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23 L.A. Ghost Kitchens With Exciting Options for Delivery/Takeout

March 31, 2021 by Christina Champlin
Red’s Smokin Texas BBQ. Photo by Christina Champlin.

Ghost kitchens or “cloud kitchens” are the way of the future. It’s just like ordering takeout from a restaurant, but most of these kitchens don’t have a storefront or dining room. During the pandemic, several chefs and members of the hospitality industry turned hardship and uncertainty into fully-fledged businesses by making the ghost kitchen concept a trend that’s here to stay.

With so many ghost kitchens popping up on delivery platforms, it might be difficult to decide what’s actually worth spending your money on. For this list, we’ve vetted our picks—and in-turn gained a few pounds in the process—so rest assured you won’t be fooled into accidentally ordering from Pasqually’s Pizza & Wing a.k.a. Chuck E. Cheese. Yikes.

So when you’ve exhausted all your regular go-to dining options, turn your attention to these exciting ghost kitchens operating exclusively for delivery and pickup.

SMT-u-boo
SMT. Photo by Christina Champlin.

Korea’s SM Entertainment has landed in Los Angeles with an online-only version of its popular restaurant and club, SMT. The global company already has locations in Korea and Tokyo, and has plans to open a two-story operation in the heart of Koreatown later this year. For now, the public can get a taste of what’s to come through delivery from DoorDash, GrubHub, and Fantuan. The introductory menu includes an assortment of yubuchobap, a multi-color veggie & bulgogi bowl, japchae fried dumplings, bulgogi puff pies, and more.

Orso Pasta delivers handmade pasta and gourmet sauces straight to your door. Current seasonal sauces include Saffron Turmeric Buttersauce, Bolognese, and Cacio E Pepe. Choose from Cavatelli, Tagliatelle, Gnocchi, and Maltagliati as pasta options. There is very little prep time. Boiling the pasta and simmering the sauce just takes five minutes, so even novices can look like a pro. Each order serves two and costs around $30.

Red’s Smokin Texas BBQ from Marina Del Rey’s oceanfront restaurant Whiskey Reds is serving slow-smoked meats infused with hickory, apple, and pecan wood. Choose from brisket, ribs, chicken, and pulled pork, all hand-rubbed with a custom blend of spices and punctuated with their signature bourbon BBQ sauce. Order by phone, online, or conveniently at the new walk-up bar for pickup on the colorful boardwalk. Communal tables are also dotted along the walkway for those who wish to eat their food with an ocean view. Open Wednesdays through Sundays. Available for pickup and delivery.

We Love Wingz is another newcomer by Whiskey Reds featuring 14 wing flavors each inspired by the variety of cuisines we have right here in Los Angeles. Favors include Al Pastor, Bahamian Jerk, Nashville Hot, Honey Harissa, and many more. Pair the wings with waffle fries or veggie sticks, but don’t sleep on the Aji Verde dipping sauce. In fact, douse everything with it. Order by phone, online, or at Whiskey Reds new walk-up bar for pickup on the boardwalk. Communal tables are also available for those who want to sink their teeth into the wings asap. Open Wednesdays through Sundays. Available for pickup and delivery.

From restauranteur Tancredi Deluca comes sandwich concept Delucatessen at EMILIA. Inspired by the northeastern Italian port city of Tieste, the hot and cold sandwich menu includes classic Italian subs such as Chicken Parmesan alongside sandwiches unique to the Tieste region like the Tramezzino Tostato, a panini with Leoncini ham, imported fontina, provolone, and spicy giardiniera. Open Monday through Friday for delivery and takeout.

Tokyo Hot Chicken
Tokyo Hot Chicken

Micheal Mina’s Bourbon Steakhouse is hiding a hot chicken operation in its kitchen. Tokyo Hot Chicken fuses traditional fried chicken and the bold flavors of Japanese cuisine. Chicken is brined and then fried karaage style, while the skin is dashed with togarashi and other hot spices. Sides include fries and rice sprinkled with furikake, wasabi mashed potatoes, dashi braised kale, miso corn, and a variety of dipping sauces. Available for delivery and pickup.

Bourbon Steakhouse, known for serving up delicious steaks inside its beautiful Glendale restaurant, has also expanded its burger options through a ghost kitchen named Bourbon Burger Bar. The burgers are made with prime dry-aged steak patties clocking in at half a pound. Elevated toppings include black truffle, au poivre sauce, and applewood smoked bacon. Burgers can also be turned into burger salads for the carb conscious. If tempted to get extra fancy with your meal, order the Caviar Creme Fraiche Fries—it’s Bourbon Steak’s famous duck fat fries paired with a dipping sauce made of creme fraiche topped with 1/4 oz of caviar.

A group of displaced cooks have banded together to form Tasty Food 626, an R+D kitchen with an ever-changing menu found through Instagram. It’s a hodgepodge of delightful eats; previous dishes have included Seared Furikake Bluefin bento boxes, Scallop Tartare, and “Land Chirashi.” They also have extremely popular reoccurring items that pop up often, including an extra creamy foie gras terrine served with a seasonal jam and cornichons, Island Crunch Jerky, and snacking waffles in a variety of flavors.

Sushi Del Rey offers premium sushi and gorgeous omakase boxes out of a commercial kitchen designed for low-contact pickup and delivery. A variety of boxes ranging from $35 to $55 are on the menu, and each includes a mix of rolls, nigiri, and sashimi. The omakase comes with 16 different items for $70 and there are over a dozen specialty rolls to order a la carte. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sushi Del Rey also offers $14-$16 lunch sets of grilled proteins and Tonkatsu.

Luther Bob’s magic comes from the local California chicken and produce farmers they support. The menu is solely focused on fried chicken in a “sammie” or a “tendie,” and both can be made into a meal with seasoned waffle fries. Chicken is antibiotic-free, never frozen, and fried with certified non-GMO rice bran oil. All sauces are made from scratch, with no added preservatives. Add the Jasmine Sweet Tea to your order, made in-house daily with organic jasmine tea and real cane sugar.

South Asian pickup and delivery concept Jungli recently opened in the commissary space Crafted Kitchen. It offers a weekly rotating menu the takes traditional South Asian flavors and reinterprets them for the modern palate. Options have included arancini stuffed with spinach and paneer, Bombay Hot Chicken served with white bread and pickles, and a Meatball Masala with rice and mustard greens. Order a la carte or go big and opt for family-style feast, which feeds four to six people. Available via Postmates, Wednesday through Friday.

Signature Keyks Pack from Keyks
Signature Keyks Pack from Keyks. Photo by Christina Champlin.

Keyks owner Jae Javier de Castro’s passion for nostalgic treats inspired her to reimagined the Twinkie with a global twist. Baked from scratch and sold in packs, there are several different flavor themes on the menu. The Halo Halo Keyks pack gives you three Filipino-inspired Twinkies made of Ube, Pandan, and Jackfruit filled with buttercream. Available for local delivery in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas or nationwide shipping.

Dominique Crenn, the first female three-star Michelin Chef in the United States, started a plant-based super foods meal delivery company during the pandemic. VitaBowl offers nourishing meals for $13 a pop. Find tasty creative options like spicy jackfruit or a lentil flax falafel on the menu. Each bowl is created with a specific health benefit in mind, such as anti-inflammatory, micro biotic, or gut health. Available on Postmates, GrubHub, and DoorDash. Mean plan delivery service Territory Foods has also recently included Crenn’s VitaBowls on its menu.

The Burrito Lab by Tocaya offers huge 14-inch stuffed burritos. Choose from five flavors including spicy beef, cajun shrimp, and grilled al pastor chicken. Order via Postmates.

