to give to its pizzas. There’s ample outdoor seating for those willing to dine on-site, though anyone looking to truly recreate a quick slice joint would do well to simply order a couple of pieces on-the-fly and take them walking. Hover over a trash can, eat them on the hood of your car; there’s no wrong way to eat a quality LA slice like those at Brooklyn Ave. Pizza Co. 2706 E. Cesar Chavez, Boyle Heights. —Farley Elliott

Sichuan pigs feet from Delicious Chengdu in Temple City

Sichuan pigs feet at Delicious Chengdu in Temple City.
Sichuan pigs feet at Delicious Chengdu in Temple City
Cathy Chaplin

It’s been a cold and rainy week here in LA and the best way to keep warm is with food so spicy that it brings on a lil’ sweat, if you know what I mean. Eater LA contributor Kristi Hang recommended Temple City’s Delicious Chengdu in her latest Sichuan restaurant round-up, so there was no doubt that it’d be a solid spot for tongue-numbing delights. My lunchtime haul included some Chongqing fried chicken, dan dan mian, cold noodles, twice-cooked pork, and very spicy pigs feet. Braised in a heap of fresh jalapeños, dried chiles, and pickled peppers, the wonderfully tender trotters’ took on the sweat-inducing flavors like a sponge. 9679 Las Tunas Drive, Temple City. —Cathy Chaplin

Meatball sub from Sunday Gravy in Inglewood

Meatball sub from Sunday Gravy in Inglewood.
Meatball sub from Sunday Gravy in Inglewood
Matthew Kang

Sunday Gravy’s unsung location in Inglewood might be hiding some of the most impressive Italian-American food in town. With balanced flavors and hearty portions, the takeout-ready restaurant has a marvelous meatball sub that is big enough for two people to share. Stuffed with loose meatballs, plenty of gooey mozzarella, and a ripe tomato sauce, it all comes together thanks to the warm and plush Italian bread with crisp-toasted edges that these sandwiches require to be great. Don’t skip the house-extruded pasta either. 1122 Centinela Avenue, Inglewood. —Matthew Kang


March 8, 2021

Filipino turon and more from Chaaste Family Market in Pasadena

Filipino turon and more from Chaaste Family Market in Pasadena.
Filipino turon and more from Chaaste Family Market in Pasadena
[Official Photo]

With more than three decades under its belt, Pasadena’s Chaaste Family Market continues to turn out reliable Filipino fare with — as the name implies — lots of family love. The small steam table takeaway setup is perfect for grabbing items like adobo and seafood curry by the quart, though (as anyone there will tell you) the real star of the show is Mama San’s turon, a crispy lumpia stuffed with bananas and caramel. The sweet insides and lightly fried exterior make for a delightful car snack on the way home — at least for those who can’t wait until dessert. Better yet: hold the turon for after the meal, and pick up some delicious Filipino chips or other treats from the attached market, making for a well-rounded night out at one of Pasadena’s best one-stop shops. 296 N. Allen, Pasadena. —Farley Elliott

Cash burger from the Standing Room in Redondo Beach

Cash burger at the Standing Room in Redondo Beach.
Cash burger at the Standing Room in Redondo Beach
Matthew Kang

The sloppy, substantial burgers at Redondo Beach’s Standing Room are the original window burgers in Los Angeles. Built with Korean flavors in mind, this beefy lunch came with crisp black pepper onion rings, melty cheddar, and sticky hoisin barbecue sauce layered between pillowy brioche buns. The half-pound patty gains smoky sweetness from bacon and shishito peppers while a funky Korean aioli gives it the right mid-range punch of richness. It’s no wonder this place is a neighborhood staple. 144 N. Catalina Avenue, Redondo Beach. —Matthew Kang

Mole enchiladas from Rocío’s Mexican Kitchen in Bell Gardens

Mole enchiladas from Rocío’s Mexican Kitchen in Bell Gardens.
Mole enchiladas from Rocío’s Mexican Kitchen in Bell Gardens
Mona Holmes

Found myself wandering throughout Bell Gardens last week trying to break a pattern. This established part of LA has plenty of amazing restaurants, but it’s hard to divert from my regular two stops: Tamales Elena y Antojitos and Rocío’s Mexican Kitchen. Tamales Elena is always for tamales, then a rich, chile-filled mole from Rocío’s. Rocío’s mole is so flavorful that it slaps me awake as we approach nearly one year of living with coronavirus. It’s been a long and hard year, so why not jump into this establishment where pots of mole simmer all day, waiting for all LA residents to try Rocío Camacho’s food. Ask for the queso fundido, guacamole, or chiles en nogada. And if its enchiladas you’re craving, try two completely different sauces and study the flavors. 7891 Garfield Ave., Bell Gardens. —Mona Holmes

All the curries from Cobi’s Curries in Beverly Grove

All the curries from Cobi’s Curries in Beverly Grove.
All the curries from Cobi’s Curries in Beverly Grove
[Official Photo]

