Archive for July 2010

Lunch Links (The “Deep Fried Sushi” Edition)

Photo courtesy of gas•tron•o•my blog

  • MOBILE More deep fried sushi porn from the Yatta Truck [Gastronomy]
  • DOWNTOWN A new Singaporean spot is opening soon [Daily Dish]
  • MAR VISTA Empanada Place is better than Gardel [Squid Ink]
  • MID CITY Tinga Taqueria opens today on La Brea [Eater]
  • MID CITY 99 Cent soul food?  Yes please! [LAist]
  • PASADENA “The Guru” loves Cham Korean bistro’s dolsot bibimbap [Squid Ink]
  • SANTA MONICA Pourtal’s Wine Bar is now serving lunch [LASnark;Grub Street]
  • STUDIO CITY The valley gets a great new ramen spot [Food GPS;EDBM;The Guru]
  • MOBILE Apparently you don’t want know how fattening Kogi is [Grub Street]
  • MOBILE Hello new fried chicken truck! [Squid Ink]

7 Reasons to Hate L.A. (Lunching, That Is)

I try to be positive here on Midtown Lunch… and I freakin’ love this city.  The food is amazing, and there’s no better place to be a “Midtown Lunch’er”.    But as much as I love much of the food in L.A. (and will defend it to the death against any outsiders, or natives with an inferiority complex) there are some things about lunching in this town that really piss me off. (And more often than not it’s not the food but the people eating it… or not eating it, as is often the case here.) Here are 7 of them, LAist style, for your enjoyment…

This is not an acceptable order at Langer’s. Photo courtesy of Noah Galuten.

1. Last month I had my first Langer’s experience… you know… the place where nobody orders anything but meat.  And one of our friends actually ordered a salad.  Really?  Really.

2. Magnolia Bakery is now in Los Angeles, and people seem very excited. Feast NY says “you’re welcome Los Angeles”. I say “thanks, but no thanks.”  Sure, their banana pudding is amazing (you might say the secret ingredient is Jello-O instant pudding mix and Nilla wafers) but the cupcakes? Nobody who lives in New York thinks Magnolia makes a great cupcake.  It didn’t even make Serious Eats’ Top 12.

3. On my way to the Counter last month I ran into a friend on the street, who excitedly recommended I try their burger without the bun.  Uh… I’m sorry.  Leaving bread off a dish is not an awesome “tip”.  That’s a lifestyle choice (and a poor one at that) not an improvement (although shockingly Chef Ludo does it.)   Funniest part of the exchange? She immediately followed her breadless two cents by telling me I have to try their milkshake!  That’s fucked up L.A. logic for you…

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Obligatory Grand Central Market Lunch (aka Is There More to Life Than Pig & Cheap Chinese Food?)


Yesterday I took my very first trip to the Grand Central Market downtown- and let me be the first (although probably not) to say: if you work in walking distance from Hill and 3rd, I am extremely jealous of you!  Sure, some complain that a number of the stalls are crappy, and there is not enough variety.  You know what I say?  Who needs more than roast pig parts and cheap Chinese food!?  Not me.

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Ma Dang Gook Soo Beyond the Soy Bean Noodles

Los Angeles - Ma Dang Gook Soo
Los Angeles - Ma Dang Gook SooBack in June, Squid Ink called the Cold Soy Bean Noodles at Ma Dang Gook Soo (869 Western, in Koreatown) one of the Top 10 Asian Noodle Bowls under $7 in Los Angeles, and now that we’re knee deep in summer “The Guru” reaffirmed his love of the same dish in a response to a reader question. The nutty, thick broth (if you can even call the sludge a broth) is unlike anything I’ve ever eaten before… and completely worth the trip.  The flavor is pretty subtle (borderline bland) and takes a while to completely comprehend.  But eat a whole bowl of the stuff?  I don’t know.  Even on the hottest day, I couldn’t imagine finishing the enormous circular troth you get for $8.25 (I guess they raised the price, because it’s not under $7 anymore.)

It’s far better to grab a few friends, and order a bunch of dishes…(isn’t it always?)

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PROFILE: L.A. Lunch’er “Harriet”

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 Harriet, the Producer of Good Food w/ Evan Kleiman on KCRW (Saturdays at 11am.) So if you’ve ever wondered where your favorite KCRW employees (or Santa Monica College co-eds) eat lunch, this should give you a good idea…

Name: Harriet

Age: 34

Occupation: Radio Producer

Where in L.A. do you Work?: KCRW in Santa Monica, on the campus of Santa Monica college.

Favorite Kind of Food: Mexican Food

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Processed lunch meats

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch: Cafe Bolivar, this Venezuelan cafe that serves really yummy arepas (1741 Ocean Park Blvd), Mrs. Winston’s Green Grocery (2450 Colorado Ave) for their incredible salad bar, and Thyme (1630 Ocean Park Blvd) for their prepared salads (new, but a little expensive).

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If You Like Pistachio Gelato: you should be pretty pumped for the news posted on Eater yesterday about Grom opening in Malibu. It's pricey (assuming it will cost the same as in NYC), but their pistachio gelato is hands down the best gelato I've ever had stateside. Plus, they give out free gelato on opening day! Get excited.

Ricky’s Fish Tacos Kicks off Street Food Mondays at Angeli Caffe

This isn’t really about lunch, but we had to mention it for those of you who don’t work near Ricky’s Fish Tacos… Inspired by last month’s fundraiser for Breed Street vendor (and Vendy Award Winner) Nina’s Food, Chef Evan Kleiman, with the help of Bill Esparza from Street Gourmet L.A., have launched a new Monday night street food pop up series at Angeli Caffe (7274 Melrose). It kicks off tonight with an appearance by Ricky’s Fish Tacos, the famous fish taco vendor who used to only sell on the weekends at Sunset Junction, but now has a tent Wednesday through Sunday at 1400 Virgil (just south of Hollywood Blvd.)

So if you work in Mid-City or the west side, and haven’t been able to make it over to Los Feliz for a delicious fish taco lunch, tonight is your best shot at Ricky’s Fish Taco goodness (voted best fish taco in L.A. by the Taco Task Force!) Owner Ricky Pina will be selling $3 tacos from 6-10pm, while Angeli Cafe will selling beer and desserts.