The Crispy Cuban food truck has converted into a delivery-only concept. In addition to Cuban sandwiches, bowls, and sides, they’ve also got family meals that feed four. Delivery can be accessed through a number of apps. Curbside pick-up is also available by calling (213) 271-9381.

Eric Greenspan opened a virtual food court called Alt Grub Faction with four new concepts available through most food order apps. They include:

  • Home of the Orange Chicken Burrito, Chino offers a mashup of Asian and Mexican cuisine.
  • Inspired by New York’s famous bodegas, 2 on a Roll is focused on slinging deli eats like egg sandwiches on a poppyseed kaiser roll, griddled pastrami, and patty melts.
  • Brekkie Breakfast Burritos is a morning person’s best friend. They have burritos jammed with carnitas and pastrami, and you can opt to get it “overstuffed” for days you need more fuel. Lighter items include matcha yogurt bowls and chilaquiles.
  • Bubu’s Finest Bird’s & Burgers serves six different chicken sandwiches and burgers on a parker house roll made Okie-style, which means smothered in melted American cheese and charred onion.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is krispy-rice-sbe-1024x576.jpg
Krispy Rice.

SBE is using Umami Burger locations to offer two additional delivery and takeout brands. From the team behind Katsuya is the new sushi concept Krispy Rice. It offers nigiri, handrolls, maki, and several items on Katsuya’s signature crispy rice, such as spicy tuna or King Salmon with yuzu. Order a la carte or from one of many combination box sets.

The culinary team at Umami created Sam’s Crispy Chicken offering chicken sandwiches prepared in all kinds of ways, including the original with pickle and slaw, Nashville Hot, or the very spicy Diablo. Pair with waffle fries, mac & cheese, or lemonade milkshakes for an extra treat.

This Smorgasburg vendor Burmese, Please! pivoted to a twice-a-month takeout business offering multi-serving curry kits, tea leaf salad, and noodle soups. DM your order. Pickup takes place on select Tuesdays in downtown Los Angeles.

Wing Squad’s saucy wings are available for delivery through all the major delivery apps. The menu carries five wing flavors, sides like salads and mac & cheese, and even desserts.

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Culture

South Coast Botanic Garden Debuts New Butterfly Experience on April 1

March 16, 2021 by Christina Champlin
South Coast Botanical Garden’s SOAR Pavilion.

South Coast Botanic Garden’s upcoming butterfly experience, SOAR, is set to open on April 1 with a new pavilion featuring live tropical butterflies.

The experience begins outside in SCBG’s new garden space, which is filled with butterfly-attracting super blooms. Throughout SOAR, guests will get an inside look into the life cycle of butterflies and learn interesting facts about the beautiful winged creatures. Once inside the dome pavilion, guests will have a chance to encounter butterflies and observe them in their natural habitat.

SOAR will run through Nov. 31. The Spring exhibit (April 1-July 31) will feature tropical butterflies, while the Fall exhibit (Aug. 1-Nov. 31) will feature Monarch butterflies.

Tickets to SOAR are on sale now. They’re $22 for adults, $18 for seniors (62+) and students, $12 for children (5-12), $7 for toddlers (2-4), and $5 for SCBG members. Remember, entry is timed and tickets must be purchased in advance. The time you select when you buy your garden ticket is also your time to enter the butterfly pavilion for SOAR. Afterward, you’ll have access to the 87-acre botanic garden. Guests are also permitted to arrive 30 minutes before their timed entrance to the pavilion.

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Happenings

Drive Through This Free ‘The Lady and the Dale’ Car Wash Experience Starting Saturday

February 9, 2021 by Christina Champlin

Get a free ’70s-themed carwash this weekend courtesy of HBO’s The Lady and the Dale, a docuseries detailing the rise and fall of Elizabeth Carmichael, a transgender entrepreneur whose promotion of a fuel-efficient, three-wheeled car known as ‘The Dale’ led to a blitz of media scrutiny over the origin of the technology and details from the creator’s checkered past.

In celebration of the series finale (premiering Feb. 14), the public is invited to cruise into “The Twentieth Century Motor Car Wash,” a real-life homage to the decade of ‘The Dale.’ The activation runs this Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m, and entrance is on a first-come, first-served basis. No registration is required, but you might have to wait to get in if a big line forms.

This is a real car wash, so expect your car to come out squeaky clean. Participants will also receive swag from the show and a prepaid gas gift card. The event takes place at Magnolia Car Wash and Detail Center, 910 W Magnolia Blvd, Burbank, 91506. 

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Food

Takeout & Delivery Guide: The Best of Central Los Angeles

February 3, 2021 by Christina Champlin
Found Oyster

Whether it’s an award-winning Cuban sandwich, meticulously crafted bento boxes, or super spicy Thai food, Los Angeles brims with an array of restaurants ready to satisfy your latest cravings—and LOTS of places to grab your food to-go or have it delivered to your door. In this guide, we focus on Central Los Angeles, which includes Downtown, Hollywood, Koreatown, Silver Lake, Beverly Grove, Westlake, and more.

A note on categorization: L.A.’s legendary sprawl can be hard to wrap your head around. Consider the L.A. Times’ Mapping L.A. project, which breaks the county down into 158 cities and incorporated places, plus 114 neighborhoods within Los Angeles city limits. To make our takeout and delivery series more digestible, we’re looking to the Times’s work as a lodestar in how we bundle regions together.

Now, on to the eats!

sunset sushi
Sunset Sushi. Photo by Fried Chicken Studios.

Silver Lake

El Cochinito opened 30 years ago bringing an award-winning Cuban sandwich and meals straight from chef and owner Daniel Navarro’s grandmother’s recipes. The lechon asado is a must and so is the flan. Takeout and delivery are available.

Ichijiki in Highland Park opened a sister location in Silver Lake called Sunset Sushi. It offers carefully crafted omakase boxes, chirashi, sashimi, and kaisen don. At the helm are Tokyo-born chefs Kazuhiro Yamada and Yoshi Matsumoto, who apply traditional Edomae techniques to uniquely cure select fish on the menu including golden eye snapper and bluefin tuna. You can also add on bottles of sake, canned highball cocktails, and an assortment of Japanese and local craft beers. Available for takeout and delivery through the restaurant.

Tartine’s famous breads and day-time eats (including pizza) are available for takeout and delivery.

Silver Lake’s 58-year-old Casita Del Campo is offering its full menu for pickup or delivery through apps Postmates, Grubhub, and Caviar. Try the generous and affordable combination plates of mix-and-match items such as enchiladas, tamales, and tacos, all served with rice, refried beans, and your choice of soup or salad.

Night Market Song is open for takeout of its signature Thai spicy salads, noodles, curries, and soups. Delivery can be requested through Doordash.

Get German beers delivered in a 64oz. reusable amber growler along with frozen German sausages from The Red Lion Tavern in Silver Lake. Or, opt for tasty combination meals that come with options like a sausage platter, soft pretzels, beer, and wine. Call for pickup and delivery. Orders can also be made through GrubHub.

Burgers Never Say Die’s whole menu is available for takeout through phone orders and walk-ins. Grab a smash burger and add cheese sauce to your fries for the full experience.

My Vegan Gold is a Thai-influenced restaurant offering a menu that goes beyond its main focus of vegan Thai to include orange “chicken,” paninis, tacos, breakfast, and a “hot portobello” plate inspired by the hot chicken trend. Family-sized meals are also available. Takeout only.

