Behold! The Panda Express Innovation Kitchen Burrito…

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If you haven’t heard, Pasadena is now home to the Panda Express Innovation Kitchen, an open to the public incubator that is serving the one thing Asian wrap loving fatties have always dreamed of: a Panda Express burrito. There are also salads and rice bowls (ala Chipotle’s Shophouse) but you’re not going to bother with that. What you are going to bother with is a scallion dotted mooshu pancake wrapped around orange chicken, rice, chow mein and whatever else you see fit to stuff in there.

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You’re going to take a bite, shed a tear, and then get to work on figuring out how we can convince Panda Express to not only serve these at every one of their locations, but also offer the option of having them deep fried. (Orange Chicken egg roll chimichanga FTW!)

Want to read more? I wrote about it for Thrillist this week>>

4 is the Magic Number at K-Town’s The Corner Place

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No amount of heat will get me to completely give up ramen or pho or kalguksoo, but as the temperature goes up in the summer it certainly causes my lunchtime brain to dream of cooler bowls of noodle goodness. These 6 soup-less noodle bowls, like the hiyashi chuka at Santouka, make for some great heat wave lunching.  And if you have time to make the drive down to Torrance, you can’t do better than the cold soba from Ichimiann Bamboo Garden. But if you’re craving Korean food, you pretty much have only two options: a bowl of naengmyun from one of the many places in K-Town that serves the ice cold tangy noodle dish, or The Corner Place.

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The Vendy Awards Join Tacolandia for 2014

You now have even more reasons to go to Tacolandia, this weekend’s massive taco event put on by L.A. Weekly and Bill Esparza.  In addition to sporting tacos from 40 vendors and restaurants across L.A. and Mexico, this year they’re partnering with the Vendy Awards to award a special cup to the best street taco.  Run by the Street Vendor Project, a New York City non profit dedicated to street vendor advocacy, the Vendys have been held in L.A. twice before (once in 2012 and once in 2010). But for 2014 they’ve decided to team up with the biggest taco event of the year.

Tacolandia takes place this Saturday (6/28) from 3-7pm at El Pueblo de Los Angeles in DTLA.  Tickets are $35 each and can be purchased here.  There are premium and tequila garden tickets available as well, which include alcohol.

See you there!!!

Carnitas El Momo Now Trucking on Thursdays and Fridays

Back in April I had my first taste of Carnitas el Momo at Taco Madness. The carnitas specialist had been raved about by L.A. Magazine and L.A. Taco for their copper pot fried pig parts, which, until recently, could only be found at two weekend parking spots.  One in South Park on 61st and Avalon, and one on Melrose and Vermont in Hollywood.  But after a strong showing at Taco Madness they decided to expand to weekdays, and are now spending Thursdays and Fridays in East L.A. (on Pomeroy just off of Soto) where the 10 and the 5 meet.

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L.A. is Having an Israeli Falafel Moment (Capped Off by NYC Chef Einat Admony’s Visit This Week!)

Between Pico’s Kosher corridor and the Valley there has never been a shortage of good falafel in Los Angeles.  And the past few years have seen some new spots worth getting excited about (Joe’s Falafel in 2012, Hummus Bar Express in 2013). But since the beginning of the year there has been an explosion of new and delicious Israeli falafel joints, enough to make it feel like L.A. might be on the brink of having a falafel moment.  Here are four new’ish falafel places all worth checking outm and, if that isn’t enough, the chef behind New York’s best falafel is doing a series of dinners  in L.A. week.  Details about that are at the end of the post…

The Newly Expanded

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IMG_9606Name: Ta-eem
Address: 7422 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles
Phone: 323-944-0013
Falafel in Pita Price: $6.95
Laffa: Yes ($9.95)
This popular but tiny falafel shop on the lunch (and t-shirt) wasteland that is Melrose Ave. isn’t tiny anymore. At the end of last year this small lunch counter with limited seating took over the hair salon next door, and morphed into a full fast-casual restaurant with plenty of room and loads of places to take a load off.  The one thing that didn’t change? The delicious menu of shawarma, kebabs, merguez and, of course, falafel, topped with their vast assortment of salads, and all served on fluffy Israeli style pita or laffa.

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The New Oinkster Should Rename Their Signature Item; Burger Week Coming Soon

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If you are one of those people who always felt like Eagle Rock was too far to drive for pastrami sandwiches, pulled pork and crazy burgers, you’ll be excited to discover that The Oinkster just opened a new Hollywood location on La Brea just north of Melrose.  The menu from the original has made it over mostly intact, complete with sandwiches, salads, fries and milkshakes. The rotisserie chicken is still Eagle Rock only, but to make up for it they’ve made some of the more popular specials from the the original location into permanent menu items at the new branch- like the Thanksgiving Burger (a turkey burger topped with celery sage relish and cranberry sauce) and the pork adobo burger (a burger topped with pork adobo.)

But is this is your very first visit to the Oinkster, you’ll probably end up going with their namesake sandwich.

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Chicken and Rice Goes Brick and Mortar Near Dodger Stadium

At the beginning of the year, Los Angeles finally got its very own NYC style chicken and lamb over rice cart. They’re still spending nights in Hollywood, but those of us looking for a lunchtime street meat fix have been SOL… until now, that is.  Yesterday Chicken & Rice LA opened a brick and mortar shop on N. Figueroa just up the street from Dodger Stadium.  They took over an old pizza place, so in addition to their plates of chicken and lamb over rice with hot sauce and white sauce, there is also pizza.

Which means, there’s also… drumroll please… chicken and rice pizza.

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