Category Archives: South Los Angeles

The 10 Best Things I Consumed in 2017


As we bid adieu to 2017, let’s just focus on the good stuff. And by “good stuff,” I mean the food we consumed to tantalize our taste buds, lift our spirits and provide a bit of pleasure in these ever-changing and uncertain times. Keeping with tradition, here is my annual list of the ten best things I ate and wrote about during the past year:

Shul Lung Tang (Korean bone broth) from Han Bat


10. Shul Lung Tang from Han Bat. Is bone broth a miracle elixir that will cure all your ailments, align your chakras and balance your chi? Probably not, but there’s nothing better than a hot bowl of this soup on a cold rainy day.

Pork Chop “Niman Ranch” from Salazar


9. Pork Chop “Niman Ranch” from Salazar. The penultimate dish on my top ten list is smoky, fatty and juicy. As excited as I am about this pork chop, I’m equally excited about using the word “penultimate” in my post.

Flaky Bread with Labneh, Preserved Lemon and Honey from Kismet


8. Flaky Bread from Kismet. The servers at Kismet are flaky and so is the hipstery restaurant’s best dish: a melt-in-your-mouth pan-fried bread served with labneh, preserved lemon and honey.

Banchan from Genwa


7. Banchan from Genwa. We all like free things, and the ridiculous amount of complimentary banchan (side dishes of fermented vegetables, fishcake, seasoned peanuts, braised beef, scallion pancakes and other Korean delicacies) at this Korean BBQ joint has the additional benefit of being exceptionally tasty.

Ceviche Tostada from Holbox


6. Ceviche Tostada from Holbox. How do you make an octopus laugh? With ten-tickles. The Ceviche Tostada at Holbox is a lot better than that joke.

Macarons from Ladurée


5. Macarons from Ladurée. The French know a thing or two about creating incredible baked confections. I know a thing or two about eating them.

Marinated Short Ribs from Chosun Galbee


4. Marinated Short Ribs from Chosun Galbee. I know what you’re thinking: Where’s the beef? It’s right here at #4 and it’s amazing.

Fresh Uni in the Shell from Jolly Oyster


3. Fresh Uni in the Shell from Jolly Oyster. Fun fact: uni is actually a sea urchin’s gonads. These gonads are especially delicious when eaten right out of the shell at the Jolly Oyster stall at DTLA’s weekly Smorgasburg.

Pastrami Sandwich from Ugly Drum


2. Pastrami Sandwich from Ugly Drum. “Oy gevalt!”…is something you will not be saying when you eat this pastrami masterpiece (which is also found at Smorgasburg).

Carrot Mole Enchiladas from Trois Familia


1. Carrot Mole Enchiladas from Trois Familia. You haven’t really had carrot mole enchiladas until you’ve had the ones from Trois Familia. They are insanely good and the best thing that I consumed and wrote about in 2017.

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Filed under Beverly Hills, Frogtown, Koreatown, Los Feliz, Mid-City, Silverlake, South Los Angeles

Go Fish


Some of my favorite Mexican food in Los Angeles comes from a stall in a hidden food court/marketplace called the Mercado la Paloma in South LA, a few blocks from USC. The stall is Chichen Itza and it serves amazing and unusual specialities from the Yucatán region of Mexico including a mind-blowing Queso Relleno. Now the chef of Chichen Itza, Gilberto Cetina Jr., has opened up a second stall in the Mercado la Paloma which specializes in Yucatán seafood dishes. The new creation is called Holbox and it does not disappoint.

The Ceviche Tostadas at Holbox with local wild-caught Red Rock Fish, Ocotopus and/or Shrimp are not to be missed. I also recommend the sweet and tangy Cocktel de Cameron (Shrimp Cocktail) and the Wood Grilled Fish Tacos. If you like your food spicy, make sure to try Chef Cetina’s housemade salsas. My favorite is the smokey Chili de Arbol Guajillo. Muy delicioso!