WOOD is offering wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas, handmade pasta, and other Italian eats alongside a pantry full of groceries. Beer and wine are also half-off. Takeout and delivery is available.

Filipino restaurant Spoon & Pork is offering Adobo Pork Belly, Coco Jackfruit, and Fried Chicken bowls on its takeout menu.

Same Same’s Thai menu is available for delivery on Caviar. Receive 10% off your bill when you order takeout by calling (213) 273-8424.

The Vietnamese menu at Gingergrass and a wine list supporting Black beer and winemakers are available for takeout daily. Delivery is offered through Caviar.

Echo Park

Thunderbolt is offering comfort food like fried green tomato sandwiches, shrimp & grits, and buttermilk biscuits alongside a rotating selection of canned cocktails, beer, and wine. Available for takeout and delivery. Call them at (213) 372-5099 or find them on Postmates or GrubHub.

Sake bar OTOTO features a tightly curated menu of unique Japanese eats like rock shrimp Okonomiyaki, grilled kurobuta sausage with potato salad, and a panko-fried fish sandwich inspired by the Filet-o-Fish, all available for takeout and delivery. Tack on some Japanese snacks, pantry items, and sake bottles to enjoy at home as well.

Beers, mimosa kits, and drool-worthy sandwiches are all available for takeout and delivery at Trencher. Orders can be made ahead of time through the website.

Monty’s Good Burger’s menu of plant-based burgers, shakes, and loaded fries and tots is available for takeout through online ordering on their official website.

Homestate
Homestate.

East Hollywood

Found Oyster, recognized for its delicious seafood dishes and Old Bay-coated fried chicken, is open for takeout. Enjoy lobster rolls, clam chowder, and even a seafood platter in the comfort of your own home.

TexMex eatery HomeState has locations in East Hollywood, Highland Park, and Playa Vista. All are open for takeout or delivery.

Sapp Coffee Shop’s famous Boat Noodles are available for takeout. The small eatery also serves a variety of Thai items including Jade Noodles, Larb, and Pad See Ew. Delivery can be requested through ChowNow.

Friends & Family is open daily for takeout and delivery of its breakfast menu, sandwiches, salads, pastries, sourdough breads, and more.

Kismet’s Mediterranean menu is available for takeout and so is its rotisserie chicken operation.

Tlayuda L.A. is open for takeout and delivery, offering its signature tlayudas and other Oaxacan dishes. They also have family meals, an under $5 menu, and a not-so-secret menu with enchiladas smothered in three sauces and a sweet heart-shaped tlayuda.

Ruen Pair’s authentic Thai menu is available for takeout and delivery.

Sogo Roll Bar now offers DIY Hand Roll Kits for $38. Each kit includes fresh nori, rice, garnishes, and four signature Sogo fillings of your choice such as bluefin toro, crab, spicy tuna, and more. Eleven different add-ons, like fried onion or spicy mayo, are available for an additional fee. Open for pickup or delivery.

Nossa. Photo by: Georgia Cassidy

Los Feliz

All Time in Los Feliz is open for pickup and delivery via Toast. On the menu, find coffee, breakfast, and lunch items including All Time’s popular Crispy Rice bowl. On Mondays, guests can order from the “All Time Lunedi” menu, which includes Italian eats like pizza, baked stuffed shells, and chicken parm. It also has marketplace items, including meat, produce, bread, wine, and more.

Alcove’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus are available for takeout and delivery through Toast. The cafe also offers a selection of caffeinated beverages, cocktail kits, beer, wine, and liquor.

Sidewalk Grill serves juicy kabobs full of flavor and other Mediterranean dishes. Checkout its affordable specials that feed multiple people. Available for pickup and delivery.

Little Dom’s is open daily for takeout or delivery on Caviar. Popular items on the Italian menu include spaghetti and meatballs, chicken parm and cacio e pepe. Meal kits, pantry items, fresh produce, bottled wine, and batched cocktails sealed in mason jars are also available.

Nossa’s Southern Brazilian menu features cheese bread, roasted chicken, and moqueca de peixe, a coconut milk-based fish stew. Available for pickup and delivery Wednesday through Sunday.

Elysian Valley

Wax Paper‘s cult sandwiches in both Chinatown and Frogtown are available for takeout or no-contact delivery through Caviar. The NPR- and KCRW-inspired sandwich menu has doubled since the Chinatown location opened.

Westlake

Get your pastrami fix from Langer’s. Available for takeout through walk-up or phone orders. Langer’s is also on most delivery platforms.

GiGi’s Cuban cafe and bakery is offering pickup and delivery of its entire menu, including bakery items like beef potato balls, guava pies, and cakes.

Brooklyn Bagel Bakery is over 60 years old and its chewy bagels draw lines in the morning. Order ahead of time for takeout or opt for delivery.

Clark Street Bread is a great place to stock up on freshly baked bread and pastries. They also have a casual breakfast and lunch menu with a fabulous Quiche Lorraine and an organic beef cheeseburger on a sesame seed bun baked in-house.

guerrilla-tacos
Guerrilla Tacos. Photo by: Christina Champlin.

Downtown

Sonoratown is still grilling excellent Northern Mexican carne asada and handmaking some of the best flour tortillas in the city. Get large taco kits with meat by the pound or go for the regular menu of individual tacos, quesadillas, and burritos. Takeout is available, or get delivery through Caviar or Doordash.

American comfort food spot Poppy + Rose is open for curbside pickup or delivery within DTLA. On the menu are crave-able stacked sandwiches, burgers, and hearty breakfast plates. The buttermilk fried chicken & waffles with smoked honey butter and chives is spectacular.

Rappahannock Oyster Bar is offering a couple new meal packages priced $35, $75, and $145. The “L.A. Dinner” pack feeds two for $35 and includes oyster tacos, the lil rapp burger, truffle fries, crispy Brussels sprouts, and your choice of either two cans of Tecate or a bottle of wine (additional $10 fee). The “Fancy Comfort Food” pack feeds 3-4 for $145 and includes fresh oysters, a shrimp cocktail, lobster mac & cheese, and more, along with a bottle of Cava. Both the meal packages and the regular menu are available for takeout and delivery.

Shiku is now open at Grand Central Market for curbside pickup and takeout. Order homestyle Korean food and Baroo pantry items here.

Here and Now is serving a casual seasonal menu that includes latkes, baked brie, pigs in a blanket, and cookies. Peek their quarantine cocktail kits for pickup and delivery.

Comfort LA started as a pop-up by actor-turned-chef Jeremy McBryde and business strategist Mark E. Walker. Focused on locally sourced organic ingredients and healthier cooking methods, it offers organic fried chicken wings, classic sides, and an eye-catching spicy chicken sandwich on a black bun. Open for curbside pickup and delivery.

Rossoblu is offering several cook-at-home pasta options and you-bake Semolina chocolate chip cookies. If you’re looking for cooked meals, they have you covered with items like lasagna bolognese and meatballs for two. Place orders online for curbside takeout Wednesday through Sunday.

Guerilla Tacos has taco and tamale kits as well as special weekly meal kits. Sister restaurant Guerilla Cafecito is serving breakfast burritos, coffee, and donuts. Both are available for takeout and delivery on Postmates.

Treat yourself to Mrs. Fish’s sushi boxes and the French casual menu at sister restaurant Perch at the same time. Both are offering a combined takeout menu. Delivery is available through Postmates. 

Deep dish pizzeria Patxi’s Pizza is offering deep dish and thin crust pies plus a number of salads, appetizers, and focaccia sandwiches for pickup and delivery.