With colder days on the horizon, it’s hard to imagine a more perfect LA restaurant than Cobi’s Curries. The former delivery-only spot now resides in the Goldie’s/Kassi Club space along busy West Third Street, and as the name implies the menu is chock full of curries and thick stews from across the globe. There’s butter chicken using jidori birds, been rendang, and even laksa, though the star of the show may well be the restaurant’s take on galinha a africana, a peanutty dish with deep West African/Portuguese/Macau roots that makes for a hearty vegan alternative. Each $15-and-under curry is enough for a meal or three, especially when paired with samosa-style puffs and other snacky bits to start. This is rainy late-winter LA food for the masses. 8422 W. Third St., Beverly Grove. —Farley Elliott

Vegan wonton noodle soup from Veggie Life in El Monte

The initial plan last Friday night was for Central Vietnamese takeout from Kim Hoa Hue, but the restaurant’s unexpectedly early closure led to Vietnamese vegetarian fare at nearby Veggie Life instead. Tucked into the first floor of a double decker strip mall, Veggie Life serves an extensive menu of Buddhist cuisine — wonderfully satisfying meatless creations that never fail to capture the flavors and textures of the original dish. My haul included roasted chicken with tomato rice, bo la lot served over noodle sheets, rice served with pork three ways, and a most satisfying wonton noodle soup brimming with mushrooms, cilantro, and fried tofu. Every dish was truly great, but after a long week of work, the warm broth and tender wontons hit the spot just right. 9324 Garvey Avenue, South El Monte. —Cathy Chaplin


March 1, 2021

Tomato galette from Just What I Kneaded in Frogtown

Tomato galette from Just What I Kneaded in Frogtown.
Tomato galette from Just What I Kneaded in Frogtown
[Official Photo]

Justine Hernandez is busy. On weekends, her Frogtown bakery has a lengthy line out the door while patrons patiently wait for one of the fantastic options from her cozy plant-based spot, Just What I Kneaded. There isn’t a drop of milk or dairy products on the premises. Which is why I’m perplexed as to how Hernandez manages to make an intensely-flavored chocolate chip cookie without butter, or her delightful and retro strawberry pop-tart. But her tomato galette is where she turned my savory pastry delight sideways. The puffy crust easily keeps its form while layered with the right amount of tomatoes and basil that doesn’t require a knife and fork. Just pick it up and insert the galette right into your mouth for maximum efficiency. The next visit, I’ll try the cinnamon rolls before taking everything to my car or the bike path to indulge. 2029 Blake Ave., Frogtown. —Mona Holmes

Machaca flauta from Angry Egret Dinette in Chinatown

Machaca flauta from Angry Egret Dinette in Chinatown.
Machaca flauta from Angry Egret Dinette in Chinatown.
Cathy Chaplin

Picking up takeout in Chinatown and picnicking in Angeles National Forest ranks somewhere near the top of my favorite pandemic rituals. For my latest outing, lunch was procured at chef Wes Avila’s Angry Egret Dinette and leisurely consumed under the shade of a tree. Tucked inside Mandarin Plaza, the casual spot is currently offering an array of sandwiches and burritos that are made to satisfy with heft and bold flavors. And best of all, everything on the menu travels exceedingly well. The most memorable dish of the half dozen or so sampled this afternoon were the machaca flautas — a duo of crisp-tender flour tortillas stuffed with shredded beef and topped with salsa verde, salsa macha, and fresh cilantro. Every single ingredient stood solidly on its own and worked even better taken together. 970 N. Broadway Suite 114, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

Meatball sub from Odie’s in Los Feliz

Just about everyone in the restaurant industry knows Dustin Lancaster. The always-smiling owner of places like Covell, Holcomb, and Crawford’s has found a new way to stay happy (enough, at least) during the pandemic: selling meatball subs during the weekdays. The single-item menu has become a hit, and for good reason considering how saucy, cheesy, and delicious they are. Stop by Covell this week for taste of Odie’s yourself; it’s sure to make you smile. 4628 Hollywood Blvd., Los Feliz. —Farley Elliott

Dinner in a box from Terra in Century City

It’s hard to imagine a more complete dinner box than the one found at Terra, the rooftop restaurant above Eataly in Century City. Each package is massive, an elegantly stuffed ode to smoke and California. There are three kinds of roasted vegetables, a starter salad, bread on the side, dessert, and one of the heftiest bone-in beef ribs the city has ever seen — each nested in with reheating instructions and details about the provenance of the ingredients themselves. At $190 for the package, is this finer-dining-level at-home eating meant for everyone, for every meal? No, but in this endless, ongoing year, who doesn’t love a little decadence from the couch now and again? 10250 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles. —Farley Elliott


February 22, 2021

Buffalo chicken sliders from Marinate in West Hollywood

Buffalo chicken sliders from Marinate in West Hollywood.
Buffalo chicken sliders from Marinate in West Hollywood
Farley Elliott

It’s easy to imagine better days to come (and soon) for West Hollywood’s casual Marinate cafe space on Santa Monica Boulevard. The easygoing storefront trades in supremely tender pressure-cooked meat, served in a variety of styles from dark meat chicken with Hawaiian flavors to shredded beef that’s actually been marinated in root beer and barbecue sauce. Meats are served as plates, sandwiches, tacos, and beyond, the kind of laid-back (and inexpensive, particularly for West Hollywood) eating that fits well with the walkable neighborhood, late-night bar hours, and pedestrian-friendly street closures coming to the city this year. It’s going to take a while to get back to ‘normal,’ and there are huge questions about what normal even looks like anymore in the face of so much change, but when West Hollywood begins to safely open up wide once again, the mellow Marinate will still be there, and still happily serving buffalo chicken sliders and beer and wine out on the front patio. 8943 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood. —Farley Elliott

