L.A.’s Little Tokyo is home to at least 100 eateries — Japanese and non-Japanese, old and new, traditional and innovative. And it is just about 0.13 square miles in size — dense, compact, and easily explored on foot. (Roughly bounded between 4th, Alameda, Temple, and Los Angeles streets.) That means just one thing: It is the ideal setting for our ultimate grub crawl fantasy. Imagine the chance to explore a colorful, historic neighborhood bite by bite, from early morning to late at night. We’ve devised a potential walking tour featuring ten of our favorite foodie spots. (Plus a few extra. The trick is to graze!) What about the other 90-something restaurants? Well, now you have at least that many reasons to come back.
The Lazy Ox Canteen is known for many things: The New American menu peppered with global influences. A soundtrack booming with The Animals and Soft Cell. The compact dining room outfitted with naked light bulbs and a pair of ox horns. Its unassuming setting — a calm Little Tokyo street near Skid Row. Most notably, its creative kitchen that helped propel founding chef Josef Centeno to national acclaim….Now another up-and-comer, Travis Chase, is putting a new stamp on the three-year-old restaurant as executive chef.
This list was published in 2012, but most likely holds true in 2013. So take me to the Mardi Gras! Fat Tuesday is Feb. 12, and L.A. has festive dining options a plenty.
Ever since the Mexican-American War split a chunk of Mexico’s west coast in 1848, Tijuana’s border existence between two major countries has made it unique. The position has made the city a hot spot for tourism, crime, drug trafficking, immigration, industrialization, art, music, and even “zonkeys.” But now there’s another reason for Tijuana’s singularity: the food. During three days last October, I sampled some of Tijuana’s finest food from taquerías to posh restaurants. Read about it here. [Post in both English and Spanish.]
Imagine a packed movie theater in 1950. An audience awaits Hollywood’s latest picture — but first, the commercials. An animated steamboat appears on the screen, chugging along to cheerful music. Then a beautiful woman alights. Or rather, a banana. She is “Miss Chiquita” representing prominent fruit company Chiquita Banana. By 1950, the filmgoers know her …
Looking for an introduction to Yucatecan cuisine? Try a panucho. Panuchos begin as traditional corn tortillas, but then are grilled to form crispy exteriors that shelter tender black beans that have been nudged inside. It is then topped with shredded turkey, pickled onions, and avocado. The dish is a staple at Chichen Itza – not the monumental Mayan pyramids of Mexico, but a quick-serve restaurant tucked inside Mercado la Paloma in South L.A. near USC. [keep reading…and check out the how-to video from one of Chichen Itza’s chefs.]
Little Tokyo’s array of ramen eateries attests to the dish’s versatility — and booming popularity….Now, yet another variety has set up shop: Ikemen Ramen, opening today in Little Tokyo’s Weller Court. (Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.) Ikemen may be new to Little Tokyo, but not L.A. — it debuted in a Hollywood strip mall in fall 2011. The style? Just call it “Hollywood,” says co-owner Max Kawabata. The menu — and techniques behind it — aim for innovation rather than tradition.
The pastrami sandwich at Langer’s Delicatessen is legendary. So delicious that it made our “100 Favorite Dishes” list. So distinctive that Nora Ephron deemed it “the finest hot pastrami sandwich in the world.” So beloved that Angelenos regularly queue up for a taste — and out-of-towners bemoan their loss.
But there is a solution for those hapless souls: Fed-Ex.
Langer’s has teamed with the mail service to deliver vacuum-sealed packages of pastrami to nearly anywhere in the U.S.
Josef Centeno dubbed his new restaurant “Bar Amá” in homage to the foods his mother, grandmother and great-grandmother cooked in his native San Antonio, Texas. (Amá is short for mamá.) But don’t expect a replica of their kitchens. “It’s the food I grew up with, but my version,” says the chef.
Bar Amá, focusing on Tex-Mex, is slated to open Sat., Dec. 15, just down the street from Centeno’s Bäco Mercat in downtown’s Old Bank District. At first, hours will be 6 to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 5:30 p.m. to 12 a.m. Friday through Saturday.
Many scorn Tex-Mex for its “Macho Combos” and “Pancho Villa Platters.” But Centeno counters that the cuisine began simple and homey…
Looking for the quirky and eclectic guide to L.A. restaurants serving Thanksgiving dinner? That’s what the “alternative” LA Weekly’s for. Enjoy my list — with cuisines ranging from Eastern Mediterranean to Italian and Chinese to Polish, in spots from the beach to the northeast.