The Original Pantry Cafe in downtown L.A. has been open since 1924 (though not always in the same location) and is considered a Los Angles Historic-Cultural Monument. For now, it’s only offering takeout Thursdays through Sunday with reduced hours.

Health-focused deli Locali is open for takeout and delivery at all four locations (Hollywood, Venice, West Hollywood, and Localita in DTLA).

Macau Pork Chop Bun from Pearl River Delta. Photo by: Christina Champlin.

Chinatown

Pearl River Delta, located in Chinatown’s Far East Plaza, is cooking up Cantonese comfort food like Hainan Chicken, Mapo Tofu, and Char Sui Pork ribs for takeout and delivery. They also have a cold section where you can get soups, sauces, and pre-made food.

Wax Paper is offering takeout and delivery of its cult sandwiches at both Chinatown and Frogtown locations. The NPR- and KCRW-inspired sandwich menu has doubled since the Chinatown location opened with exclusive creations like the Neda Ulaby, made with roast beef and French onion dip on a ciabatta roll, and the Evan Kleiman, which consists of pepperoncini pickled hard-boiled eggs on a baguette with house-made salted maple butter, shredded cheddar cheese, and scallions.

Philippe The Original is offering a limited menu of its iconic French Dips. The four-person Family Pack ($53) includes your choice of meat and cheese for four sandwiches, plus four sides, pickles, au jus, and a bottle of Philippe’s hot mustard. Available for pickup and delivery through Postmates and ChowNow.

From the minds behind Pine & Crane comes a Taiwanese breakfast concept called Today Starts Here. Open Thursdays through Sundays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for pickup, the menu offers traditional morning eats like daikon cakes, Dan Bing (Taiwanese crepe), and Fan Tuan, a burrito with a sticky rice exterior stuffed with pork floss, preserved vegetables, braised egg, and youtiao. Milk teas, fresh-pressed soy milk, and cold brew are also on the menu.

Eastside Italian Deli is offering pickup and delivery. Treat yourself to a sauced-up meatball sub or a cold mortadella-and-cheese. You can’t go wrong with anything on the menu.

Japanese-style milk bread sandwiches at Katsu Sando are available for takeout or delivery using ChowNow. Traditional chicken, pork, and ground beef katsu sandwiches are on the menu as well as a mushroom katsu for vegetarians. The most unique item is definitely the honey walnut shrimp katsu. Since the pandemic, the shop has also expanded to offer katsu and curry family meals.

Taiwanese street food cafe Lao Tao’s crave-able menu of spicy popcorn chicken, braised pork belly, and wontons is available for takeout and delivery.

Open since 1976, family-owned and operated Yang Chow has been the go-to spot in the neighborhood for past presidents, sports stars, and celebrities. There are over 100 items on the menu, but the famous hot and spicy slippery shrimp is a must. Available for takeout or get delivery through Caviar.

A taste of NOLA can be found at The Little Jewel of New Orleans. Over 30 kinds of Po’ Boys are on the menu, plus hot plates like Jambalaya, fried catfish, and crawfish mac n’ cheese. And in true NOLA fashion, they also have beignets! Available for takeout. Delivery is handled through ChowNow.

Get your taco fix and more at Mexicali Taco & Co. Chef Esdras Ochoa’s casual eatery serves excellent carne asada fries, vampires, and, of course, a number of Baja-style tacos. Available for takeout and delivery.

Modern Asian tearoom Steep LA is offering a number of its specialty teas and seasonal rice and noodle bowls for takeout. Tea leaves and tea accessories are also available for pickup.

Sister cafe to Suehiro in Little Tokyo, Suehiro Mini is offering a limited menu of homestyle Japanese food for takeout and delivery through ChowNow and other apps. The menu includes several types of ramen, soba, and rice bowls.

Howlin’ Ray’s Nashville Hot Chicken is available exclusively on Postmates for delivery Tuesday through Saturday.

Sashimi Deluxe from Sushi Gen
Sashimi Deluxe from Sushi Gen. Photo by Christina Champlin.

Little Tokyo

For over 40 years, Sushi Gen has been one of the most popular sushi restaurants in Los Angeles. During the pandemic, it’s pivoted to takeout only. The menu is limited but features all the hits like the sushi deluxe, sashimi deluxe, and yellowtail collar. You can also order sushi and sashimi a la carte over the phone.

Open since 1991, Shabu Shabu House is the first Shabu Shabu restaurant in North America. The restaurant offers takeout Shabu Shabu dinner sets that come with all the fixings and coffee jello for dessert. They also have a popular Angus beef curry with house-made pickled cabbage on the menu. Order by phone at 213-680-3890. Note that the restaurant is cash only.

PASTA e PASTA by Allegro serves Japanese-Italian-style pasta. The Allegro family started as a pizzeria in Japan and here in Los Angeles, you’ll find beef ragu, uni, squid ink, and chicken spinach cream pasta. Open for takeout.

Hama Sushi is where you’ll find pristine cuts of fish turned into rolls and sashimi. There used to be a pretty long wait for seating inside the cozy establishment. Now, Hama is taking phone orders every day from 5-9 p.m. Sake and beer are also available for takeout.

T.O.T. is offering premium tonkatsu sets on its menu like black pork loin, Mille shiso cheese katsu, and chicken oroshi katsu. There’s also donburi, curry, and noodles. Pickup is available and delivery can be found on Postmates.

Suehiro is a late-night diner that’s served homestyle Japanese food in Little Tokyo for decades. Open for takeout and delivery through ChowNow and other apps, the entire menu is available including bentos, ramen, soba, and rice bowls.

French and Japanese brasserie Azay is owned and operated by critically-acclaimed Chef Akira Hirose, formerly of Maison Akira. It offers classics like kakuni omurice alongside boeuf bourguignon, duck confit, and a full Japanese breakfast. Get takeout directly through the restaurant or delivery through GrubHub and Doordash.

TaNoTa Takoyaki serves takoyaki, the most popular street food in all of Japan. Nicknamed “octopus balls,” this street snack is made with flour batter, pieces of octopus, and other savory items. At this small cafe, the batter is infused with a special chicken bone soup. Choose from seven types of toppings on the menu including jalapeño, spicy caviar, parmesan, and truffle oil. Delivery through a number of apps and curbside pickup is available, though you can still catch a glimpse of the takoyaki being prepared in the front store window.

RAKKAN Ramen is an award-winning ramen restaurant straight out of Japan that serves plant-based broth. It also offers a number of noodles to suit every diet, including gluten-free and kale noodles. There are plenty of vegan dishes, like the avocado tofu bowl and vegan gyozas, but they also offer meat here, like grilled pork on ramen and a crispy chicken bowl. Available for delivery and pickup.

Enjoy Hawaiian comfort food from Aloha Café, open since 2004. You can find items like Loco Moco, Kalua Pork, and spam musubi here. The breakfast and lunch menu are both served all day. They are open for takeout.

Sushi Komasa has served traditional Japanese dishes and sushi for decades. There used to be a constant line outside this tiny eatery, but now it’s operating on takeout orders. The updated menu features several fan favorites like the Sushi C combo, sashimi & tempura plate, and BBQ eel over rice.

Kinjiro‘s Izakaya dishes and hearty quick meals are available for takeout through the Tock app.

Operating on takeout, Mitsuru Café is an old-school casual dining spot serving teriyaki and tempura. The attraction here is the menu of made-to-order snacks like Imagawayaki, a hockey puck-shaped pancake stuffed with red bean and Mitarashi dango; mini rice dumplings, and skewers drizzled with sweet soy sauce. Open on Wednesdays and Friday through Saturday.

