Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sky's Gourmet Tacos

Sky's Gourmet Tacos
5408 West Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90019-3945
(323) 932-6253

It's right across the street from the House of Pain bakery and got great reviews on Yelp. So I'm willing to say, OK, we hit it on a bad day...  a really bad day... Someone else should go and see if this place warrants the 4 star reviews it's getting on Yelp. Or maybe it's just that the meat stuff is better than the veg.
Confusing to order, took forever, food was so-so.
I was with people who aren't as picky as I am, and even they weren't stoked.
Maybe their extensive vegetarian menu is just for looks and no one really orders from it.

Also, they have a truck. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Gourmet Genie

I was really hungry on my ride home from Echo Park on Tuesday, but I didn't feel like locking up my bike and going inside a building to get food. I passed a couple of meat-centric food trucks, and my stomach was growling. Any food truck with a picture of a fuzzy animal on it that serves a factory farm version of that animal is super gross to me, even though the wafting scents smell pretty delicious.
Hoping to run across a truck with some vegetarian options, I turned down Hope Street, and near the corner of Hope and Olympic, there was the Gourmet Genie parked, advertising Mediterranean style cuisine.
I picked up a hommus pita wrapped sandwich for five dollars, and took it over to a lovely park in front of the Fashion Institute to eat. I was suddenly transported into a different city than the usual Los Angeles. A man was playing a guitar in the grass, and everywhere I looked, benches were occupied by people eating lunch or just enjoying the nice weather.
The sandwich was super. Tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, hummos and some other stuff I'm probably forgetting. The hummos was a bit chunky, with some garbanzos left intact. The proprietor of the truck said it was an old family recipe, but I don't care if he found it on the internet yesterday- it was fantastic!
The truck parks on Tuesday and Thursday evenings after 4pm on Hoover near Jefferson, in front of the Starbucks, but for up to the minute information on their whereabouts, follow them on Twitter.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Ta Bom truck

Brazilian tapas in the neighborhood?  Sim, at Ta Bom (It's Good), the city's only Brazilian lonchera, typically moored late afternoons on Jefferson near McClintock.  Thus far, I've sampled--with great satisfaction--the Coxinha (a croquette like delicacy), the ground beef pastel, Salpicao (a veggie wrap with shredded carrot, jicama, olives, and more), a top sirloin taco, and the Kibe.  Kibe is a cross between a meatball and falafel: extremely fine ground beef, combined with onion, mint, and wheat bulghur.  Excelente!  Most items cost between 2 and 3 dollars, and there's Guarana on hand for a wash down.  (Also, the staff will give you pointers on your Portuguese.)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

La Flor Blanca

La Flor Blanca
1279 W. Jefferson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90008
In the mood for piping hot pupusas? Next door to the Indian place on Jefferson is this really yummy Salvadorean place that is festively decorated with images of El Salvador and serves up a full menu of food including excellent pupusas. We didn't try anything but the pupusas, so can only report on them. The pupusas are delicious indeed and come with a generous heap of tangy fresh cabbage slaw and zingy salsa. A delight! Cash only, but you don't have to bring much.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


5545 Pico Blvd - little west of La Brea
I thought Chic wine bar was brand new - but it's been around about a year (supposedly it is owned by the same people who own a place called "Bloom" which is very nearby - but I have never been to that place). Anyway, the food is very good and it is practically in our neighborhood. I had the wild boar meatball fettuccine (little dry, actually) and Bob had the clam linguine.
Appetizer: seascallops in blood orage reduction- terrific -and desserts -top notch- chocolate cake and cheesecake!
Very nice service and a good selection of beers and wines at good prices.

I will definitely go back. Actually, on May 19th they are having a special goat dinner (goat cheese appetizer, roasted goat main course, goat milk ice cream dessert) and I am thinking I will probably go then.

prices moderate (entrees 12-18$$)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New Wellington Square Farmer's Market

There's a new farmer's market in the neighborhood. It's on Sunday mornings, and it's located in the parking lot of the Seventh Day Adventist Church on Washington, 2 blocks west of Crenshaw.
The great thing about the Seventh Day Adventists is that they are vegetarians, and so all the prepared food at this new farmer's market is veg. The tamale people that show up at the Hollywood Farmer's Market are there will a wide selection of vegan and veg tamales. Yum. Also, vegan soul food, and a couple of bakeries.
There is a decent selection of produce vendors selling various fruits and vegetables.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


3655  S. Grand
LA, CA 90007
213 747-2141

We visited Mo-Chica after reading about it in Los Angeles Magazine's article about the top ten new restaurants in Los Angeles. We figured since it was the closest of the top ten, we should give it a visit.

Mo-Chica is in Mercado la Paloma, an aggregation of eateries and shops on South Grand. Parking is abundant during dinner hours, since this seems to be mainly a lunch destination.

The menu is limited, and vegetarians will be disappointed. The only veg entree is a quinoa risotto, which had a good flavor, but was boring to eat an entire bowl of. It was pretty heavy, not sure what was in it, but it made me feel sluggish. The fish with rice dish was unremarkable.

What is often reported in the glowing restaurant reviews for this place is the ceviche, so we got an appetizer to give it a try. It was an abundant serving, with hominy and crunchy corn, along with seaweed salad. Though it was good, there was too much of it, and we found out when we got the bill that the appetizer portion is not available during dinner hours, so perhaps we had accidentally ordered an entree portion that was not on the menu? It was unclear and the error, along with most of the food, left a bad taste in our mouths.