Savory soy milk from Today Starts Here in Chinatown

Savory soy milk from Today Starts Here in Chinatown.
Savory soy milk from Today Starts Here in Chinatown
Mona Holmes

On a stunning blue sky Sunday, I sat in a nearly empty alley to enjoy Vivian Ku’s popular Chinatown pop-up Today Starts Here. With a good friend in tow, we sampled Ku’s Taiwanese breakfast menu on a big metal table and figured out a favorite item. Which brings us to the savory soy milk with pork floss, tofu, vinegar, chile oil, preserved vegetables, and you tiao (fried doughnut). It’s a savory, soupy, and milky dish (that can also be made vegan) that tastes even better sitting in the winter shade. Her caffeinated exploits are equally stunning, with sea salt drip coffee and perfect brown sugar milk tea. Go early as Today Starts Here gets more popular — and the takeout-only line gets longer and longer — as the weeks go by. 935 Mei Ling Way, Chinatown. —Mona Holmes

LA galbi from Shiku in Downtown Los Angeles

LA galbi from Shiku in Downtown Los Angeles.
LA galbi from Shiku in Downtown Los Angeles
Cathy Chaplin

Here at the newly opened Shiku inside Grand Central Market, Kwang Uh and Mina Park are making Korean lunch boxes that are fresh, interesting, and deliciously balanced. Each doshirak contains a trio of banchan, steamed white rice, and a main course of choice. While the expertly battered and fried shitake mushrooms were terrific, it was the LA galbi that really impressed. Wonderfully tender and fatty, the bone-in short ribs’ sticky sheen signaled that it was grilled to caramelized perfection. Also fantastic was the spicy Korean fried chicken. I regretted not ordering a double of the sweet, savory, and spicy boneless nuggets that made for an excellent starter. 317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

Balinese rice packets from Bungkus Bagus

Is there a hipper pop-up right now than Bungkus Bagus, the Glendale underground hype cooking spot serving Balinese street food? The place is a banana-leaf-wrapped star, offering delicious and spicy Indonesian fare to lines that snake down the driveway each weekend. The takeaway option was first profiled by LA Taco last summer, who fawned rightfully over the coconut rice, heat-heavy sambal, and Balinese-specific flavors that rotate from salted fish to shredded chicken. This is the kind of meal that feels so perfectly of the moment in LA, where ingenuity and deliciousness converge to make something truly unique — and, as with so much good food, best eaten with your hands. —Farley Elliott


February 16, 2021

Daily lunch combo from Namaste Spiceland in Pasadena

Daily lunch combo from Namaste Spiceland in Pasadena.
Daily lunch combo from Namaste Spiceland in Pasadena
Farley Elliott

Pasadena is awash in fantastic Indian food, from sit-down spots to weeknight takeaway joints, and everything in between. One of the very best, locals swear, is Namaste Spiceland, a dual marketplace and counter service restaurant on Hill Avenue, just south of the 210. The open space isn’t sprawling in the way that a Costco might be, but that’s okay; the grocery shopping here still allows for plenty of spices, sauces, frozen samosas, and roti to make it into the shopping bag — along with piles of chana masala, paneer jafrezi, and warm basmati rice. Combo plates are plentiful and astoundingly delicious, particularly when paired with sweets from the attached deli case. 270 N. Hill Ave., Pasadena. —Farley Elliott

Chicken pot pie from Fat & Flour in Downtown Los Angeles

Pot pie from Fat & Flour in Downtown Los Angeles.
Pot pie from Fat & Flour in Downtown Los Angeles
Mona Holmes

Nicole Rucker’s Grand Central Market stand is the place to be in 2021. She set up Fat & Flour’s spot to provide baked comfort in all forms, whether it’s her famous chocolate chess pie, sweet or savory hand pies, or croissants. Pick up one or all of these things, but the one to order right now is Rucker’s frozen chicken pot pie. It’s a gorgeous dish that requires a full 24 hour defrost in the fridge. And because turning on an oven is a pleasant enough experience during winter months, within minutes you’ll smell a saucy chicken stew bubbling inside Rucker’s giant buttery crust. This is the actual definition of comfort food. If feeling like heading into Grand Central Market is too much — she’s got curbside drop-off service too. 317 South Broadway, Los Angeles. —Mona Holmes

Pastrami melt from Lodge Bread Co. in Culver City

Reuben at Lodge Bread Co. in Culver City.
Pastrami melt at Lodge Bread Co. in Culver City
Cathy Chaplin

I took the opportunity to finally visit Lodge Bread Co. when an afternoon errand brought me to Culver City. In addition to purchasing a whole grain loaf and hot-from-the-oven pitas for later, I lunched in my car on a most spectacular pastrami melt. Draped in luscious slices of waygu along with oozy puddles of fontina cheese and a rich Russian dressing, the open-face sandwich was as delicious as it was messy to eat. The bottom-most layer — a toasty slice of whole grain bread — provided a sturdy base for the abundant toppings. 11918 Washington Blvd., Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

