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City Officials Abruptly Close El Salvador Corridor’s 20-Year Street Food Market

Plus, an Indian dinner at Mélisse, a big pop-up night on Fairfax, and late night loaded fries

Woman cooks at a pupusa stand in Koreatown’s El Salvador Corridor.
A woman working a pupusa stand at the El Salvador Corridor market.
Bill Esparza

More than 50 street food vendors have been removed from their ongoing market space in greater Koreatown this week. The group, collectively working in the small area known as the El Salvador Corridor, was pushed off by councilmember Gil Cedillo’s office and the Department of Sanitation in a suddent sweep, reports L.A. Taco and Telemundo. Shocked vendors received word that the block had been cordoned off with chain link fence with little warning, leaving many unsure of what to do next — a story akin to the abrupt and ongoing closure of the former Avenue 26 Night Market in Lincoln Heights last summer.

The informal marketplace has been in near-continuous operation for over 20 years. For a look back at the vitality, the food, and the community importance of the market, check out this 2019 piece by writer Bill Esparza for Eater.

A new kind of evening at Mélisse

Fine dining staple Mélisse is running a one-night-only Flavors of India menu on Sunday, May 22, with a menu conceived by sous chef Shahzad Bhathena. The night is a nod to Bhathena’s Indian heritage as part of the ongoing AAPI month, and will feature dishes like dal chawal rice and lentil fritters, Kerala moilee butter-poached halibut in tumeric suace, and a coffee-crusted lamb with mushroom upma. Tickets for the evening run $175 (with the option of an additional $125 wine pairing) and $50 from each ticket will go towards the food non-profit Off Their Plate.

New and recent restaurants

Los Feliz restaurant Encanto has been quietly serving for a little while now from the closed former Mexico City space, so the Eastsider decided to go check it out. Expect DIY tacos and dozens of tequilas and mezcals, says longtime writer Merrill Shindler.

Meanwhile the Soul Delicious team is launching a late night dining option called Fry or Die that will feature a wide array of loaded fries with options like buffalo chicken, short ribs, pastrami, and more.

Chef news to know

Chef Saw Naing of the Dutchess in Ojai (and formerly of Tallula’s in Santa Monica) is popping up at the Alisal Ranch outside Solvang on May 28 as part of the ongoing California Ranch Cookout series. Expect Burmese-Indian delights and lots of grilled meats. Future chefs for the series include Chad Colby of Antico Nuovo, chef Ben Ford, and more.

Long Beach loses a well-known restaurateur

L.A. Taco also shares news this week of the death of chef Arthur Gonzalez, a Long Beach staple known for spots like Panxa Cocina and Hideaway. Gonzalez suffered a heart attack at a home Colorado home last week. He will be missed.

Lasagna on Fairfax

The Don Angie team out of New York City is popping up at Jon & Vinny’s on Fairfax next Tuesday, May 17, in celebration of the group’s Italian American cookbook. Swing by for some lasagna and other goodies.

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