The first Chinchikurin opened in 1999 in Hiroshima, but now has over a dozen locations in Japan and three locations right here in Los Angeles County. On the menu is a Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki, Japan’s best hangover food. It’s a savory omelet with a smorgasbord of ingredients. There are nine combinations to choose from, including seafood, beef, torched green onion, and Japanese mayo. Available for takeout.

Open for takeout and delivery through a number of apps, all Sushi Enya locations (Pasadena, Beverly Grove, Little Tokyo, and Marina Del Rey) are serving Chirashi bowls, sashimi, specialty rolls, and at-home omakase.

Far Bar is the place for when you want Japanese beers and bar eats like wasabi fries, Asian-inspired tacos, and burgers. Takeout is available and delivery can be requested on most apps.

Marugame Monzo’s freshly-made hand-cut udon, served in a variety of flavors prepared hot or cold, is available for takeout and GrubHub delivery.

Kagura offers a little bit of everything. There are affordable specials where you can build your own meal from 35 tasty choices that include sashimi, bowls, curry, ramen, and salads. Order online for takeout. Delivery is available on Postmates.

Men Oh Tokushima Ramen offers a number of classic ramen broths. You can find Shoyu, a light chicken and soy-based broth, and Black Garlic, a base made of Kurobuta Pork bones. Turn your meal into a combo for a couple dollars more. The Tokushima pork rice bowl add-on is the best option. Takeout and delivery are available through a number of apps.

Mitsuru Sushi & Grill offers American and Japanese comfort food for takeout. On the menu, you can find hearty breakfast plates, burgers, and sushi.

The Mermaid bar is serving wings, burgers, and other bar bites alongside several tropical punches and cocktail kits. Takeout is available and so is delivery through GrubHub.

Daikokuya is hands-down the most popular ramen joint in Little Tokyo. Order the Daikoku ramen with Tonkotsu soup. It’s served with pork belly chashu, marinated boiled egg, bamboo shoots, and bean sprouts. For a richer broth, ask to add Kotteri (pork fat). Ramen can be turned into combination meals with small-sized dishes and salad for an extra fee. Takeout is available and so is delivery through a number of apps.

Hachioji Craft Ramen is serving shoyu and shio ramen for takeout and delivery on most apps.

Izakaya BIZAN at Tokyo Galleria is offering a variety of bento boxes including a $10 chef’s bento that changes every time. Yakitori skewers, sashimi, and other Japanese small plates are also available for takeout.

cassells-hamburgers
Cassells Hamburgers

Koreatown & Larchmont Area

iki ramen serves a variety of ramen in delicious broths like Yuzo Shio and Truffle Butter Tonkotsu. They also have sushi, rice bowls, and a unique $36 bento box that includes burrata with pickled tomato, a Chirashi section, shrimp katsu bao, blue crab hand roll, and more. Lots of great sakes are also available. Operating on in-house takeout and delivery.

Korean dumplings with tasty fillings like shrimp, jalapeño, and pork are pan-fried to perfection at CHD Mandu. Cold noodles, boiled dumplings, and kimchi bacon fried rice are also on the menu. Available for takeout or delivery through Uber Eats and Grubhub.

Cassell’s Hamburgers in Koreatown is offering cocktails to-go for just $6 each, plus burger kits and pies. The regular menu is still available as well. Order online for takeout. Delivery is handled by Grubhub, Postmates, and Caviar.

Saikai Ramen Bar’s Japanese/Korean menu of ramen and bento boxes is available for takeout. Delivery can be found on Grubhub, Postmates, and Caviar.

Egg Tuck, an egg-focused concept offering breakfast burritos, burgers, and sandwiches, is available for delivery at both its Hollywood (Postmates) and Koreatown (Grubhub) locations.

Antico in Larchmont is open for takeout, offering focaccia pizzas that serve four to six people, fresh spun ice cream, and family meals. Request delivery through Caviar, Doordash, and Tock.

Rose & Blanc Tea Room in Koreatown will deliver you a full afternoon tea set on Fridays and Saturdays for $30. Also available for pickup.

Dave’s Hot Chicken in North Hollywood, Koreatown, Hollywood, and Fairfax is offering pickup through online orders.

lost cove tiki bbq
Lost Cove. Photo by Jakob Layman

West Third, Fairfax District & Beverly Grove

Spoon by H is offering beautiful Korean meals for pickup, pre-orders through Tock, and delivery via Doordash and Postmates. Items change often. Dishes to look out for are the Dosirak (도시락), a Korean-style bento, and a very soothing short rib rice cake soup. Boba drinks are excellent here as well.

République is running its own takeout and delivery during breakfast and lunch hours. The menu includes pastries, kimchi fried rice, salads, and a seasonal Gioiella ricotta toast topped with persimmon, pomegranate, hazelnuts, and wildflower honey. A limited menu of prepared dinners, cassoulets, weekend brunch items, and baked goods is also available through Tock.

Get Canter’s classic deli items and baked goods to-go or through contact-free curbside pickup or delivery. They’ve also expanded the delivery radius with three ghost kitchens in Pasadena, downtown Los Angeles, and Santa Monica.

Escape to Island Time with the help of Lost Cove, a pop-up serving tiki drinks in tiki mugs and Big Island-style barbecue. They even have a tiki Spotify playlist to help set the mood. Available for pickup or delivery through most food apps.

a.o.c. is open for take out and delivery. The Spanish-fried chicken, lucques short rib, and seasonal four-course prix-fixe dinner ($45) are great choices. Get takeout or order delivery through DoorDash.

Kevin Bludso’s menu, including BBQ combination trays and cocktails, is available for pickup and delivery.

Chao Krung is offering its Thai menu for curbside pickup and delivery on apps including DoorDash, GrubHub, Postmates, Caviar, Chownow, and UberEats. Order the Thai garlic chicken wings, marinated in fish sauce and fresh garlic, then topped with fried garlic and served with sweet chili sauce.

Ronan is open for takeout and curbside pickup. Find white and red pizzas plus plates of wood-fired pork chops, cacio e pepe risotto, and meatballs. A kids’ menu, cocktails, and lots of desserts are also available. Order on Chownow.

Vietnamese cafe Nong La, located in the La Brea and Sawtelle areas, is offering a limited menu of its most popular items for pickup, including pho, crispy egg rolls, and banh mi.

Argentinian steakhouse Carlitos Gardel’s entire menu of steaks, pastas, and desserts is available for takeout. Order delivery through Uber Eats.

Open for takeout and delivery through a number of apps, all Sushi Enya locations (Pasadena, Beverly Grove, Little Tokyo and Marina Del Rey) are serving chirashi bowls, sashimi, specialty rolls, and at-home Omakase.

Various vendors at The Original Farmers Market on Fairfax are open for pickup or delivery. See a full list of the restaurants here.

The Jar is offering boxed dinners, wine, and cocktail kits for pickup, curbside pickup, and free delivery within 10 miles. Don’t skimp on Jar’s signature chocolate pudding.

Chef Tal Ronnen’s elevated plant-based restaurant Crossroads is available for takeout. Delivery can be accessed through a number of food apps.

M Cafe’s macrobiotic menu is available for takeout with delivery via Postmates and DoorDash.

Jon & Vinny’s breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus are available for takeout with Doordash handling all deliveries. Find over a dozen pizza options on the menu, including a Breakfast Pizza topped with Yukon gold potatoes, caciocavallo, and a fried egg.

