Pablo Alvarado, 46, normally affable and soft-spoken, bristles when he’s called the Cesar Chavez of day laborers. Despite his accomplishments as director of the National Day Laborer Organizing Network, he doesn’t see himself as a hero.
We all eat for pleasure. Some of us also eat in pursuit of academic knowledge. “Food studies” is a burgeoning field where scholars consider food a potent tool for illuminating a vast range of topics and issues. Among L.A. colleges and universities, you’ll find classes on “Animal Ethics,” “Restaurant Culture,” “Food Politics,” and “Science and Food,” among others. One emphasizes L.A.’s Latino community — professor Sarah Portnoy’s “The Culture of Food in Hispanic Los Angeles” at the University of Southern California. As a class in the Spanish department, students spend ample time developing language skills. (Such as writing blogs in Spanish.) But the culinary twist means they also examine issues related to history, immigration, and cultural values. We spoke with Portnoy, a Houston native, over margaritas at Yxta Cocina Mexicana to hear her take on L.A.’s diverse and fascinating Latino food scene.
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.
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.