Archive for September 2010

Hungry Pocket Wants to Teach You How To Eat Falafel


This sign should have been a premonition.  Not all falafel sandwiches require this kind of attention to spillage, but the ones at Hungry Pocket certainly do… a fact I discovered the hard way yesterday.  Situated right across the street from Santa Monica College, HP was first brought to my attention by KCRW producer (and Profiled Midtown Lunch’er) Harriet Els, who listed it as one of her go-to lunches.  Her endorsement was less than enthusiastic (she called the falafel “decent”), but when this week’s Profiled Lunch’er Steven called it the best falafel he’s found in L.A. I knew it was time for a visit to this college student hang out.

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Tropical Food Truck Looks to Succeed Where Kassava Failed


Remember how excited I was to find real jerk chicken, stewed oxtails, and goat stew on the Kassava Truck back in April?  Well, apparently Los Angeles wasn’t as excited because the trucks are now gone, pulled off the street months ago.  Kassava the restaurant is still open over in Beverly Hills (8600 W. 3rd Street) but the trucks just weren’t making enough money to be worthwhile.   But that’s not the end of the story… last month the guy who ran the Kassava Trucks decided to strike out on his own, opening the Tropical Food Truck and parking it near 5858 Wilshire Blvd.  He’s also added some Haitian specialties to the menu, and claims that his mom is the chef of Kassava (and helps him cook the food) so the Jamaican stuff should be exactly the same as the original Kassava truck.

Clearly somebody was going to need to test this out.

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PROFILE: L.A. Lunch’er “Steven”

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 Steven, an artist who claims he has eaten the best falafel in L.A. and it is in Santa Monica…

Name: Steven

Age: 34

Occupation: Artist

Where in L.A. do you Work?: Self employed in Santa Monica

Favorite Kind of Food: Good

Least Favorite Kind of Food: packaged in styrofoam

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch: Tacos Por Favor (1406 Olympic Blvd) for their cemita poblana (it’s like a torta, but way better) and their spinach burrito (which also features guacamole and black beans, and is surprisingly good and possibly healthy). Cha Cha Chicken (1906 Ocean Blvd) for their jerk chicken enchiladas and beach proximity. Bay Cities (1517 Lincoln Blvd.) when I’m really in the mood to stand on a line. (I know, I should order online, but I never do.) Hungry Pocket (1715 Pico Blvd) has the best falafel I’ve found in LA. And Border Grill (1445 4th St) has really good upscale Mexican-ish food, and some pretty good lunch specials. Finally, Chez Jay (1657 Ocean Ave.) for those days when lunch is best defined as a steak and a scotch in a dimly lit dive with peanut shells on the floor.

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You’d Be Crazy Not to Like La Torta Loca


The lunch options have slowly been getting better and better for those who work in the Fashion District part of DTLA. And when it comes to sandwiches, I think you could do a lot worse than Gram & Papa’s. But spending $10 on a sandwich doesn’t exactly thrill me, so when I saw on Yelp that there was a far cheaper, highly rated torta place called La Torta Loca right around the corner from G&P, I couldn’t help but be curious. I’m always cautious when using Yelp as a guide, but all I had to do is look at the first (and most popular) torta listed on the Torta Loca menu, and I was sold.

The Cubana: Ham, sausage, chorizo, breaded steak, bacon, and egg.

Uh… yes please.

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Lunch Links (The “Korean Burger Madness” Edition)

“The Chosun One” from 8oz Burger. Photo by The Teenage Glutster.

Where’s the Best Plate Lunch Spot in L.A.? (Because I’m Guessing it’s Not Ono)


Sometimes I feel like the only person who lives in this city who hasn’t been to Hawaii.  I know it’s not true, but there are a lot of people on the west coast who make Hawaii feel as mundane as going to, say, Pittsburgh.  Well, not this Jew from Miami.  Growing up a Hawaiian vacation seemed as exotic to me as going on an African safari. And the food?  Well, let’s just say my only encounter with Hawaiian food as a kid was watching Howie From Maui as a 13 year old (“Eat the fucking poi!!!”)

My first real taste of Hawaiian food came in NYC at a place called Hawaiian Island Grill, which for a plate lunch deprived soul like myself seemed awesome!  Korean style beef?  Hamburger steak covered in gravy? Rotisserie chicken and pork chops?  All served with rice and macaroni salad?  Bring it on!  Maybe it wasn’t the most authentic Hawaiian food in the world, but it taught me something very important:  plate lunches are my friend.

So, you can’t really blame me for finally succumbing to the siren sounds of Ono Hawaiian Grill.  (Insert your predictable groans here.)

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