Archive for March 2010

How Could Anybody Not Like Cafe Colombia’s Carbtastic Patacon?

Cafe Colombia

Every Tuesday our Profiled Lunchers make my lunch wishlist grow longer and longer.  At the top right now… Chin Ma Ya downtown (courtesy of Nina), Ho Ho Kitchen in Mid City (courtesy of Nick), and the deli counter at Rose Café and Market on the west side (courtesy of Lilly). But on Monday I was craving some Colombian home cooking, so I took Lunch’er Dan’s advice and headed to Cafe Columbia in Burbank.

I know how some people here feel about carbs (and fried pork… and fried carbs with fried pork).  And even though I’m guessing those people don’t read Midtown Lunch I do want to issue this quick warning as a courtesy to them… it’s about to get ugly.

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PROFILE: Midtown Lunch’er “Lilly”

As is customary on Midtown Lunch, every Tuesday we’ll profile a random reader to get their recommendations for the best spots to lunch near their work. This week it’s Lilly, a writer who would prefer to be lunching in Paris.

Name: Lilly

Age: I don’t know. I’m not a numbers person.

Occupation: Writer

Where in L.A. do you Work?: I live and work in Venice.

Favorite Kind of Food: Deep fried

Least Favorite Kind of Food: It’s a tie between chicken and green salad.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch:

Abbot’s Habit (1401 Abbot Kinney Blvd.) is a great neighborhood spot for dine in or takeout. Service is quick and friendly. Their sandwiches are enormous and they change their soup list daily. I’m in love with their BLT. And their zucchini rosemary soup is tops. If I want a sandwich fast, I order an everything bagel toasted with lox, cream cheese and capers. They prepackage all the toppings, which means it takes no more than 2 minutes to get my lunch. It also means I have to assemble the sandwich once the bagel is ready (the cream cheese and capers come in plastic ramekins, and the lox is also on the side), but I don’t mind. Abbot’s Habit wins the prize for fastest service.

The deli counter at Rose Café and Market (220 Rose Ave.) has several lunch combos that allow you to mix and match a soup with a half sandwich, or a half sandwich with 2 salads, or a soup with 1 salad, or . . . you get the picture. The room is airy and bright, with plenty of seating. The food tastes so fresh that I feel as though I’m eating gourmet California cuisine, not a $9.95 special. Even better: the servings are generous, so if I order the 3-item lunch combo, I’ll have enough food for lunch today and tomorrow. Favorite items: the lentil salad with fresh basil and the beet salad with oranges and macadamia nuts.

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MTV Loses Their Personal Food Truck Spot

The Dim Sum Truck

Thanks to the anonymous Midtown Lunch’er who forwarded along this email from the building that houses MTV, a popular lunchtime destination for a number of food trucks.

Hello All-

Due to an incident that occurred today, we will no longer host food trucks in the loading alley for lunch.
Thank you.

[Name Redacted]

Assistant Property Manager
Worthe Real Estate Group

They’re not talking about the food truck strip on Pennsylvania between 26th and Stewart are they!?! Thankfully not…

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Rosalind’s Ethiopian Lunch Special is Surprisingly Communal

Rosalind's Ethiopian Food

I still remember the first time I ever had Ethiopian food.  I was a college freshman in Boston and I’m embarrassed to admit it but as an 18 year old who grew up in the Live Aid 80s, I was surprised to find out there was even such a thing as Ethiopian food (lord help me, I never claimed to be bright.)  I never took advantage of Little Ethiopia (the section of Fairfax between Pico & Olympic) during my first L.A. stint 5 years ago, but in New York we lived in Hell’s Kitchen- which with 2 Ethiopian restaurant around the corner from each other could have been considered the Little Ethiopia of NYC.  (A third opened just before we moved, further strengthening the neighborhood’s claim to the title.)

Anyway, none of those places really qualified as a Midtown Lunch (mostly because of price), so I was excited to hear that most of the restaurants in L.A.’s Little Ethiopia offered under $10 lunch specials.  And when a couple of new food friends invited me to Rosalind’s last week I jumped at the chance.

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Lunch Links (The “Speaking of Fish & Chips” Edition)

Photo courtesy of Noah Galuten/Squid Ink

  • MID CITY Speaking of fish and chips: Golden State vs. Village Idiot [Squid Ink]
  • HOLLYWOOD The Kuay Tiew Rua is far better than the fish kidney curry at Jitlada [Sinosoul]
  • WEST L.A. Pitfire Pizza has unveiled their spring offerings [Caroline on Crack]
  • WEST L.A. Mezza Grill is now open in Culver City [Grub Street]
  • KOREATOWN Skip the waffles at Holly’s Coffee [Gastronomy]
  • PASADENA A new cereal/grilled cheese restaurant!? [Eating L.A.]
  • PASADENA In addition to their spuderito, Rick’s serves up a tasty burger [LAist]
  • PASADENA King Taco is not amazing, but at least it’s cheap! [An Immovable Feast]
  • GENERAL: First round voting has begun for Taco Madness 2010 [LA Taco]

The Vendy Awards Are Coming to L.A.

This is super exciting… The Street Vendor Project, a non profit organization that advocates for street vendors in New York City and beyond, announced this morning that they will be bringing The Vendy Awards (their annual “Oscars of Street Food”) to Los Angeles for the first time this year!  The Vendys are pretty much my favorite NYC event (and I’m not just saying because I got to be a judge last year.) It all goes down May 15th at MacArthur Park from 4-7pm, and will be the culminating event of a street vending conference being held at UCLA May 14th and 15th.  Tickets are on sale now for $50, and all proceeds go to benefit organizations that support street vendor rights in Los Angeles (like Los Loncheros, CHIRLA, and the UCLA Downtown Labor Center.)  A ticket gets you admission to the event, food from all the nominated vendors, plus your fill of beer, wine, and soda. And because it all goes to charity, it’s tax deductible.

It’s more of a celebration then a real competition, but there are official nominees and a winner will be crowned by a panel of distinguished judges.  So who will be competing at the event?  Well, that’s up to you… nominations are openfrom now until April 15th, and the nominees will be announced on May 1st.  Get more info about the event, buy your tickets, and nominate your favorite street vendor on the Vendy Award website>>

Ciudad’s $9 Quick Lunch is Not Quick, But It’s A Steal


As you’ve probably figured out by now I’m a fat and cheap bastard. The perfect “Midtown Lunch” has to be under $10, and it should be fast, tasty (of course), and oftentimes it’s dirty (I’m looking at you Chu’s Chinese Kitchen.) Buffets are always good; being waited on, not so much (who wants to tip?!) But I do appreciate a good deal, especially when its a normally expensive restaurant offering something for under $10.

So when I heard (via Blackboard Eats) that Ciudad does an under $10 “quick lunch” special, I was all over it.

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