I’ve been a big fan of Tatsu Ramen ever since they opened up on Sawtelle two years ago, and clearly I’m not the only one if they’ve survived the competition on that street. It’s especially good in the summer time, when their soup-less naked ramen is a great alternative to the heavy-osity of Daikokuya and the Tsujitas. And their hot ramen is not too shabby either. So when I heard they were opening a new location on Melrose near Highland I wasn’t too surprised. But with a new location comes a new(ish) menu, and one of the new items was a huge surprise.
Just because nothing has been posted here doesn’t mean I’m eating any less these days. You can always follow my lunch adventures (and by adventures I mean “fat guy using sporadically updated lunch blog as an excuse to get fatter”) on Instagram or Twitter. This past weekend I was at Outside Lands with my podcast Food is the New Rock, eating tons of loud food for makemusicsocial.com and feeding grilled cheese sandwiches to bands like Capital Cities, Local Natives and The Kooks. And if for some reason you prefer audio content to visual content, Thrillist’s Jeff Miller and I podcasted too w/ Grouplove, Stella from Warpaint, and chefs Naomi Pomeroy and Kris Morningstar.
Of course none of that helps you get any fatter. For that you’ll have to check out this Top 10 Places to Get Eggs for Lunch piece I did for DiscoverLA. And finally, if you’re in the mood for one of our “7 Reasons to Hate L.A. Lunching” posts this 8 Most Overrated L.A. Food Icons thing I did for Zagat kind of reads like one of those. Speaking truth to power, or me just being a dick for no reason? You decide. (Spoiler: I’d be shocked if something you love isn’t on that list. It brought me no joy to call out some of those places, but I stand behind everything I wrote.)
When the first news of Choco Chicken started leaking out on the interwebs I have to admit I was instantly excited. Not because chocolate covered fried chicken sounds good to me (it doesn’t), but because I’ve got a ton of respect for Umami Burger and 800 Degrees. They might not serve up your favorite burger or pizza in the city, but both chains are genius ideas and both taste great for what they are. It helps, of course, that I love the mix of sweet and salty. And I knew in my heart of artery clogged hearts that the concept of a chocolate fried chicken would be safe in the hands of whoever came up with those other two ideas.
Fast forward to now. Chocochicken is now open in Downtown L.A. and I can confirm that the chicken is pretty much everything I imagined it would be. (Did I mention that I knew it was going to be good?) The restaurant itself? Well, that’s a different story. And it seems like a lot of people still have questions they need answered before they’re willing to fork over the cash for whatever it is that chocochicken is.
So, for those of you who haven’t taken the dive yet (or those of you who have and are still confused) here is every question you had about Chocochicken, answered.
If you haven’t heard, Pasadena is now home to the Panda Express Innovation Kitchen, an open to the public incubator that is serving the one thing Asian wrap loving fatties have always dreamed of: a Panda Express burrito. There are also salads and rice bowls (ala Chipotle’s Shophouse) but you’re not going to bother with that. What you are going to bother with is a scallion dotted mooshu pancake wrapped around orange chicken, rice, chow mein and whatever else you see fit to stuff in there.
You’re going to take a bite, shed a tear, and then get to work on figuring out how we can convince Panda Express to not only serve these at every one of their locations, but also offer the option of having them deep fried. (Orange Chicken egg roll chimichanga FTW!)
Want to read more? I wrote about it for Thrillist this week>>
No amount of heat will get me to completely give up ramen or pho or kalguksoo, but as the temperature goes up in the summer it certainly causes my lunchtime brain to dream of cooler bowls of noodle goodness. These 6 soup-less noodle bowls, like the hiyashi chuka at Santouka, make for some great heat wave lunching. And if you have time to make the drive down to Torrance, you can’t do better than the cold soba from Ichimiann Bamboo Garden. But if you’re craving Korean food, you pretty much have only two options: a bowl of naengmyun from one of the many places in K-Town that serves the ice cold tangy noodle dish, or The Corner Place.
You now have even more reasons to go to Tacolandia, this weekend’s massive taco event put on by L.A. Weekly and Bill Esparza. In addition to sporting tacos from 40 vendors and restaurants across L.A. and Mexico, this year they’re partnering with the Vendy Awards to award a special cup to the best street taco. Run by the Street Vendor Project, a New York City non profit dedicated to street vendor advocacy, the Vendys have been held in L.A. twice before (once in 2012 and once in 2010). But for 2014 they’ve decided to team up with the biggest taco event of the year.
Tacolandia takes place this Saturday (6/28) from 3-7pm at El Pueblo de Los Angeles in DTLA. Tickets are $35 each and can be purchased here. There are premium and tequila garden tickets available as well, which include alcohol.
See you there!!!
Back in April I had my first taste of Carnitas el Momo at Taco Madness. The carnitas specialist had been raved about by L.A. Magazine and L.A. Taco for their copper pot fried pig parts, which, until recently, could only be found at two weekend parking spots. One in South Park on 61st and Avalon, and one on Melrose and Vermont in Hollywood. But after a strong showing at Taco Madness they decided to expand to weekdays, and are now spending Thursdays and Fridays in East L.A. (on Pomeroy just off of Soto) where the 10 and the 5 meet.