If you like meat and can confirm prices before ordering, this place is worth a try. But if you're vegetarian and believe in accurate menus, stay home.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Bicycle Bread Company

Tuesdays and Thursdays
Corner of 29th/Ellendale

Corner of 30th/University
I can't remember who told me about this place long ago (Adam?) but today I finally decided to get over there on my bike and pick up a loaf.

The Bicycle Bread Company folks are super friendly and told me a lot about their project.  They've been baking for two years, and they have an idea about bringing people together through baking. I might be mis-interpreting a bit, but it seemed to me that they were specifically interested in getting neighborhood families good bread, not just students. Though when I visited, it seemed that it was mostly students who were standing around the bread table chatting and trying samples. I'm not sure if their motivations are entrepreneurial, anarchist, christian, or some combination. There was definitely a vibe...and it wasn't an anarchist vibe specifically (i.e., you had to ask if the bread was vegan (they say it is, but they list honey as an ingredient, so it's not strictly vegan) and everyone seemed like they had showered within the last few days) Maybe it's just that they like to bake, why be suspicious?  They also have a website that has news and info about styles of bread and locations.

I tried the rosemary bread and the cranberry orange bread. Both were very springy loaves, but with a solid sandwich bread crumb. I bought a loaf of the rosemary bread, but as I was munching my huge sample slice on the way home, I realized it's a very sweet loaf, despite its savory flavor. Perhaps the sweet cranberry would have been a better option. I'm not really sure what to do with the bread. I don't think it will be good with PB&J given the rosemary, and we don't really eat bread with dinner, unless it's hard bread or bread that I bake, which isn't so sweet and also definitely not Christian or entrepreneurial. I anticipate that this bread will be good for tofu sandwiches with avocado.
Definitely a project worth supporting, no matter where their motivations or inspirations lie. We need more bakeries in the neighborhood, that's for sure, and once they establish themselves in a storefront, perhaps we can convince them to make big-holed round loaves of so-called "artisan" bread for the neighborhood bourgeoisie.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Mayura Amrit (Authentic South Indian delight!)

1277 W. Jefferson Blvd, LA, CA 90007
Go here Now. This new restaurant with a full range of south Indian delicacies is the smaller cousin of Mayura Amrit in Venice, CA. The food is simply spectacular. Dosas, Uthappams, Chicken, and Mutton populate the menu along with a host of vegetarian dishes. We tried the Spinach Masala Dosa, a large sheet of spongy flat bread impregnated with spinach and beautifully folded to hold a mixture of potatoes and other veggies. The Vegetable Chettinadu was mind-numblingly delicious with its (for us) uncommon mix of spices in a kind of stewy goodness.
The Nan was superb as was a side dish of lentil-vegetable soup.

The friendly owners are from the Chettinad region of Tamil Nadu state in south India. According to the proprietor, Chettinad cuisine is famous for its use of a variety of spices; it's one of the most aromatic in India. You should believe him and you should believe us that this is some of the best Indian food we've had in a long long time.

The decor is spartan, the place having been stripped of most of its former fast food Chinese kitsch (but the Buddha is still there, happier with authentic Indian cuisine).

They deliver with a minimum 15 dollar order and 3 dollar delivery charge.

Visit our old review:

Sunday, January 31, 2010

World Wide Tacos

2419 West MLK

Likely the largest taco selection in the neighborhood, WWT serves them up vegan and flesh-style, in mind-boggling combinations that jump forward from where most other restaurants have stalled. The agenda is culturally embracing, with fake Belizean shrimp, for example, or mock chicken teriyaki. Not your basic taco selection, certainly. The tacos I inhaled were unlike any other tacos I've had in this town. The tortilla is not a signifier that the food has a root in Mexican cuisine. In this case, it's basically just an enclosure for a big taste party.
I ate a teriyaki taco, which was something I would never ordinarily order, but I inquired as to what a tasty option would be and this is what was suggested. I also ate a fried fake chicken taco. The flavors were super yummy, delicious in both cases. Anything fried is always good anyhow! My friend had a fake beef and potato taco, for some reason fake beef sounds disgusting, but he really enjoyed it. I had a taste and it wasn't so bad. He also had a tofu thing which he said was really, really good and very unusual. It looked sort of pureed, but I don't know what the flavor was like. Will have to try that out next time.
Here's the thing you may have heard about WWT, and yes, it's true. It can take some time for the food to be prepared. Which makes it a great place to catch up with someone you feel like hanging out with, but a terrible place to drop by if you're starving. There's a tarp with some folding chairs where you can wait it out. Most people are sitting in their cars. When I visited, there were 5 SUVs, all blasting different tunes. No Pantera. Those with bikes sat under the tarp. It took one hour and ten minutes to get the tacos. About an hour in, the chef brought out some amazing deep fried fake chicken wings that had a smokey flavor. Thank you.
You can go to WWT, order food and pay for it, and leave your number. They'll call you when it's ready. But it's also nice to take a book or a friend, and just chill out until the food arrives.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

USC Wagons Part 1

A flock of gourmet food trucks have come to roost near USC, typically staking out positions along Jefferson and Hoover, beginning in the afternoons.

The Bull Kogi Truck offers Mexican-Korean fusion, tacos and burritos.  I tried the Kimchi beef, and spicy chicken tacos.  Neither was impressive.  While the beef was nicely smokey-sweet, the kimchi was wilted, without the zesty garlic redolence that might a great contrast make.

The Slice Truck, orange in color, endears with the simplest of menus: cheese slice, or pepperoni.
The cheese slice boasts an extremely thin crust, crispy and even, end to end.  Garnished with fresh basil and mozarella, it earns my recommendation.  A single slice is $3, but two can be had for $5.