Holbox is located in Mercado la Paloma at 3655 S. Grand Ave, Los Angeles (in South LA).

Scallop al Carbon (Wood Grilled single diver scallop served in its shell with Chile X’cotic sauce)

Cocktel de Camaron (Shrimp Cocktail)

Quintet of Hot Sauces

Chef Gilberto Cetina Jr. shucking oysters

Mercado la Paloma

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The 13 Best Donut Shops in LA

Best Donut Shops in LA
Loved by cops, Homer Simpson and pretty much everyone else, donuts are entering a renaissance here in Los Angeles. New donut shops are regularly popping up and offering high-end artisan versions of the traditional fried ring-shaped cakes. At the same time, long established shops have been expanding their menus and offering renditions of the latest donut crazes such as maple bacon or the croissant-donut hybrid known as a “cronut.” Excited by these dynamic donut developments, I set out against the advice of my wife and doctor on a mission to find the best donut shops in LA. Here are the winners:

Fresh Peach Stuffed Donut from The Donut Man

Fresh Peach Stuffed Donut from The Donut Man


1. The Donut Man (915 E Rte 66, Glendora). It’s not only the best donut shop in LA, but probably in the top five for the whole country. Located in Glendora on Historic Route 66, it’s well worth the long car trip, which I like to refer to as a “Pilgrimage to the Hole-y Land,” especially from February until Mid-September when they sell their famous fresh strawberry and/or fresh peach stuffed donuts.

Peanut Butter, Banana and Chocolate Chip Donut from Stan's Donuts

Peanut Butter, Banana and Chocolate Chip Donut from Stan’s Donuts


2. Stan’s Donuts (10948 Weyburn Ave, Los Angeles in Westwood). Since I’m a UCLA graduate, this Westwood mainstay is a sentimental favorite, but it’s hard to imagine anyone not falling in love with these donuts. I’m obsessed with the glazed ones generously stuffed with peanut butter and either fresh bananas or jelly.

Maple Bacon Donut from Primo's Donuts

Maple Bacon Donut from Primo’s Donuts


3. Primo’s Donuts (2918 Sawtelle Blvd, Los Angeles in West LA). This little old-school shop on the Westside has sold consistently awesome donuts since 1956. Everything here is super fresh (it helps that Primo’s is only open in the morning and afternoon) and are made from super high-quality ingredients. The glazed Buttermilk Bars, which are slightly crunchy on the outside and moist on the inside, are not to be missed.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Filled Glazed Donut from Donut Friend

Peanut Butter and Jelly Filled Glazed Donut from Donut Friend


4. Donut Friend (5107 York Blvd, Los Angeles in Highland Park). Located on newly gentrified, hipster-laden York Boulevard, Donut Friend is a place to unleash your inner pastry chef. You can design your own custom donut creation by selecting a base donut and picking fillings or toppings such as Nutella, maple or chocolate glaze, fresh fruit, chopped nuts, crushed Oreo cookies, bacon and even Sriacha!

Chocolate Raised Donut from Bob's Coffee & Doughnuts

Chocolate Glazed Raised Donut from Bob’s Coffee & Doughnuts


5. Bob’s Coffee & Doughnuts (6333 W 3rd St #450, Los Angeles in the Original Farmers Market). Bob’s is an LA instituion, and for good reason. They sell some of the yummiest donuts in town. I especially recommend their warm and uber-fresh Apple Fritters and, if you’re a chocolate lover, you can’t go wrong with one of their Chocolate Glazed Raised Donuts.

Mambo Italiano Donut from Glazed Donut Bistro

Mambo Italiano Donut from Glazed Donut Bistro


6. Glazed Donut Bistro (8807 Santa Monica Blvd, West Hollywood). This brand spanking new eatery is dedicated to creative gourmet donut concoctions for grownups, such as the “S’more Please” with chocolate ganache, crumbled graham cracker streusel and house-made marshmallows, and the “Mambo Italiano” with pistachio glaze, homemade ricotta cheese, chocolate curls and a maraschino cherry. They also offer savory donut treats. UPDATE: Glazed Donut Bistro is closed. Selling donuts in fitness-conscious Boys-town was maybe not such a great idea.

