Archive for July 2011

Lunch Links (The “Plantain Sandwich FTW” Edition)

Plantain Sandwich w/ Chicken from Lidia’s Dominican Kitchen

  • MOBILE Lidia’s Dominican serves a plantain sandwich stuffed with pork!? [Eater]
  • LA BREA The lunch menu at Wirsthaus looks pretty good [Grub Street]
  • MAR VISTA Earl’s Gourmet Grub is changing up its menu [Grub Street]
  • MID CITY Penguin’s hush puppies are better than Charlie’s [Squid Ink]
  • MOBILE The Glowfish Truck is Guru approved! [Squid Ink]

Getting the Best For Less at La Cevicheria

La Cevicheria

Ever since Profiled Lunch’er Sara recommended La Cevicheria back in August of last year it’s been on my list of places to hit up.  It took me a year to finally do so because for some reason I had gotten it into my head that despite its Mid City location (on Pico just East of Crenshaw) lunch at this Guatemalan ceviche specialist was going to end up costing more than $10, my self imposed lunchtime limit (what can I say, I’m a cheap bastard.)  And sure enough the specialty of the house, which features blood clams highly recommended by The Guru himself, is a whopping $15.   But it is actually far easier than I expected to get a lunch for under $10, without sacrificing the best dishes La Cevicheria has to offer.

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King Buffet Proves That Hollywood is Hungry For AYCE Chinese


When I moved from Boston to Los Angeles in 2004 the change was predictably jarring.  The weather?  Amazing.  People smiling? That’s crazy pants.  And the movie theater in Los Feliz?  Packed on a Tuesday at 2pm.  I love this town.  But there was one negative thing that loomed large in my stomach’s subconscious.  The lack of all you can eat Chinese buffets.  It may surprise you to learn that Boston has a ton of all you can eat Chinese buffets. It’s probably less surprising for you to learn that I really loved those buffets.  And moving here left a giant hole in my all-you-can-eat loving heart.  (Moving here also led to an immediate loss of 10 pounds; a coincidence, this is not.)

So when I read last month on Eater that a new Chinese food buffet had opened up on Western just south of Sunset (around the corner from where I used to live!!!) I got pretty excited.  The early word on Yelp sounded pretty bad, but clearly I needed to check it out for myself.  You know… for science.

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PROFILE: L.A. Lunch’er “Lien”

As is customary on Midtown Lunch, every Tuesday we profile a random reader to get their recommendations for the best spots to lunch near their work. This week it’s Lien, a writer who wishes she worked Downtown (but is still looking for a good Westside Mexican rec.)

Name: Lien

Age: 29

Occupation: Writer

Where in L.A. do you Work?: I contribute a fair amount of food content to The Huffington Post Los Angeles, Forbes Travel Guide, plus, the occasional 1,500-word piece for something like Marie Claire Australia. If I’m on deadline, I usually will not leave my Venice apartment – unless it’s to get lunch.

Favorite Kind of Food: Cheeseburgers. The more civilized side of me would answer “French” (steak, frites, rillettes) and “Japanese” (ramen, sushi, poki).

Least Favorite Kind of Food: Onions (raw). Big arugula (I love you, Huckleberry, but I don’t want that stuff all over my egg sandwich).

Favorite Place(s) to Eat Lunch: I like to bike over to the taco truck (La Isla Bonita) on Rose Avenue, between Third and Fourth Streets, for the $2 ceviche tostada. I ration the two slices of avocado very carefully. The carnitas taco is also lovely to eat. I like to get over to Santouka Ramen in the Mitsuwa Marketplace (3760 S Centinela Ave) before the long line forms (so, like, 11:30am) for a bowl of shio, add an egg. Right now, I’m eating my way through the entire sandwich menu at Fundamental LA (1303 Westwood Blvd); the chicken torta steals my heart. I might also get a glass of Cava or rosé with my meal, and frankly, you should, too.

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LAX-C Lets You Eat Where Thai Restaurant Employees Eat


I don’t know about you, but when eating out at Thai restaurants that don’t have a signature dish I’m always tempted to ask the employees or the chef or whomever is serving me what they like to eat. What they would order. After all, if you work at a restaurant you’re going to eat the best thing they serve, right? It’s a foolproof plan to get the best dish on a menu. Sadly, “What do you recommend?” almost always gets mis-translated as “What do you think somebody who looks like me would like?” Which for this short fat Jewish guy is going to always be something safe. Something boring. “Seriously. When your shift is over you sit in the back and eat a plate of pad thai with chicken? I find that hard to believe.”

But there is one way to ensure that you’re eating what they’re eating. Ensure that they’re not toning it down, or replacing the “real” food with the short fat Jewish guy food.  Go to a place where only restaurant employees eat. And LAX-C might be just that place.

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Lunch Links (The “Don’t Rub Your Eyes After Eating This” Edition)

Cochinita Pibil from Tinga. Photo courtesy of E*StarLA

  • CULVER CITY The new 101 Noodle Express serves french fries!? [Squid Ink]
  • LA BREA Tinga’s cochinita pibil is super spicy [E*starLA]
  • MID CITY The mole negro at Gish Bac is brilliant [LAT]
  • MOBILE Behold! The Poutine Truck [Grub Street]
  • MOBILE Hollywood Pies food truck is coming soon [Eater]

Did Chimu Change Their Chicken For JGold?

IMG_0717The Guru hit up Chimu Downtown for this week’s L.A. Weekly review, turning stomach groans into poetry- as only he can.  But one particular tidbit in the review stood out: his mention of the “unusually crisp” pollo ala brasa.  The skin I got on my trip to Chimu was actually unusually not crispy, a byproduct of keeping the meat super moist according to the owner.  Did Chimu solve their chicken skin problem?  Or did we just get it on an off day?  Either way, you probably don’t want to bother with the chicken anyway… the pork belly (JGold’s favorite dish) and the lamb belly are soooo much better.

The Hits Keep Coming (and Going) at Chimu Downtown