Archive for August 2010

At Lunch Now: A Line-less Ludo Truck!?!


This is not a mirage people. This was the scene about 30 minutes ago at the Tuesday Food Truck Lot near LAX, on 98th Street behind 5985 Century Blvd. (which is totally amazing btw!) And that, in the foreground, is the infamous, rarely seen in public, Ludo Fried Chicken Truck with absolutely no line. To be completely honest, they were getting the food out lightning fast and by the time I got there shortly after 1pm they had run out of their signature fried chicken balls (and slaw), but there was still the brand spanking new honey garlic glazed chicken wings and buttermilk fried chicken finger strips, plus biscuits. I would have expected them to be slammed until the very last morsel of crispy chicken goodness had been sold.

Presumably today’s lunch was a little test run for this Friday night, when the truck will be parked Downtown for the last night of Ludo Bites 5.0 at Gram & Papa’s. I can 100% guarantee this scene will not be repeated…

Ludo Parisian Sandwich Now Available at Gram & Papa’s

PROFILE: L.A. Lunch’er “Julie”

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 Julie, a freelance writer who is looking for some good Asian food without having to drive to the SGV…

Name: Julie

Age: 42

Occupation: Freelance writer (Cool Hunting, Official Guide LA, IGN… and I am the Lifestyle Editor at LAist) and arts educator

Where in L.A. do you Work?: Home office, out and about covering stories, and I teach classes for the Virginia Avenue Project at the Police Activities League in Santa Monica

Favorite Kind of Food: Japanese

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Giant nondescript salads covered in bland chicken breast slices

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch: Falafel at Pita Bar & Grill (519 N Fairfax Ave), burgers at Golden State (426 N Fairfax Ave), shrimp tacos at Loteria (in the Farmer’s Market), simmered pork and shiba ebi at Ita-Cho (7311 Beverly Blvd), salads & soup at Cube (615 N La Brea Ave), salami and manchego sandwiches at Larchmont Village Wine (223 N Larchmont Blvd), pureed fennel soup at Cafe Midi (148 S La Brea Ave), Morning Glory salad at Jitlada (5233 W Sunset Blvd), and The Corner Place (2819 James M Wood Blvd, Koreatown) for BBQ and cold noodles. Some days for a splurge I go to Angelini Osteria (7313 Beverly Blvd) for nona’s lasagna and octopus salad or have pizza and sweets at Mozza (641 N Highland Ave). The days I have meetings downtown I love the Brazilian plate with fish at Wood Spoon (107 W 9th St), sushi at Sushi Gen (422 E 2nd St), and everything on the menu at Starry Kitchen (350 S. Grand). Lately my favorite ultimate splurge lunch spot is having crudo, pasta, and salads at Culina (300 South Doheny Drive) in Beverly Hills. For the days I work in Santa Monica, my classroom is across the street from a Tacos Por Favor (1406 Olympic Blvd).

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Get 50% off at Mo Chica!: When we first visited the Mercado La Paloma (over by USC) we chose Chichen Itza, over super popular Peruvian spot Mo Chica, purely because of price.  Well this solves that problem for other cheap bastards like ourselves.  Today's Groupon gets you $20 worth of food at popular Mo Chica for just $10. Yes please!

Sunny Blue’s Rice Balls Are The Perfect Balance Between Tradition and Tastiness

Sunny Blue

If you have ever been into a Japanese grocery store, or a semi-authentic take-out sushi/bento spot, than you have probably seen omusubi (or onigiri) before. They are those triangular shaped things, covered in seaweed, and wrapped in plastic (some of which require an instructional video for opening.) Traditionally, the standard pre-packaged versions usually come stuffed with cooked salmon, cod roe, or pickled plums, but just as popular are the less traditional fillings like shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, and spam (by way of Hawaii.) They are perfect for a snack on the go, but for rice obsessed lunch’ers they act as a perfect add on to any Japanese lunch. The best is when you find a omusubi specialist… and that’s when things can get fun. In NYC there was a place called Oms/b, that I loved, where you could get a lunch made up entirely of rice balls topped and filled with all sorts of fun stuff (think shrimp tempura with green sea salt, and bbq eel.)

So, when I heard that Sunny Blue had opened on Main Street in Santa Monica specializing in omusubi (exciting!) and froyo (less exciting) I had to go check it out.

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Lunch Links (The “Ham & Cheese Waffle Sandwich” Edition)

Photo courtesy of LAist/Julie Wolfson

  • WEHO Must… have… Shaki Alibi ham & cheese waffle NOW! [LAist]
  • WEHO “The Guru” loves the BLT at Salt’s Cure [Squid Ink]
  • KOREATOWN New Boiling Crab outpost coming to Wilshire [Grub St.]
  • COMPTON Bludso’s makes some of the best BBQ in L.A…. [Noms Not Bombs]
  • COMPTON … just make sure you ask for the sauce on the side [Exile Kiss]
  • MID CITY Black Dog Coffee has added new sandwiches [Eater]
  • DOWNTOWN Just what DTLA needs… a Chipotle! [Blogdowntown]
  • VENICE “New York Style Chinese Cusine” does sound wacky! [Grub St.]
  • HOLLYWOOD Pailin Thai is good, but “Last Meal Ever” good?! [Citysearch]
  • MOBILE Grill ‘Em All calls 8oz Burger underrated [AHT]

If You’re Going to Splurge on Mexican Lunch, Tinga on La Brea is the Place to Do It

Los Angeles - Tinga

I’m starting to think that tacos in Los Angeles are like pizza in New York. They’re cheap. They’re everywhere. They can be a meal, or a snack, a lunch, or a super late night stomach filler. Quality varies wildly, but it’s hard to find a truly horrendous version of either. You’ll see some people order one, most lunch specials include 2, but 3 is the number most pros go for. And nobody is ever going to agree on who makes the best version. You can get satisfying $1 versions of both, and seeing either cost more than $2.50 kind of makes my blood boil. And yet, occasionally, we find it in our hearts to accept a version of each that costs more than it should. Whether it’s because of expensive ingredients, or expert craftsmanship, the lowly taco or lowly slice can occasionally be elevated to a level that is worthy of spending $3+.

I don’t know enough about regional Mexican food to really pass judgment on most places (I leave that to this guy), but I do know this: the newly open Tinga (on La Brea just north of 3rd) is one of those “worth it” places. And I can say that because it isn’t trying to be an “authentic” (whatever that means) divey taqueria, or a hipster fast casual place trying to make Mexican food palatable to white people. They’re just making food that tastes awesome.

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Hansong Korean Buffet Makes Me Break My Rules… Big Time

Hansong Buffet

As much as I love the Asian food here in Los Angeles, there are two things that really bother me.  First… why have all the great dim sum places in the SGV started to favor menus over over carts!? (Carts is the best part of dim sum, damnit!)  And second, why is it that none of the all you can eat Korean food spots in K-Town are buffets?  What does a short fat Jewish guy have to do to get a proper Korean buffet in this town!?

Now, I know what many of you will say (on both counts).  “Wouldn’t you rather have food that’s made fresh?”  As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t.  I like the element of surprise in my dim sum, and the variety that you get on a great buffet.  So when I heard that Hansong, “Best Beef” winner at this year’s Korean BBQ Cook-Off, was a proper all you can eat buffet in Koreatown I got pretty excited.  And not even a $17 price tag could keep me from trying out this lunch.  (Desperate times call for desperate measures people!)

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