Original Glazed Doughnut from Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

Original Glazed Doughnut from Krispy Kreme Doughnuts


7. Krispy Kreme Doughnuts (4034 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles in South Los Angeles). Yes, it’s a chain, but it’s better than 90% of all donut places in town. The Original Glazed can’t be beat. The freshest ones come from the South Los Angeles location where they are made right on the premises while you watch.

Original Croissant Style from Kettle Glazed

Original Croissant Style from Kettle Glazed


8. Kettle Glazed (6211 Franklin Ave, Los Angeles in Hollywood). Another new kid on the block, Kettle Glazed is a purveyor of small batch artisan donuts. Daily offerings may include Lemon-Blueberry, Vanilla Bean Glazed and different types of Cronuts. They also have gluten-free options.

Glazed Ube Donut from DK’s Donuts & Bakery

Glazed Ube Donut from DK’s Donuts & Bakery


9. DK’s Donuts & Bakery (1614 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica). This family run shop might have the biggest variety of donuts in the city. Pretty much all donut trends can be found here including several types of Cronut knockoffs. But they also create new varieties as well, including three types of donuts made with ube, a purple yam which is extremely popular in the Philippines.

Red Velvet Donut from S K's Donuts & Croissants

Red Velvet Donut from S K’s Donuts & Croissants


10. S K’s Donuts & Croissants (5850 W 3rd St, Los Angeles in Mid-City). This 24-hour joint produces a bevy of tasty treats. Most of the donuts are traditional but some are modern such as “Skronuts” (their version of Cronuts) and a not-to-be-missed Red Velvet Donut.

Maple Bacon Cronut from California Donuts

Maple Bacon Cronut from California Donuts


11. California Donuts (3540 W 3rd St, Los Angeles in Koreatown). This popular K-town stand is open all night and offers a pretty nice variety. It’s perfect for capping off a nice meal of Korean BBQ or a bowl of Spicy Crab Soup with a sweet treat.

Chocolate Rainbow Sprinkles Donut from Randy's Donuts

Chocolate Rainbow Sprinkles Donut from Randy’s Donuts


12. Randy’s Donuts (805 W Manchester Blvd, Inglewood). Located near LAX, Randy’s is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. The 45-foot giant donut-shaped sign on its roof has appeared in countless movies and beckons all who pass by to stop and purchase some very tasty donuts. The assortment here is all traditional, including cake, raised, jelly and old fashioned varieties, as well as apple fritters and bear claws.

Strawberry Cruller from Donut Hut

Strawberry Cruller from Doughnut Hut


13. Doughnut Hut (2025 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank). Surprisingly, there are not many exceptional donut places in the Valley. But I do like Doughnut Hut in Burbank, not only for their traditional donuts (which I recommend purchasing and consuming early in the day) but for their cool retro-looking red and yellow hut. My favorite donuts here are the crumb cake and orange glazed ones.

Salted Caramel Donut from Donut Snob

Pecan, Caramel and Chocolate Donut from Donut Snob


Honorable Mention: Donut Snob (www.thedonutsnob.com). It’s not a brick and mortar shop, so it doesn’t qualify for my list. However, this company that delivers pricy but scrumptious gourmet donuts (which are similar to those at Glazed Donut Bistro) to your home or work, is worth an honorable mention. You can also buy them at Go Get Em Tiger, a popular coffee bar on Larchmont.

