4 New Bits of Thai Town News You’ll Want to Know About

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1. Pa Ord has now taken over Ganda –  Since opening in 2010 Pa Ord has been on an expansion tear.  First they doubled the size of their original location on Sunset and Hobart by taking over the empty space next door. Then, they moved west into the heart of Hollywood- taking over Thai Foon, on Sunset and La Brea.  Turns out they weren’t done, and their latest takeover is the most shocking.  Yesterday Ganda, the steam table place famous for their crispy catfish, became a 3rd location of Pa Ord… just one block away from the original!  I love Pa Ord as much as the next guy, but did they really need to get rid of my favorite place for crispy catfish!?

Or did they…?

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Win a Korean Restaurant Guide to L.A. Signed by Linkin Park’s Joe Hahn

If you’re a fan of Korean food in L.A., you’ll want to listen to this week’s episode of the Food is the New Rock podcast w/ Joe Hahn from Linkin Park. Matt Rodbard from Food Republic is my guest host (he has a cookbook coming out next year called Koreatown USA) and Joe tells both of us about his favorite places to eat in Koreatown. I also brought him food from two of my favorite places- sliced pig’s feet from Jang Choong Dong Jokbal, and kimbap from Gaju Naengmyeon. Download the episode for free from iTunes or stream it here.

Plus we’re giving away a copy of Taste of Korea’s Korean Restaurant Guide to L.A., signed by Joe himself.  To enter to win just sign up for the Food is the New Rock newsletter.  A winner will be chosen at random from all of our subscribers.  Good luck!

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Everything You Wanted to Know About L.A.’s New Halal Chicken & Rice Cart

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Unless you believe in cosmic forces it will be hard to accept that this happened accidentally, but I just this morning realized that Midtown Lunch: Los Angeles turned 4 years old this week.  I say cosmic forces must be involved because 10 days ago Los Angeles finally got the one thing that I’ve been craving, the one thing I’ve been begging for, the one thing that any true Midtown luncher can’t live without: a chicken and lamb over rice halal cart.  It took four long years of questioning, hoping, searching for alternatives, and finally it’s happened.  And just in time for our four year anniversary.  Sometimes life really is perfect.

On January 26th the Chicken and Rice cart opened for business on a side street across Highland from Mel’s Diner, just south of Hollywood Blvd. And if you had told me that the photos were from 53rd St. & 6th Ave. on a Friday night at Midnight, I may have believed you.  L.A. turned out in force for New York style street meat, answering the 4 year old question of “Could a halal cart be successful in L.A.?”  Answer: yes. But if 6 years of Street Meat Palooza taught me anything it’s that all street meat isn’t created equal. What kind of rice are they using? What about the hot sauce?  Are these guys the real deal, or just bush league imposters?

All of your questions answered, after the jump…

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East Borough’s Lunch Menu is Expensive and Pho-less, But Pretty Great

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If you live or work in Culver City and greeted the news of East Borough’s arrival with a healthy dose of skepticism, you are forgiven.  After all, we’ve been through this before.  Chef with a pedigree, taking on Vietnamese food from a fresh angle, and using quality ingredients are all things we heard back in July when Phorage took over the space left in the hooptie exhaust of Chego’s move to Chinatown. Phorage has turned into a reliable neighborhood option for a decent lunch or take out dinner, but its  food is just a few garnishes short of making it a real destination restaurant, leaving it in the worst purgatory possible- not interesting enough to warrant the prices or the hype, but not authentic enough to keep you from craving that drive down to Westminster.

So the big question is, will East Borough be any different?

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Ricky’s Fish Tacos is Back in its Regular Spot

If you ask somebody in Los Angeles where to find the best fish taco, you can pretty much count on everybody to fall into two distinct groups:  those people who will tell you that Ricky’s Fish Tacos are the best, and those people who haven’t been to Ricky’s Fish Tacos yet.  Originally set up in a tented parking lot on Virgil in Los Feliz, Ricky has spent the past few months in Department of Health enforced exile- serving his fish tacos out of a Chinatown parking lot on the weekends, while he worked on making his operation legal.  The good news is he’s back on Virgil now in a food truck, Wednesday through Sunday from 11:30am to 4pm.  The prices are a little higher ($3 per taco) and you no longer get the added charm of watching Ricky expertly man his bubbling oil filled steel drums, but it’s a small price to pay for having our 2 Hour Taco Crawl starting point back open for business in their original spot.

It seems like Ricky is committed to his original Virgil spot for lunch, but now that he has a truck there is talk of starting to travel around for dinner.  This past Sunday night he was in Granada Hills from 5:30 to 8:30pm.  As always, make sure to check his twitter account before heading out.

Ricky’s Fish Tacos, 1400 N. Virgil. Wednesday through Sunday from 11:30am to 4pm

Chicken & Rice Truck to Bring NYC Style Street Meat to L.A.

Big news for fans of New York City style street meat- our prayers have finally be answered! A new truck is getting set to hit Los Angeles serving chicken and lamb over rice with white sauce and hot sauce.  It’s called Chicken & Rice and they’re hoping to open next week in a parking lot on Hollywood & Highland (next to Mel’s).

Check out the menu, after the jump…

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Lunchtime is the Best Time For Shabu Shabu House on Sawtelle

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It’s no secret why sushi is the hardest lunch to reconcile with our intense desire to keep things under $10 during the midday meal.  Raw fish isn’t cheap, nor do you really want it to be.  But sushi isn’t the only Japanese food that is hard to come by for less than a Hamilton. Shabu shabu has proven elusive as well, for some reason.  All you can eat Korean BBQ seems to have no problem serving up endless plates of thinly sliced meat, ready to be grilled, for $9.99.  But take that meat and dip it in boiling water with some veggies and the price almost doubles.  Maybe that’s why the only shabu shabu place we’ve found that hits the $10 mark is in Koreatown. 

But K-town’s Khan Shabu Shabu has some competition now that Shabu Shabu House has opened on Sawtelle, from the good people at SushiStop. That’s right- the cheap sushi specialists of West L.A. have branched out into Shabu Shabu.

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