Market Tavern at The Original Farmers Market is a British-style pub with hearty dishes like steak and ale pie, fish and chips, Sunday Roast, and a chip butty—that’s a sandwich made with fries. Available for takeout. Delivery is offered through DoorDash and Postmates.

Dave’s Hot Chicken in North Hollywood, Koreatown, Hollywood, and Fairfax is offering pickup through online orders.

Carousel Restaurant.

Hollywood

Jitlada is some of the spiciest food you can eat in Los Angeles. There are two separate menus, one with familiar items and another focused on Southern Thai cuisine, which is a Jitlada specialty. The Southern menu lists over 150 not so common items including “lava” noodles, lemongrass eel, and dry curry soft shell crab with pumpkin. If looking through over 300 menu items seem intimidating, the Crying Tiger appetizer, Crispy Morning Glory Salad, pad thai, and fried sea bass are good starters. Available for takeout. Delivery can be accessed through a number of apps.

Hinoki & the Bird chef Brandon Kida launched Go Go Bird, a fried chicken operation that takes the classic fried chicken meal and mixes it up with bold Asian ingredients. Chicken is marinated with koji, white soy, and a kombu-shiitake-bonito powder. Mashed potatoes come with Japanese curry and biscuits include honey miso butter. Available for pickup and delivery on Postmates, Tock, and Ubereats.

There’s not a bad item on Luv2eat Thai Bistro’s menu of classic Thai eats, but the Chef’s Specials menu is where some of the best dishes are listed. Try the Dry Jade Noodles, Phuket-style blue crab curry, and Hat Yai Fried Chicken. Available for pickup and delivery.

Sightglass has takeout from its window daily from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for coffee and bites. Its marketplace is open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is stocked with seasonal local produce, pantry essentials, prepared goods, breads, wine, beer, freshly roasted coffee beans, and brewing equipment. 

Doomie’s has perfected American comfort food made vegan. Its fried “chicken” is one of the most popular items on the menu. In the same shop is sister project Doomie’s Next Mex, a vegan take on Mexican food from taco plates to crunchy flautas. Both are available for takeout and Postmates handles the delivery.

Tartine’s famous breads, along with day-time eats including quiche, salads, and burgers, are available for takeout and delivery.

Dave’s Hot Chicken in North Hollywood, Koreatown, Hollywood, and Fairfax is offering pickup through online orders.

Health-focused deli Locali is open for takeout and delivery at all four locations (Hollywood, Venice, West Hollywood, and Localita in DTLA).

L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele is offering takeout and delivery (Chownow) of its menu of Neapolitan pizzas, pastas, and starters alongside a breakfast and brunch menu. Groceries, homemade pasta, wine, and even gelato are also available.

Egg Tuck, an egg-focused concept offering breakfast burritos, burgers, and sandwiches, is available for delivery at both its Hollywood (Postmates) and Koreatown (Grubhub) locations.

Social Eats is offering pickup and delivery from five of its restaurants: POP!s Burgers & Shakes, Azulé Taqueria, STRFSH, Streetnoods, and Supertoro. Beer, wine, and sake are also available. Free local delivery on all orders over $15.

Lebanese restaurant Carousel in Hollywood and Glendale is offering takeout items like entrees by the pound, specialty entree plates, salads, sides, and more. The Hollywood location also offers delivery.

Formosa Cafe.

West Hollywood

A meal at West Hollywood’s Grain Traders LA is like a whirlwind trip around the world. The casual, customizable format is elevated by Culinary Director Gisela Salazar Golding’s sharp global palate, acquired through her experience in several international kitchens. Guests may choose from dozens of items all packed with complex flavors, including yellowfin tuna tataki, “Char Siu” pulled jackfruit, pineapple kimchi, and a green curry eggplant casserole. Takeout is available by pre-ordering on the site. Get delivery via Postmates, Grubhub, and DoorDash.

Secret Lasagna is offering individual and group packages that include lasagna and all the fixings, plus dessert. Call (323) 850-2355 for takeout and delivery.

Formosa Cafe is available for takeout and delivery. Get Chinese food, cocktails, and “quarantiki.”

French restaurant Tesse is operating on takeout and delivery. The menu includes pastas, proteins like the whole Branzino, and build-your-own charcuterie. A selection of beer, wine, and personal goods like toilet paper are also available.

The Conservatory is offering a plethora of pre-made cocktails in a carafe, plus breakfast and lunch items. Get takeout on-site or order delivery through Postmates.

Night Market is open for takeout of its signature Thai spicy salads, noodles, curries, and soups. Delivery can be requested through Doordash.

Health-focused deli Locali is open for takeout and delivery at all four locations (Hollywood, Venice, West Hollywood, and Localita in DTLA).

Pico Union

What started as a Greek market over 60 years ago is now one of the most beloved old school Mediterranean restaurants in the city. Papa Cristo’s plates of kabobs, falafel, gyros, and loads more are available for takeout. Delivery can be accessed through DoorDash.

All three locations of Versailles are serving its Cuban menu for takeout and delivery through ChowNow and their own new app. Order the famous Pollo Versailles, a roasted chicken marinated in a garlic Mojo sauce and topped with onions.

Harvard Heights

Guelaguetza’s mole put the restaurant on the map. The late Jonathan Gold declared it “the best Oaxacan restaurant in the country.” Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend specials are all available for takeout. Delivery can be accessed through DoorDash.

Arlington Heights

Pasta Sisters is offering pickup orders by phone, Chownow, or through its official website. Delivery is available via Postmates. You can mix and match pastas and sauces, but they also have sandwiches, desserts, and salads. 

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Food

LA’s Biggest Taco Festival Has an Epic Taco Party Box

December 16, 2020 by Christina Champlin
Tacos from Mariscos Jalisco. Photo by Christina Champlin.

Bill Esparza’s celebrated Taqueando festival brought together taqueros and taqueras from Southern California and Mexico for a gut-busting day of taco sampling. Due to the pandemic, the team pivoted to a five-week pop-up in mid-October featuring mind-blowing tacos from luminaries like Ray Garcia of B.S. Taqueria, Poncho Martinez from Poncho’s Tlayudas, and Priscilla Curiel of San Diego’s Tuetano Taqueria.

The series comes to a finale on Dec. 29 with an hour-long livestream dubbed Taqueando at Home. And because it’s absolute torture to attend a party that celebrates the taco lifestyle without having any tacos on hand, Esparza has also created a party box filled with tacos and more. The Taqueando at Home Party Box includes tacos from Tuetano Taqueria and Chicas Tacos, a ceviche kit from La Guerrerense in Ensenada, sweet and savory tamales by Tamales Elena Y Antojitos, a Chicharron burrito from Mujer Divina in San Ysidro, ingredients to make homemade salsa from La Casita Mexicana, and several soft drinks for $50. Add alcohol when you upgrade to a VIP Home Party Box for $100. You’ll receive a tequila cocktail from Madre, mezcal from El Silencio, beers from Tecate, a Michelada kit from Salsa Sinaloa, and a few other surprises. A portion of the proceeds will benefit CIELO, a local nonprofit that works with indigenous communities in Los Angeles.

Bill Esparza will host the livestream, accompanied by appearances from legendary chefs such as Enrique Olvera, Wes Avila, and Raul Ortega of Mariscos Jalisco. La Guerrerense and La Casita Mexicana will host cooking demos for items in the party boxes, and Madre and El Silencio will help guests prepare their drinks from the comfort of their homes.

Pre-order party boxes online for pickup on Dec. 28 at 1850 Industrial St. in the Arts District, formerly the Church & State space. Join the livestream on Dec. 29 from noon to 1 p.m. at www.TaqueandoFest.com.

