Archive for May 2010

Lunch Links (The “It’s a Burger Kind of a Weekend” Edition)

Photo courtesy of Dig Lounge

Vendy Winner on KCRW This Weekend: This weekend's Good Food is a must listen for all Breed Street fans... Nina Garcia, winner of the Inaugural L.A. Vendy Awards, will be giving Evan Kleiman her recipe for salsa seca- the dry seed mixture that many credit with her victory.  Listen live at 11am, Saturday on 89.9FM, online at, or download the podcast after it airs.

Lunch’er Adam Reports: New Border Grill Kiosk is For “Yuppies From the Westside”

Border Grill Stop

If you work Downtown, and are looking for a new lunch option, this could be good.  Last week Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken expanded the Border Grill brand once again (there are restaurants in Vegas and Santa Monica, and a truck of course) opening a kiosk on the NW corner of Wilshire and Figeroa.  According to NRN the kiosk is meant to make use of the truck’s “limited menu”, offering take out food to people who work and live in the area. Lunch’er “Adam” checked it out on Tuesday and was nice enough to send photos, and his opinion:

“Yuppies from the Westside, like me, will like it a lot.  My Mexican-American friends were skeptical of the prices but ultimately satisfied with the food.”

Check out the seating area, his carne asada taco platter, and the entire Border Grill Stop menu, after the jump…

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So That’s What Happened to Nom Nom and Grill ‘Em All: If you were wondering why the Nom Nom and Grill 'Em All trucks have completely disappeared for the past month, here is your answer. They were filming a new Food Network show called the "Great Food Truck Race", which wraps this weekend in New York City.

Pailin Thai’s Off the Menu Northern Specialties Are Stellar


Ever since visiting Thailand a few years ago, Khao Soi has become one of my all time favorite dishes.  The crunchy noodle topped curry dish, usually served with chicken, is a Northern thai specialty- so you won’t find it at most Thai restaurants (unless the owners are from the North.)  I love it so much that I had the version from Spicy BBQ as my very first Midtown Lunch here in L.A. (Spoiler Alert: It was awesome.)

So last week you can imagine how surprised I was to see the blog Sinosoul call the khao soi at Spicy BBQ an “atrocity”. After all it came recommended by “The Guru” himself.  And I thought it was pretty damn good. Hyperbole aside (I can assure you the khao soi at Spicy BBQ is not an atrocity) the comment was in the context of a pretty stellar review of the noodles from Pailin Thai.  And even though Tony “Mr. Sinosoul” C. is fairly acerbic, a known contrarian, and loathed by many of his contemporaries, I felt like if he found Spicy BBQ to be atrocious Pailin’s khao soi must be the second coming of Jeebus.

Only one way to find out.

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Why is There No “Street Meat” in L.A.?

I miss you old friend

When I returned to Los Angeles in January I was pretty excited to start eating my way through all the trucks that have popped up since I moved away in 2005.  Korean tacos? Hawaiian garlic shrimp? Grilled cheese sandwiches with short ribs? Sushi… buttermilk biscuits… butter chicken… and obviously all the Mexican food.  But there is one thing that the L.A. street food scene doesn’t have… street meat!  If you’ve ever been to NYC you know what I’m talking about… the “halal” chicken and lamb (aka gyro) over rice with white sauce (aka mayo) and hot sauce.

The results of Street Meat Palooza 3 were released today on the Midtown NYC section of Midtown Lunch (our annual 15 cart street meat showdown) and I have to say it’s the one thing I miss about New York that has no L.A. substitute.  With all the trucks out here, I can’t believe nobody has done this.  You’d think there are enough NYC transplants to make it profitable, right?   Challenge issued.  Will anybody step up to the plate?  Or maybe we can get one of the New York vendors to follow in Le Gamin’s footsteps.

PROFILE: L.A. Lunch’er “Esther” (aka e*starLA)

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 Esther, a financial advisor by day- food blogger by night- who really wants to like Ethiopian food, but isn’t there yet.

Name: Esther

Age: 31

Occupation: Financial Advisor and Blogger at e*starLA

Where in L.A. do you Work?: M. L. Stern & Co., Beverly Hills-Los Angeles border

Favorite Kind of Food: I love a good slice of New York pizza (Folliero’s in Highland Park) but I also love a huge Oaxacan platter at Guelaguetza (3014 W. Olympic Blvd.) If I’ve just completed a full day of snowboarding in Whistler, I’ll feel like a stack of poutine with gravy and cheese curds or a rare flat iron steak…followed by an Irish Car Bomb. If I’m feeling like reconnecting with my roots – I’ll go for a Taiwanese rice pyramid with sweet chili sauce or oyster noodle soup. I can always go for some Chinese juicy pork dumplings, a bowl of pho from Pho 87 (1019 N Broadway, Chinatown) or a bowl of Shio ramen from Santouka (3760 S Centinela Ave., West L.A.) Or, if I feel like reconnecting with my other (Wisconsinite) roots, I’ll go for a thick beer-marinated brat with mustard and a cold beer. And, of course, cheese. It doesn’t need to be Hook’s 100 year – 10 gets a good amount of flavor crystals in there as it is. If I feel like being particularly challenged, I’ll go to Jitlada (5233 W. Sunset, Hollywood) for that sweat-from-the-inside feeling.

Least Favorite Kind of Food: I’m willing to try almost anything once, but what I don’t really understand is gamey or tough meat. I also have to acclimate my palate more to Ethiopian and other African foods to be able to appreciate them. I am no Eddie Lin, so I also have to ease into the organs. But my no-waste, ethnic heritage demands that I at least try.

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch: Hokusai (8400 Wilshire Blvd.) is undergoing remodeling right now, but I get a $7 cash-only bento box with a salmon filet prepared with sea salt over rice. It has a tiny amount of sides like a few edamame, pickled yellow daikon and dallops each of seaweed salad, Japanese potato salad – but what do you expect? It’s $7. What I’ll also do is actually drive down to the lunchtime food truck depot going on in front of the Variety Building in Miracle Mile. Having a MINI makes it possible to park in that 1/2-spot behind a truck that takes up 1 1/2 metered parking spots right on Wilshire. When I start talking about extended fancier lunches, I get into Beverly, Melrose and La Brea, like BLD (7450 Beverly Blvd.) for their salads, Hatfield’s (6703 Melrose) for their lobster club sandwich, and Cube (615 North La Brea) for their handmade papardelle. Coworkers, on their birthday, get a Susina Bakery cake if I’m consulted about that.

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