Deviled Chicken from Kurrypinch in Van Nuys

Deviled Chicken from Kurrypinch in Van Nuys.
Deviled Chicken from Kurrypinch in Van Nuys
Farley Elliott

Kurrypinch in Van Nuys is a star. The tiny storefront on Van Nuys Boulevard has to be considered among the best places to eat in that stretch of the Valley, selling rice and curry dishes, biriyani, kottu roti, and so much more. The deviled chicken is a particularly delight, especially when the heat is ramped up a few notches thanks to garlic and chile sauce. For pure pound-for-pound flavor, it’s hard to imagine a spot that brings it more than Kurrypinch does. 6159 Van Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys. —Farley Elliott


February 9, 2021

Bungkus from Bungkus Bagus pop-up

Bungkus from Bungkus Bagus pop-up.
Bungkus from Bungkus Bagus pop-up
Mona Holmes

As a fitting end to our Heat Week stories, I tried Bungkus Bagus, the Indonesian pop-up by sisters Celene and Tara Carraras. They’ve been operating out of their Glendale childhood home driveway since last year, prepping gorgeous boxes filled with treats from Bali. The central dish is a bungkus, or coconut rice beautifully wrapped in banana leaves with flavorful stewed chicken, and a deep-fried sambal goreng that’ll add ample heat to your world. This compact package of flavor requires milky tea or milk to fan the flames. The Carraras sisters hand out these care packages of flavor with friendly faces, yet another reason to order from this unique find for Los Angeles. Head to their Instagram profile to see the menu changes and place an order. —Mona Holmes

Banh chung from Banh Chung Collective

Banh chung from Banh Chung Collective.
Banh chung from Banh Chung Collective
Cathy Chaplin

For the ninth year running, the Banh Chung Collective gathered before Tet to make banh chung. It was a virtual affair given the pandemic, but the spirit of the event was as wonderful as ever. Participants picked up supplies and ingredients beforehand at Proof and Yang’s Kitchen and then together over Zoom chef Diep Tran demonstrated how to make the banh chung. First we lined molds with fresh banana leaves to form three-inch square boxes, then we layered in sticky rice, mung beans, and marinated pork before closing up the parcels. Following an hour-long high-pressure cook in the Instant Pot, the banh chung emerged perfectly cooked and ready to eat. It tasted like home, friendship, and community. —Cathy Chaplin

Deluxe half-and-half from Little Jewel of New Orleans in Chinatown

Deluxe half-and-half from Little Jewel of New Orleans in Chinatown.
Deluxe half-and-half from Little Jewel of New Orleans in Chinatown
Farley Elliott

Despite its ties to New Orleans, the po’ boy really does feel like an anywhere, any time kind of sandwich. Versatile enough to handle fried seafood, deli meats, or sautéed Italian sausage as needed, and wrapped in light, just-baked-enough bread, this is the sandwich of the masses. Thankfully, Little Jewel of New Orleans makes a delightful rendition over in Chinatown, particularly for those willing to upset themselves slightly with the half shrimp, half oyster version. Lightly battered seafood meets heavily-dressed lettuce, tomato, and plenty of mayonnaise. It’s a meal and a half for most, but in these trying times, wolfing down food over the hood of your car, who’s to say no to downing the whole thing? 207 Ord St., Chinatown. —Farley Elliott

Hot chicken from Hot Chix in Glendale

While game day wings are never a bad idea, this year it was all about hot chicken tenders instead. As a wrap up to Eater LA’s Heat Week, I decided to spring for Hot Chix, the drive-thru pop-up chicken spot out of Glendale. While not formally a part of the Nashville-style craze, this place certainly hits on the current trend with slider-style tender sandwiches, spiced fries, and lots of sauce for drizzling over increasingly spicy chicken. Be sure to score a side of tater tots, bacon, cheese, and a fried egg on the side for maximum messiness (and deliciousness). 409 W. Colorado Street, Glendale. —Farley Elliott


January 25, 2021

Cemitas from Cemitas Poblanas in Florence-Firestone

Cemitas from Cemitas Poblanas in Florence-Firestone.
Cemitas from Cemitas Poblanas in Florence-Firestone
Farley Elliott

Who needs fast food when places like Cemitas Poblanas in the Florence-Firestone area exist? As the name indicates, the restaurant specializes in hearty traditional Mexican sandwiches, warmed on the griddle and stuffed with pork milanesa, avocado, stringy Oaxacan cheese, and beyond, all from a walk-up window, parking lot included. The service here is just as fast, far more friendly, and leagues more delicious than any corporate drive-thru spot nearby, and LA has no shortage of family-owned spots like Cemitas Poblanas to support during this difficult year. Again: Who needs McDonald’s in a city this big, friendly, and delicious? 1114 Firestone Blvd., Florence-Firestone. —Farley Elliott

Fried squid with spicy salt from Delicious Food Corner in Rosemead

Fried squid with spicy salt from Delicious Food Corner in Rosemead.
Fried squid with spicy salt from Delicious Food Corner in Rosemead
Cathy Chaplin