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Stan's Corner Donut Shoppe on Urbanspoon
DK's Donuts & Bakery on Urbanspoon
Glazed Donut Bistro on Urbanspoon
Randy's Donuts on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Burbank, Glendora, Highland Park, Hollywood, Inglewood, Koreatown, Larchmont, Mid-City, Santa Monica, South Los Angeles, West Hollywood, West LA, Westwood

10 Best Sub Sandwich Shops in LA


Subs, Grinders, Hoagies, Po-Boys, Heroes, Submarines. Whatever you call them, they’re a central part of the national diet, especially for lunch. A long roll filled with deli meats and/or cheese along with toppings such as lettuce, tomatoes or peppers, and condiments such as mustard and olive oil sounds like a simple thing to make, but discerning eaters know that not all deli sandwiches are created equal.

When I started this blog, I declared the Godmother at Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery the best sandwich in LA. While I still believe this is true today, for other varieties such as a Caprese or Pastrami sub, I prefer All About the Bread on Melrose Ave., which was clearly inspired by Bay Cities but has shorter lines. Both places have unbelievably amazing, crispy and chewy artisan bread which is baked fresh every 20 or 30 minutes, use Boar’s Head meats and fashion extraordinary combos of bread, meat and cheese using the freshest and tastiest ingredients. While these two places are my clear favorites, there are several others in this city worth visiting. After an extensive amount of carb-loading research, here are my top ten favorite sub sandwich joints in LA:

All About the Bread

#1 (tie) All About the Bread (7111 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles near West Hollywood) The name pretty much says it all. I’ve loved every sandwich I’ve had here, but my favorite is the Buratta with Sundried Tomatoes, Fresh Basil, Homemade Pesto, Tomatoes and Roasted Peppers. It’s one of the best things ever.

The Godmother from Bay Cities

#1 (tie). Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery (1517 Lincoln Blvd, Santa Monica) The insanely good bread is the secret to their huge success. My favorite sub is The Godmother (Genoa Salami, Mortadella, Capicolla, Ham, Prosciutto and Provolone) with “The Works.” I challenge you to find a better sandwich.

Dan’s Super Subs

#3 Dan’s Super Subs (22446 Ventura Blvd, Woodland Hills) It’s one of the only restaurants that I love in the West Valley. Their delicious bread has sesame seeds and is steamed for each order. Subs are completed with Dan’s signature chopped tomatoes and pickle spears. Not open on Sundays.

The Jose Andres aka “The Spanish Godfather” at Ink Sack

#4 Ink Sack (8360 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles in West Hollywood) Celebrity Chef Michael Voltaggio’s sandwich shop serves creative versions of classic subs. My favorite is The Jose Andres aka “The Spanish Godfather,” which is named after Voltaggio’s mentor and former boss at The Bazaar. It’s made with Serrano Ham, Chorizo and Manchego Cheese.

Storefront

#5 Storefront (4624 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles in Los Feliz) This Eastside hipster sandwich shop is the new kid on the block and was opened only a few weeks ago by the chefs of Salt’s Cure. I am already impressed with “The Mousa” (pictured above), their Italian deli meat sub which includes picked cayenne peppers.

The No. 3 from Larchmont Village Wine Spirits & Cheese

#6 Larchmont Village Wine Spirits & Cheese (223 N Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles in Mid-City) This gourmet wine and cheese shop has some of the city’s best Italian sandwiches, which are served on either a crusty baguette or soft ciabatta. They all come with a nice little side of olives and cornichons.

Mike’s Deli

#7 Mike’s Deli 4859 W Slauson Ave, Los Angeles in South LA) There are very few tables and it’s generic and fast food-esque in appearance, but this simple deli makes simply great subs with top-notch ingredients including Boar’s Head meats and cheeses. A second location opened recently in Little Tokyo.

The Spicy Italian Sub from Mario’s

#8 Mario’s Italian Deli & Market (740 E Broadway in Glendale) A Glendale institution, Mario’s is an old-school Italian market with all sorts of imported goodies and a very popular deli. They cut their sub rolls in thirds lengthwise, so that there is a “mezzanine” layer of bread in your sandwich between two layers of filling.