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Cool Spots, Food, Happenings, Where to Eat

‘Steep After Dark’ Takes Over an Entire Chinatown Courtyard

October 22, 2020 by Christina Champlin
Food and cocktails at Steep After Dark. Photo by Christina Champlin.

“Steep After Dark” is a new concept from Samuel Wang and Lydia Lin’s specialty tea cafe Steep LA. The casual outdoor affair resembles Japanese izakayas—bars that serve tapas-style food. The pop-up tapped Chef Shawn Pham to create the small plates and General Lee’s head bartender Philip Ly for tea-based libations.

Mandarin Plaza’s entire courtyard has been transformed for evening dining. A decorated lounge area is lush with greenery, and a newly installed canopy covers tables all spaced well over six feet apart.

A plate of skewered eats at Steep After Dark. Photo by Christina Champlin.

Chef Pham trained in several Michelin restaurants and most recently worked at Tsubaki and Ototo in Echo Park. He cooks items over a Konro grill right in front of guests. Skewers dominate the menu and a variety of Asian seasonings and sauces are used for an extra dose of umami. Sour and spicy Thai Nam Jim is drizzled over giant prawns. Xo sauce is brushed on corn. Grilled oysters are topped with Vietnamese Nước chấm. Chunks of lamb are seasoned with Gochu powder and Sichuan pepper.

But it’s not just the seasonings. Everything at the pop-up incorporates some type of traditional Asian influence. For example, Pham uses Binchotan charcoal, a type of activated white charcoal cultivated in the Kishu province of Wakayama in Japan for over 300 years.

Additional nibbles include fries, salt & pepper calamari, steamed clams in basil and Shaoxing butter sauce, and chicken cabbage salad served with shrimp chips.

Skewers cooking on a Konro grill at Steep After Dark. Photo by Christina Champlin.

Mock-tails crafted by Ly will come with a Chinatown twist fusing Steep’s teas with ingredients commonly used in Asian cooking, like lemongrass, pandan, and five-spice.

Steep After Dark launches this weekend, October 23-24 from 4-9 p.m and will continue into November. Steep LA is only taking walk-ins for this pop-up.

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Food

Taqueando Takeover Brings Five-Week Taco Pop-Up to DTLA

October 21, 2020 by Christina Champlin
Ponchos Tlayudas
Ponchos Tlayudas. Photo by Jon Endow.

Bill Esparza’s Taqueando was one of Los Angeles’ best food events of 2019. But this year, with large gatherings on hold due to the pandemic, the team at Taqueando is pivoting to a pop-up format.

The James Beard Award-winning Esparza co-founded L.A. Weekly’s Tacolandia event and for years helped curate a lineup of vendors that attracted thousands of hungry Angelenos each year.

Last year, Esparza created a new event, dubbed Taqueando, which brought taqueros and taqueras together from Southern California and Mexico for a one-day all-you-can-eat taco feast at ROW DTLA. Unfortunately, COVID-19 put the brakes on duplicating last year’s event, but that doesn’t mean the taco show won’t go on.

This year’s affair, dubbed the “Taqueando Takeover,” will be held at the former site of Church & State in Downtown. Instead of a big, one-day festival, they’ll be throwing a five-week long celebration of all things tacos.

The series of rotating pop-ups kicks off October 22-24 with Chef Poncho Martinez of Poncho’s Tlayudas and continues weekly with collaborations from SoCal’s most talented taco purveyors, including Chef Ray Garcia, Mariscos Jalisco, Tacos El Ruso, Tuetano Taqueria, and Chef Eduardo Ruiz.

Guests will have the choice of dining in at an expanded outdoor patio, as well as ordering takeout. Cocktails, wine, and beer will also be available.

The five-week celebration runs Thursdays through Saturdays and concludes in December with a virtual event and fundraiser featuring cooking demos, live performances and much more.

Check out the full lineup below:

  • Week 1 (10/22 – 10/24) – Chef Poncho Martinez of Poncho’s Tlayudas joins for three nights of Oaxacan cuisine from the Valles Centrales and Sierra Norte regions. 
  • Week 2 (10/29 – 10/31) – Surf and Turf Taco Nights with Mariscos Jalisco and Tacos El Ruso serving their signature shrimp and carne asada tacos.
  • Week 3 (11/5 – 11/7) – Chef Priscilla Curiel, San Diego’s “birria queen”, brings Tuetano Taqueria to DTLA.
  • Week 4 (11/12 – 11/14) – Chef Eduardo Ruiz (Corazon y Miel, Chica’s Tacos) will be whipping up Modern Mexican-American tacos. 
  • Week 5 (11/18 – 11/21) – Chef Ray Garcia (Broken Spanish, BS Taqueria) shines a light on Alta California tacos for a four-night run.
  • December TBDVirtual Taqueando event/fundraiser.

The pop-up will be located at 1850 Industrial Street, 90021, with open hours on Thursdays to Fridays from 5:30 to 11 p.m., and Saturdays from 5:30 p.m. to midnight. Per the events’s Instagram account, it doesn’t look like you can make advanced reservations. Instead, it’ll be first come-first serve.

For more information and updates including whats on the menu every week, follow @Taqueandofest on IG.

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Cool Spots, Culture, Food, Fun Stuff, History, Lifestyle, sightseeing, Where to Eat

Things to Do in Little Tokyo During the Pandemic

October 16, 2020 by Christina Champlin
Japanese Village Plaza in Little Tokyo
Japanese Village Plaza in Little Tokyo. Photo by Christina Champlin.

Little Tokyo is 135 years old. It’s one of only three remaining Japantowns in the nation, and it’s the second oldest neighborhood in Los Angeles. Several storefronts are legacy businesses run by the same families for decades. Mochi shop Fugetsu-Do, open since 1903, is literally the oldest Japanese-American-owned business in the United States! The first Shabu restaurant in North America is also right here in our Little Tokyo as well.

This neighborhood has survived the Great Depression and the incarceration of 120,000 Japanese-Americans during WWII. Now, it’s trying to weather COVID-19.

Many businesses are suffering from financial hardships due to the pandemic, but there are several ways you can support Little Tokyo right now. Several restaurants are open, pivoting to outdoor dining, street dining, rooftop dining, and takeout. You can also do some Japanese-focused shopping and stop by a few key historical monuments to learn more about this beloved neighborhood.

Dining in Little Tokyo

Before the pandemic, restaurants in Little Tokyo were so busy that they didn’t even take reservations. During peak hours, wait times would sometimes span one to two hours. Now, almost all of the restaurants have pivoted to takeout, delivery, and outdoor dining. While indoor dining is still prohibited, Little Tokyo plazas have transformed free spaces into outdoor dining areas—and the wait times are now much shorter.

In Japanese Village Plaza, several restaurants offer outdoor seating and one izakaya spot has even taken over the rooftop of the plaza’s parking lot. Over on historic 1st Street, the north side is completely closed off to expand al fresco dining onto the road. Some restaurants have also moved into alleyways, fixing them up with twinkling string lights. At Honda Plaza, half of the parking lot is now a community food space with first-come, first-served picnic tables and patio umbrellas. Two restaurants inside Little Tokyo Galleria have ventured outdoors, setting up shop on the top levels of the mall parking lot.

Find a description of each plaza, the businesses open during the pandemic, and some nifty tips on how to enjoy Little Tokyo below. Kanpai!

Japanese Village Plaza. Photo by Prayitno via flickr.