Takeout pros know that fried food doesn’t travel well. While driving from point A to point B, crisp-golden batters usually turn into wilted sponges seeped in condensation. It’s a sad fate that I’ve mostly avoided until this past weekend when a craving for Delicious Food Corner hit. I ordered all of my Hong Kong-style favorites including the pork and preserved egg congee, soy sauce noodles, minced pork over rice, butter-stuffed pineapple buns, and even though I knew better, the fried squid with spicy salt. As anticipated, the squid’s crunchy batter was compromised during transport, but it still hit the spot — reminding me that it’s more than okay to adjust my standards in trying times like these. 8632 Valley Blvd. #E & F, Rosemead. —Cathy Chaplin

Family platter from Grillers in Glendale

Family platter from Grillers in Glendale.
Family platter from Grillers in Glendale
[Official Photo]

Glendale has long been LA’s home for kababs, koobideh, and Iranian-style shirazi salad — but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for new faces every once in a while. Among the recent arrivals is Grillers, a spare new shop at 425 North Brand Boulevard that was born in the takeout and delivery pandemic era only. And while the current dining limitations have certainly changed the nature of this fast-casual business, ownership has stuck to making quality food for anybody who comes a’calling, including families looking for large-format platters. One such pack, priced at $50, comes with three chicken and three beef koobideh skewers, plus full trays of rice, salad, grilled vegetables, plus pita and sides. It’s a great deal even in Glendale, where pricing competition can often be fierce, and made all the more incredible given the uncertain moment for so many restaurants. 425 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. —Farley Elliott

Chilaquiles and quesatacos at Tamales Elena y Antojitos

When driving in the pouring rain to grab takeout, the food needs to be great. And it’s pretty much a guarantee that the food at Tamales Elena y Antojitos will fill that requirement. Chef Maria Elena Lorenzo’s Bell Gardens restaurant is less than a 12 minute drive from Downtown, and her family-operated Guerrero-inspired restaurant is still busy, even as the patio remains closed at the moment. I knew my order would include chilaquiles because this comforting breakfast dish with slices of tortilla and slightly spicy sauce layered over black beans and topped with eggs would please. But the quesatacos, with a deep fried shell and juicy barbacoa, shouldn’t be missed either. Delivery is available, but eat both before pulling away from the parking lot, because these are best consumed piping hot. Plus, the staff is so friendly, you’ll want to return regularly. Besides, warm smiles and an abundance of delicious foods are the best reasons to support Tamales Elena. 8101 Garfield Avenue, Bell Gardens. —Mona Holmes


January 19, 2021

Jerk chicken platter from Jamaican Country Style in Inglewood

Jerk chicken platter from Country Style Jamaican Country Style in Inglewood.
Jerk chicken platter from Country Style Jamaican Country Style in Inglewood
Mona Homes

Country Style Jamaican’s parking lot is often packed with customers sitting patiently in their cars waiting to pick-up an order or eating takeout from this two-year-old Inglewood restaurant. For anyone craving traditional Jamaican, this is the spot for oxtails, beef patties, goat curry, or escovich snapper laced with the incendiary scotch bonnet pepper. An older customer told me to order the jerk chicken platter, a huge portion of peas and rice, wonderfully caramelized plantains, cabbage, and chicken. Extremely tender jerk chicken is always a bonus, but the layers of spice are wonderful, and for my own adventurous heat palate, not too spicy. But if this is too much for your tastebuds, order a cold Ting soda to help offset the heat. 630 North La Brea Ave., Inglewood. —Mona Holmes

Tacos from Red Dog Saloon in Pioneertown

A red tray of tacos and queso and beans during daylight.
Tacos from Red Dog in Pioneertown
Joseph Weaver

Folks with cowboy fantasies and ultra-distanced dining would do well to consider a stop at the Red Dog Saloon in Pioneertown when they feel comfortable enough to do so. There, eaters can snack on $4 tacos made on flour tortillas and wrapped in tin foil, perfect for packing away and eating on a solitary hike overlooking the Western town outside Joshua Tree. It’s a simple, satisfying meal that could even include queso, guacamole, and canned cocktails — but how well those things pair with a sandy hike up the side of a hill is up for debate. 53539 Mane St., Pioneertown. —Farley Elliott

Dukbokki at Yup Dduk in Koreatown

Dukbokki at Yup Dduk in Koreatown.
Dukbokki at Yup Dduk in Koreatown.
Cathy Chaplin

This weekend’s warmer temps called for something equally hot to eat. The cylindrical rice cakes (dukbokki) at Yup Dduk in Koreatown fit the bill for the occasion. The hefty plastic vat of dukbokki arrived smothered in a fiery gochujang sauce along with fish cakes, kimchi, smoked sausages, hard boiled eggs, ramen noodles, and best of all, gooey mozzarella cheese. The “mild” sauce was spicier than anticipated, setting my mouth ablaze with every bite. Still, the dish’s flavors were so wonderfully balanced that I couldn’t resist going in for more. Seaweed rice balls and pickled radish helped quell some of the burning, but only time could truly heal this kind of scorching pain. 3603 West 6th Street, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