Busy Bee Market

#9 Busy Bee Market (2413 S Walker Ave, San Pedro) If you’re in the South Bay, it’s the place to go. This unassuming deli counter in a small and rundown-looking neighborhood market turns out excellent subs on super-soft bread. But be warned: it’s cash only, take-out only, and they’re closed on Sundays.

“The Sandwich” from Roma Italian Deli & Grocery

#10 Roma Italian Deli & Grocery (918 N. Lake Ave, Pasadena) Enter this little Italian market, go to the counter on your right and ask diminutive elderly Rosario to make you “The Sandwich.” Watch as he prepares it with fresh meats and cheese and no toppings or condiments other than olive oil. Consume and enjoy.

UPDATE: I’m sad to report that Storefront has closed. If you enjoy Consuming LA, subscribe for free at the top right of this page and you’ll get an email once a week when I post. And please forward this to your friends, repost on facebook and retweet!

All About the Bread on Urbanspoon
Busy Bee on Urbanspoon
Larchmont Village Wine, Spirits & Cheese on Urbanspoon
Roma Italian Deli & Grocery on Urbanspoon
Mario's Italian Deli & Market on Urbanspoon
Dan's Super Subs on Urbanspoon
Mike's Deli on Urbanspoon
Mike's Deli #2 on Urbanspoon

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Filed under Fairfax, Glendale, Inglewood, Ladera Heights, Larchmont, Los Feliz, Mid-City, Pasadena, San Pedro, Santa Monica, South Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Woodland Hills

End of the World Party


As you may have heard, the last day of the 5,125-year-long Mayan calendar is December 21st of this year. Is the world going to end on that day? Probably not. Is it a good reason for an end of the world party? You bet! And I know exactly where to get the food. Chichen Itza Restaurant, named after the ancient Mayan city, specializes in Mexican cuisine from the Yucatan region (where the Mayans lived) and is one of my favorite restaurants in the city. It’s located in the awesome Mercado La Paloma Community Marketplace, a cool and funky warehouse-like space/food court where you can get inexpensive gourmet grub, view an art show and buy a dress for a quinceanara. Mercado La Paloma was also the home of my favorite Peruvian restaurant, Mo-Chica, until it moved to swankier digs a few weeks ago.

I’ve had almost everything on the menu at Chichen Itza and I love every dish there. The Kibis are an amazing way to start your meal. Introduced to the Yucatan by Lebanese immigrants more than a century ago, they are ground beef and cracked wheat patties which have been seasoned with mint and spices, fried golden brown and served with Yucatecan pickled red onions. I also recommend the Sikil-Pac, a dip made with roasted tomatoes, pumpkin seeds & chives, and served with tortilla chips. The Tacos de Chicharron, made with crispy fried pork cracklings, pico de gallo and diced avocados are really unusual and a must-have. But my favorite dishes of all are the Queso Relleno, which is edam cheese stuffed with ground pork, olives and capers and served with a white sauce, and the Cochonita Pibil, a very popular Yucatecan specialty of braised pork which has been wrapped and cooked in a banana leaf with achiote marinade. To drink, get an Agua de Chaya, a sweet beverage made with a leafy green vegetable known as “tree spinach.” I know that a green vegetable drink might not sound appealing but trust me on this one. Like everything else at Chichen Itza, it’s really good!

Chichen Itza is located at 3655 S. Grand Ave in Los Angeles (South LA near USC).

Kibis


Sikil-Pac


Tacos de Chicharron


Queso Relleno


Cochonita Pibil


Poc Chuc (thin slices of pork loin, cooked over mesquite charcoal, marinated with sour orange juice served with roasted red onion, roasted tomato sauce, avocado, black bean puree and corn tortillas)


Platanos con Crema


Queso Napolitano


Agua de Chaya



Chichen Itza on Urbanspoon

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