Thursday, January 22, 2009

Harold and Belles

2920 W. Jefferson Blvd, around 10th Ave
(323) 735-9023
Very local and absolutely the best - Harold and Belles should be visited and celebrated by all 90018 locals.
After living here almost 8 years, I finally went to H and Bs and then I had to go again almost immediately. Anybody want to go check it out, I will be glad to join you.
Yes, the food will kill you. But what a great way to go.
The food is Louisiana/New Orleans/Southern. Crawfish and shrimp and gumbo and oysters (and chicken and steak) in many delicious dishes.
I heartily recommend the popcorn crawfish as an appetizer. Entrees? Especially, the crawfish etouffee.
Nice bar, too.
Good service and comfortable tables - easy to have a relaxing dinner and talk and talk and talk.
Expensive - entrees are $25 -$30 and you will probably want to have drinks and apppetizers and the ammazing bread pudding with hard sauce for dessert, so the bill will be high.

Laissez Les Bon Temp Roule

El Parian

El Parian offers the most spartan of menus: birria, carne asada, and carnitas, in orders full and half, in tacos or burritos. A long, dimly-lit space, divided by arches, with streaked yellow walls, its Pico-Union location resembles convincingly the taco halls of Mexico, complete with picnic tables and benches. Hailed for their Jalisco style Birria, roasted goat stewed in a chilied broth, El Parian also serves a mean carne asada, sweet, garlicky strips, nearly blackened.

The restaurant appears to be the refuge of men, often unaccompanied, each to a table, quiet, intent, imbibing cold cervezas and giantic rounds of meat, occasionally consulting a folded copy of Hoy or Novedades. The sole females work the register or pat the thick, hand-built tortillas, whilst el cocinero rips into giantic sides of meat with glistening cleavers, unleashing a staccato like soundtrack, the ambience of simple toil and blunt purpose. How wonderful.

The burritos con todo may be a bit overstuffed with rice, though a "solo carne" version is offered. Phone orders are welcome and a parking lot is located in the rear off Toberman.

El Parian
1528 W. Pico Blvd.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


3888 Crenshaw Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA

Crenshaw Live opened on Inauguration Night, Jan 20, 2009. We went for beers, but saw that they have a sushi bar and a fishtank in the floor. There were good-looking plates of fried food. Definitely worth further investigation.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Balle Oaxaqueno

2318 West Jefferson Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90018
323 766-1727

The old Two Star Bakery on Jefferson has been renamed, but it doesn't look much different inside, except that now they seem to have things like baggies of cocao beans and some rough looking chocolate, perhaps to use to make molé or other Oaxacan delicacies. There is a small supermarket here too, selling pantry staples, vegetables, fruits, and spices.
Everyone who works there is very friendly, and the place smells sweet and yummy. One room is lined with pastry cases full of sweets and bread. Sometimes I go by to get a Mexican Coke or Pepsi, made with real sugar, instead of corn syrup like the stuff made in the U.S. They also have an ice maker and will sell you bags of ice for a party (unlike the corner liquor store, where people are rude and they don't sell ice and won't tell you where you can find it, but that's another story).
I finally tried the restaurant today, and as usual, I probably ordered the wrong thing. Not much vegetarian food, so I got the veg burrito, which was OK, not great. My friend had the carne asada burrito and she was also lukewarm about it. They didn't give us any salsa, which was part of the problem, but also the ingredients seemed uninspired.
I still think the best burritos around here are at La Taquiza, which is a bit of a schep.