Stuffed arepas from VZLA pop-up

A new South Bay pop-up focusing on Venezuelan food is here. Called VZ LA, the online-only weekly restaurant focuses on arepas in a variety of flavors, from braised pork belly to a vegan option with garbanzos and fried plantains. Meals come pre-packed, with reheating and serving instructions for home consumption, with contactless delivery basically anywhere in Los Angeles. It’s a delightful change-up from the usual pizza and burger conversations, especially for anyone eager for some Westside Venezuelan food. Weekly drops run on Thursdays. —Farley Elliott


January 11, 2021

Double cheeseburger at Heavy Handed in Venice

Double cheeseburger at Heavy Handed.
Double cheeseburger at Heavy Handed
Farley Elliott

Don’t let the name fool: Heavy Handed isn’t just another ultra-smashed burger spot. This Westside pop-up spot — known for its short rib patties and beef tallow fries — offers slightly thicker, extra-rich burgers that may technically belong in the smashed conversation, but are really much, much more. The duo of Danny Gordon (of Flatpoint Barbecue, also on the Westside) and friend Max Miller recently moved to a new location at the Brig in Venice, and the word is already out with fans who follow for that slightly seared, extra cheesy goodness. It’s nice to see the Brig parking lot teeming with distanced and eager diners, just like in the early Kogi days, too. As always with Los Angeles, it is street food perseverance that keeps the people happy. 1515 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. —Farley Elliott

Goat sukka at Chakra Indian Kitchen in Pasadena

Goat sukka at Chakra Indian Kitchen in Pasadena.
Goat sukka from Chakra Indian Kitchen in Pasadena
[Official Photo]

Chakra Indian Kitchen opened for business over the holidays in the former Chutney space in Old Pas. While I adored the fast-casual naan “tacos” at Chutney, I was even more stoked for Chakra’s southern Indian fare. For the first of what I’m sure will be many future takeout orders, I selected a modest spread that included a goat biriyani, spinach masala, chicken chettinad, naan, and best of all, the goat sukka. The “dry” curry, with its bone-in bites slathered in a thick, spice-forward paste, jolted all our senses in the best way. Its chopped red onions and cilantro brought freshness to a deeply flavorful preparation. I’m already planning to try some of the Chinese-Indian dishes on the menu in the near future and once dining rooms are allowed to reopen — there will be dosas. 5 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena. —Cathy Chaplin

Moroccan fried chicken from Mizlala Sherman Oaks

Moroccan fried chicken from Mizlala Sherman Oaks.
Moroccan fried chicken from Mizlala Sherman Oaks
Mona Holmes

Mizlala is one of those places where you end up going to find something specific, and end up trying something else equally splendid. While the Mizlala West Adams menu is small but mighty, the Sherman Oaks experience is expansive and includes fried chicken, Moroccan-style. Mizlala’s chicken was such a refreshing break from hot chicken madness, with boneless strips of bird graced with spiced duck fat. They have a crackling crust that harbors a touch of heat that’s perfectly suited for dipping into the apricot mustard or harissa aioli. They’re plenty, if not too much, for one, so my previously planned meal — hummus, crispy broccoli, and Israeli cheesecake — became wonderful leftovers. 4515 Sepulveda Blvd., Sherman Oaks. —Mona Holmes

Goat curry plate from One876 Caribbean Restaurant in Chatsworth

Jamaican restaurants in the Valley are few and (not figuratively) far between, which is why stumbling upon one this weekend felt fortuitous. One876 Caribbean Restaurant, despite its broad name, has a finely curated lineup of staple Jamaican dishes. We chose a large curry goat plate (replete with rice and peas, steamed cabbage and vegetables, plantains, and festival — a sweet fried dumpling), vinegary jerked chicken, and spicy beef patties, which were so fat and flaky that we ordered three more to go before leaving. 20869 Lassen Street, Chatsworth. —Nicole Adlman


January 4, 2021

Gumbo from Henry Parsons Project in Pasadena

Gumbo from Henry Parsons Project in Pasadena.
Gumbo from Henry Parsons Project in Pasadena
[Official Photo]

The story sounds like many others: A former catering outfit, on pause due to the pandemic, turns inward to create comforting, personal dishes as part of an ongoing pop-up. At Henry Parsons Project in Pasadena, the story is simple but the food is out of this world. A New Years Eve menu included gumbo, biscuits, shrimp and grits, and homespun ice cream, making for a delicious at-home celebration for two — and awesome champagne hangover brunch the next day. While the menu at this ongoing, order-online pop-up changes regularly, one thing remains the same: This is fantastic eating, perfect for chilly nights in the San Gabriel Valley. —Farley Elliott

Shaved kale salad from the Win~Dow in Venice

Shaved kale salad from the Win~Dow in Venice.
Shaved kale salad from the Win~Dow in Venice
Cathy Chaplin

Everyone already knows about the super-fab and super-affordable cheeseburgers at the Window, so I’m here to give some shine to the oft-overlooked shaved kale salad. The $6.75 bowl-o-greens comes brimming with well-massaged kale dressed in a lemon vinaigrette along with pine nuts, croutons, golden raisins, and a dusting of pecorino. Like all good salads, the whole of this one is far greater than the sum of its parts. The foundational greens are pleasant enough while the croutons bring heft and crunch, and the golden raisins impart a bit of sweetness. For those looking for more balance in 2021, skip the fries and pair your burger with these greens — it’s an ideal match. 1827 Ocean Front Walk, Venice. —Cathy Chaplin

