Archive for 'Downtown'

6 Great Lunches Near The Geffen Contemporary @ MOCA

Last week Transmission LA: AV Club opened at the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA in Downtown L.A., an installation curated by the one and only Mike D from the Beastie Boys.  A maze of visual wonders, complete with a coffee bar that doubles as a race track for remote control racing boats, the exhibit is open for three weeks and meant to be more than just a thing you visit once before checking it off your list.  There will also be performances by bands and DJs, and to add to the draw Mike D enlisted Chef Roy Choi to offer up food from a Kogi truck parked outside the building.  Each day the chef plans to offer something completely new, alongside old Kogi favorites like pork belly tacos and blackjack quesadillas.  Last week it was peanut butter and jelly pupusas, this week- who knows?

Sadly, though, Kogi will only be serving food Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights from 6-10pm  (with lunch service just once a week on Saturdays from Noon to 2pm.)  So if you want to check out the installation during the week on your lunch break, you’ll be on your own food-wise.  Thankfully The Geffen is right in the heart of Little Tokyo, and there are plenty of great, quick lunch options within walking distance.  Here are 6 of my favorites…

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Spice Table’s Lunch Menu, Beyond the Banh Mi


It’s hard to believe, but it was one year ago this week that Spice Table started serving lunch downtown.  A lot has happened in that year, including Chef Bryant Ng being named one Food & Wine Magazine’s Best New Chefs for 2012.  And even though dinner is what the Southeast Asian restaurant on the outskirts of Little Tokyo gets praised for most, I’ve always been a huge fan of their lunch. It’s not only delicious, but it’s a relative bargain when put up against comparable restaurants in the hood (I’m looking at you Lazy Ox and Baco Mercat!)

When they first started serving lunch the menu centered around their semi-controversial $8-9 sandwiches, anchored by a cold cut banh mi made entirely with house made charcuterie. But since then they’ve added a number of new dishes, including a pork belly sandwich that might be my new favorite…

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My Quest to Make Starry Kitchen’s Friday Fish & Chips A Permanent Menu Item Starts Today


I know this will sound crazy to anybody who works near 4th & Grand, but I wish I worked near 4th & Grand!  And the reason is simple. It’s been way too long since the last time I ate at Starry Kitchen, the apartment restaurant turned Downtown lunch mecca in the California Plaza whose homey Asian dishes cycle through the menu like Bruce Willis movies on AMC.  At one time their green crisped rice covered tofu balls, which incidentally are now a permanent option on the menu, were a personal obsession of mine.  But they have now been replaced by Starry Kitchen’s Friday only fish and taro chips special. Presumably they’ll only be offering this special through the end of Lent, but it has now become my personal mission to get it added to the rest of the year rotation. At the very least they should start putting those addictive taro sticks on top of sandwiches (Starry Kitchen frita, anyone!?) If it worked for the tofu balls, there’s no reason it can’t work for this.

But wait. There’s more…

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Park’s Finest Filipino BBQ Finally Open For Lunch!


I can’t remember when exactly I first heard about Park’s Finest, the neighborhood BBQ outfit turned professional caterer turned brick and mortar that’s been cooking up their brand of Filipino BBQ since the 80s.  But I do remember the disappointment I felt when I discovered that their brand new restaurant, on Temple just outside of Downtown L.A., was only open on Friday nights for dinner!  Thankfully this setback was purely temporary, because last week (after a brief flirtation with random Tuesday lunches) they started a new Thursday-Sunday lunch and dinner schedule.

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Tuesday is $2 Slice Day at Pizzanista


If you haven’t tried out Pizzanista, the newish pizza joint on the outskirts of Downtown L.A., today might be a good day for a first visit. Normally their slices range in price from $2.75 to $4, but on Tuesdays you can get a slice of cheese, pepperoni, or vegan cheese for just $2. Their New York style pizza isn’t the best I’ve ever had, but it’s totally solid. And if I was in Downtown and in the mood for a slice (instead of the neapolitan’ish pies you get at places like Bottega Louie, Pitfire or Urbano) this would be my go-to spot. Plus they deliver.

Check out the cheese slice after the jump…

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Mexciali Taco & Co Might Be The Biggest Lunch Opening of 2012


Last year Mexicali Taco & Co. shocked the world by defeating Mariscos Jalisco in the finals of LA Taco’s Taco Madness 2011.  Ok, maybe “shock the world” is a bit of an overstatement.  But the shrimp taco dorado from the Mariscos Jalisco truck is one of the single greatest tacos I have ever eaten. And the whole thing is deep fried.  Could a simple carne asada taco (even one covered in garlic and cheese that’s been melted quesadilla style) compete with a taco that was good enough to dispatch Ricky’s Fish Tacos in the semi finals!? Sadly, Mexicali Taco wasn’t open for lunch. And tracking down their makeshift, late night, outdoor set up on 1st & Beaudry was just not realistic for those of us who do our DTLA food exploring during the day.

So when I heard that they were finally opening a brick and mortar location, and that location would have regular business hours (aka open for lunch!) I got pretty excited. In fact, for fans of lunch, yesterday’s grand opening could be the biggest of 2012.

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Manna Korean BBQ Opens Banchan Buffet in DTLA


If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m a bit obsessed with all you can eat buffets.  Whether it’s Chinese food in Hollywood, Japanese food in Little Tokyo, Brazilian meats in Culver City, or Japanese/Chinese seafood in West L.A., I’m always down for a good challenge.  I like all you can eat Korean BBQ as well (obviously), although I do enjoy the standard steam table set up of a good buffet. The quantity.  The variety.  The challenge.  It’s like a 3 round UFC title bout. Me vs. The Buffet. It’s why I was willing to pay an unheard-of-for-me $17 (!!?!?!) to eat at Hansong Buffet in Koreatown.  It was a lot to shell out, but I can confidently say that place has not made money on me.

That being said I’d rather not make a habit of eating at $17 all you can eat Korean buffets… so when my good buddy Matt told me that a new Korean BBQ place had opened Downtown with a $9 all you can eat lunch buffet, only one thing came to mind.  Oh baby, you know what I like!

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