Cinnamon Rolls from Rye Goods in Orange County

Cinnamon Rolls from Rye Goods in Orange County.
Cinnamon Rolls from Rye Goods in Orange County
[Official Photo]

There are few things as appealing as a warm tray of cinnamon rolls on a cold winter morning, even in sunny Los Angeles. Instead of putting in the work to roll the dough myself last week, I snagged a box from Rye Goods in Costa Mesa. The company has been operating at the fringes of the underground for some time, but is moving mainstream with a new shop opening at Lido Marina Village in Newport Beach in the coming months — meaning lots more cookies, sourdough, and (yes) cinnamon rolls for all in 2021. —Farley Elliott

Omakase from Soosh pop-up in West Hollywood

It’s been challenging to cope without sushi bars this year. My ritual always involves sitting near the preparation area to watch magic unfurl from highly skilled hands. I miss every bit of it right now, but there is an incredible pop-up at the GBK Brand Bar boutique inside West Hollywood’s La Peer Hotel. The Soosh pop-up has former Nobu Malibu chef Brian Ogawa crafting gorgeous sushi and sashimi to-go, along with a “home-a-kase” option where staff show up to your home and craft a full dinner for $150 per person. I opted for the stunning omakase box with big eye tuna, yellowtail, sea bream, wild crab, fluke, and flying fish roe topped with edible flowers and 24-carat gold flakes. Everything stood out, particularly the gorgeous balsamic truffle soy on the salmon. Pick-ups are Thursday through Sunday from noon until 4 p.m. DM Soosh via Instagram to order. 633 North La Peer Drive, West Hollywood. —Mona Holmes


December 14, 2020

Sushi from Sushiya in Pasadena

Sushi from Sushiya in Pasadena.
Sushi from Sushiya in Pasadena
Cathy Chaplin

Fancy omakase feasts have been replaced with simple sushi takeout throughout the pandemic — at least at my house. While the fare is admittedly generic — and maybe just a few notches above the rolls produced and sold inside Vons — the sheer convenience of the experience makes it all the better. The spot to scratch one’s sushi-craving itch in and around the Pasadena area is at Sushiya. From spicy tuna to salmon avocado, the sushi rolls here are neatly composed, perfectly straightforward, and the quality is good enough. Sometimes when it feels like the world is falling apart, it’s nice to reach for something that’ll simply satisfy without too much fuss. 2525 East Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. —Cathy Chaplin

Street cart fries from Spitz in Eagle Rock

Street cart fries from Spitz.
Street cart fries from Spitz
Mona Holmes

When dining out with a vegetarian, everything changes. While navigating a menu, shared options aren’t always feasible. I’ve become fairly skilled at figuring out my household’s dining out process, which always involves shared plates, and at the very least making sure he’s got something beyond the standard assortment of side dishes. Over the weekend, my original craving for carne asada fries took a backseat while we shared the street cart fries from Spitz. They’re a messy, glorious pile of medium-well done fries drizzled with garlic aioli, feta, tomato, olive, bits of green pepper, and topped with pepperoncini. And please don’t overlook the extensive beer and wine selection. 2506 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock. —Mona Holmes

Rainbow trout at Hatchet Hall in Culver City

Hatchet Hall in Culver City is known for its meats, but don’t sleep on its seafood: Over the weekend, we ordered the restaurant’s “semi” set menu dinner for two, which allowed our choice of two starters, two side dishes, and two main courses, plus the option to add on cocktails and additional dishes (we, of course, did both). On our table for the night: a rustic Caesar, chopped steak tartare dotted with capers and topped with crispy fried oysters, fried potatoes served with a dill ranch, gravy-smothered green beans, mountain-style rainbow trout, and a mushroom-crusted pork chop (not to mention our add-ons: bacon and brown butter-drenched scallops and the restaurant’s cheesy spoonbread, which came blanketed in mushrooms and gravy). The standout here, for me, was the rainbow trout, its char offset by silken, buttery flesh, herbs, and pine nuts. The entire dinner paired well with the bar’s single barrel Old Fashioned, which they now also offer by the bottle (sealed with a cork and vampiric wax). 12517 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles. —Nicole Adlman

Holiday fare at Joan’s on Third in Los Angeles

Got a hankering for Hanukkah holiday goodness? There’s a Joan’s on Third for that. The longtime LA restaurant is working a seasonal menu of celebration-appropriate dishes that work for people of all faiths, from crispy latkes to matzo ball soup, braised brisket, and chocolate-dipped macaroons. It’s a delight made easier with preorder capabilities on the restaurant’s website, and a seamless pickup situation where masked workers drop the goods right in your trunk from the alley in the back. It all adds up to a wonderful, easy, delicious time to celebrate — or just to eat latkes because they’re delicious. 8350 West 3rd St., Los Angeles. —Farley Elliott


December 7, 2020

Pit-smoked pastrami Swiss stack from Ugly Drum in Mid-Wilshire

Pit-smoked pastrami Swiss stack from Ugly Drum in Mid-Wilshire.
Pit-smoked pastrami Swiss stack from Ugly Drum in Mid-Wilshire
Cathy Chaplin

I haven’t been as diligent about scheduling breathers and vacations since working from home full-time through the pandemic. But when my days started to feel like a real slog, I took a few days off to do as I wished. High on my list of things to enjoy was the “Farewell, Holiday Work Parties” installation at LACMA, followed by a hand-sliced pastrami sandwich from Ugly Drum. Piled high in between Bub & Grandma’s bread were thick cuts of pastrami, two slices of Swiss cheese, a saucy caraway slaw, and best of all, an awesomely spicy Russian dressing. Every component was well thought out and and even better executed, but that dressing though, it haunts me with it’s irresistibly tangy heat. 609 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

Ceviche from El Pelicano Loco in Long Beach

Ceviche from El Pelicano Loco.
Ceviche from El Pelicano Loco
Mona Holmes

One day before LA went into its second lockdown, I drove to Long Beach to visit El Pelicano Loco. Owner Guillermo Guitron launched his weekend ceviche in July, and operates out of his home. Guitron’s ceviche sampler is what you need. The scallop, snapper, real crab, and scallops are all lumped together in a generous serving, along with a shrimp aguachile-style hybrid with Thai and serrano chiles throughout. These mariscos are refreshing and flavorful, plus Guitron makes his own tangy hot sauce with Carolina reaper, ghost pepper, and Trinidad scorpion chocolate chile. The sauce doesn’t overwhelm the seafood, but in case it does, down it with cold beer or head around the corner to Fine Feathers Kombucha Co. to order the ginger flavor, which can help calm the heat. Place an order via Instagram DM, and schedule a pick-up. —Mona Holmes

Fried chicken from Go Go Bird in Hollywood

It must be pretty remarkable to realize you can do just about anything. That’s got to be the feeling chef Brandon Kida has every day, as he and his team move seamlessly from the gorgeous food of Hinoki and the Bird to takeaway gyozas during early lockdowns to the new Go Go Bird, a fried chicken revelation in the heart of Hollywood. And while fried chicken (like pizza and burgers) has become a comfort staple during times of quarantine, this isn’t the usual bird. Instead, Kida’s stuff is crispy, light, and as umami-rich as it gets, served wonderfully with rethought mac and cheese and mashed potatoes with Japanese curry on top. Even the cheddar biscuit with honey miso butter is killer, making for a wonderful, filling night in — which is what we all need right now. 1550 N. El Centro Ave, Los Angeles. —Farley Elliott


December 1, 2020

Crème brûlée​ bombolini at Republique in Mid-Wilshire

Crème brûlée​ bombolini at Republique in Mid-Wilshire.
Crème brûlée​ bombolini at Republique in Mid-Wilshire.
Cathy Chaplin

Chef Marge Manzke’s pastry case at Republique is the stuff of legends. The hardworking team of bakers arrives well before the sun rises to get an early start on the day’s bounteous spread. Brimming with breads, cakes, pies, pastries, puddings, doughnuts, and more, the impressive selection never fails to attract long lines of sweet-seekers that can stretch out the door and then some. Just before citywide mandates banned outdoor dining, I came in on a weekday morning for a strawberry scone, a slice of Basque cheesecake, a sliver of passion fruit pie, and best of all, a crème brûlée​ bombolini. Lighter than anticipated on the outside, and seriously luscious on the inside, the doughnut’s crackly caramelized sugar topping tied everything together just right. 624 South La Brea Ave., Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin

DM Burger from Adrift Burger Bar in Venice

DM Burger at Adrift in Venice
DM Burger at Adrift
Matthew Kang

David Myers opened his first LA restaurant in years with a small burger shop along Abbot Kinney that plans to serve until at least the end of the year. The roving international chef has restaurants in Dubai, Tokyo, and Singapore, but decided while home during the pandemic to do a casual, approachable pop-up in his local neighborhood. The DM Burger is an homage of sorts to the original Comme Ca burger (though they won’t confirm that officially), with a melted aged cheddar over a thick patty with sliced onions and shredded lettuce nestled between brioche buns. It’s pretty tasty as-is, though I do miss the thicker dry-aged beef patty of the original. The DM burger still has an intense beefiness buoyed by the crunch of onion and lettuce. And at a more approachable cost of $12 and simpler paper-wrapped presentation, I’m just grateful that Myers brought the burger back to LA. 1025 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. —Matthew Kang

Croquetas from the Tumaca Truck

You know who continues to turn out great food during the pandemic? The Tumaca Truck, one of LA’s most underrated mobile food operations. The laid-back spot for Spanish food has been running around the city for years, turning out sandwiches, patatas bravas, and lots of other snackable items, including the seriously crispy and hard-to-put-down fried croquetas. Better still: the two-person team behind the truck posts weekly location updates that range from the Arts District to the Los Feliz Albertsons and beyond, making Tumaca’s food as easy to reach as it is delicious to eat. —Farley Elliott

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Eater Los Angeles newsletter

The freshest news from the local food world