Built in 1978 and located in the heart of Little Tokyo, Japanese Village Plaza is home to Japanese-themed shops and a variety of authentic Japanese food. The Village has several small outdoor tables and additional public seating is a short walk away at Honda Plaza.

Dining Options

Open since 1991, Shabu Shabu House is the first Shabu Shabu restaurant in North America. It’s famous for its long wait during dinner service, but now, the restaurant offers takeout. The Shabu Shabu dinner set ($18) comes with all the fixings and coffee jello for dessert. They also have a popular Angus beef curry ($12) with house-made pickled cabbage on the menu. Orders by phone at 213-680-3890. Note that the restaurant is cash only. –> More information

Hama Sushi famously has a warning sign on its front door stating, “No tempura, no teriyaki, no noodles, only sushi and sashimi.” True to the sign, you’ll find pristine cuts of fish turned into rolls and sashimi here. There used to be a pretty long wait for seating inside the cozy establishment. Now, Hama is taking phone orders every day from 5-9 p.m. Sake and beer are also available for takeout. –> More information

Opened in 2009, TaNoTa Takoyaki serves takoyaki, the most popular street food in all of Japan. Nicknamed “octopus balls,” this street snack is made with flour batter, pieces of octopus, and other savory items. Cooked on a special molded pan, the balls come out crispy on the outside and gooey in the center. TaNoTa owner Mr. Takeo was born and raised in Osaka, the birthplace of takoyaki. He infuses a special chicken bone soup (cooked for five hours!) into his batter. He also gets creative with his offerings. Seven types of takoyaki toppings are on the menu including jalapeño, spicy caviar, parmesan, and truffle oil. Delivery through a number of apps and curbside pickup is available, though you can still catch a glimpse of the takoyaki being prepared in the front store window. –> More information

Established in 2011, Cafe Dulce is the premier spot to get a good cup of coffee and some opulent doughnuts. But that’s not all they serve—the green tea cookie-crusted roti filled with red bean is a signature sweet you must try. –> More information

Sushi Komasa has served traditional Japanese dishes and sushi for decades. There used to be a constant line outside this tiny eatery, but now they are operating on takeout orders. The updated menu features several fan favorites like the Sushi C combo, Sashimi & Tempura plate, and BBQ Eel over rice. –> More information

Honeymee serves “true milk” soft serve topped with a chunk of honeycomb. The milk used is from a local family-owned and kosher-certified farm. Chocolate, yuzu, and matcha are also topping options. –> More information

Enjoy open-air dining at Izakaya Fu-ga’s new beer garden located on the rooftop of the parking garage. The new setup also comes with a new menu of Teppan items, yakitori skewers, and seafood BBQ platters alongside Japanese whiskeys, sake, and more. –> More information

Operating on takeout, Mitsuru Café is an old-school casual dining spot serving teriyaki and tempura. The attraction here is the menu of made-to-order snacks like Imagawayaki, a hockey puck-shaped pancake stuffed with red bean and Mitarashi dango; mini rice dumplings; and skewers drizzled with sweet soy sauce. –> More information

Oomasa is a great choice for diners who like combination bentos that come with a little bit of everything. They also offer a number of specialty rolls and traditional sushi. Takeout only. –> More information

https://www.instagram.com/p/BztyFxBjIpu/

Yamazaki Bakery sells Japanese-style bread, cakes, steamed buns, and other baked goods. –> More information

Ramen Maruya offers housemade ramen and broth. For a few dollars more, you can turn a meal into a combo, which comes with a mini donburi of your choice. They also have their own small outdoor dining area. –> More information

T.O.T. is offering premium Tonkatsu Sets on their menu like Black Pork Lion, Mille Shiso Cheese Katsu, and Chicken Oroshi Katsu. There’s also donburi, curry, and noodles. Outdoor seating is available and so are takeout and delivery. –> More information

Pick up some Japanese groceries at Nijiya Market. You can find pre-packaged foods, ramen, unique snacks, and fresh produce here. –> More information

https://www.instagram.com/p/B_a6MGEjmpF/

The first Chinchikurin opened in 1999 in Hiroshima, but now has over a dozen locations in Japan and three locations right here in Los Angeles County. Little Tokyo’s Chinchikurin serves Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki. Okonomiyaki is a savory omelet with a smorgasbord of ingredients. Usually, there are 11 layers of vegetables, protein, and carbs. This thing is a beast you’ll probably want to share with a friend. The Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki is slightly different from the classic Osakan-style omelet. The ingredients are all distinctively layered instead of merging, and there is a hardy serving of cabbage and a layer of grilled noodles thrown into the mix. There are nine combinations on the menu, including seafood, ground beef, torched green onion, and Japanese mayo. Available for delivery, takeout, and outdoor dining. –> More information

Kagura offers a little bit of everything. There are affordable specials where you can build your own meal from 35 tasty choices that include sashimi, bowls, curry, ramen, and salads. The special is only available during outdoor dine-in lunch hours from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Delivery is also available through a number of apps. –> More information

Honda Plaza Little Tokyo Outdoor Dining Picnic Tables
Public picnic tables at Honda Plaza. Photo by Christina Champlin.

Grab a cocktail, slurp some ramen, sip matcha, and dine on fine sushi all inside Honda Plaza. Half of its parking lot is now a community food space with picnic tables and patio umbrellas.

Dining Options in Honda Plaza

Sashimi Deluxe from Sushi Gen
Sashimi Deluxe from Sushi Gen. Photo by Christina Champlin.

For over 40 years, Sushi Gen has been one of the most popular sushi restaurants in Los Angeles. During the pandemic, they’ve pivoted to takeout only. The menu is limited but features all the hits like the sushi deluxe, sashimi deluxe, and yellowtail collar. You can also order sushi and sashimi a la carte over the phone. –> More information

PASTA e PASTA by Allegro serves Japanese-Italian-style pasta. The Allegro family started as a pizzeria in Japan and here, you’ll find Beef Ragu, Uni, Squid Ink, and Chicken Spinach Cream pasta. Open for takeout. –> More information

South Korean bakery Tous Les Jours is a global franchise with over 1,600 stores around the world. French-Asian inspired baked goods are made fresh every day. Find breads, colorful macarons, and savory croquettes filled with kimchi here. A must is the Milk Bread filled with buttercream. It’s like eating a fluffy cloud that’s carting a stick of soft and creamy butter. The bakery is also a great place to get a birthday cake. The cloud cream cakes are seriously delicious. –> More information

Men Oh Tokushima Ramen offers a number of classic ramen broths. You can find Shoyu, a light chicken and soy-based broth, and Black Garlic, a base made of Kurobuta Pork bones. Turn your meal into a combo for a couple dollars more. The Tokushima pork rice bowl add-on is the best option. –> More information

Enjoy Hawaiian comfort food from Aloha Café, open since 2004. You can find items like Loco Moco, Kalua Pork, and spam musubi here. The breakfast and lunch menu are both served all day. They are open for takeout, and there are small tables in front for dining outdoors. –> More information

BBQ Chicken DTLA is a Korean-style fried chicken shop. On the menu, find fried chicken bone-in or boneless in a variety of different spices, and chicken wings in eight different sauces. –> More information

Matcha café and green tea shop Tea Master is offering Japanese-style matcha soft-serve and a variety of green tea drinks. Walk-ins are welcome. –> More information

The Mermaid bar is serving wings, burgers, and other bar bites alongside several tropical punches and specialty cocktails, including boozy slushies. Dining is all outdoors at public picnic tables. Delivery and pickup is also available through GrubHub. –> More information

Kinjiro‘s Izakaya dishes and hearty quick meals are available for takeout through the Tock app. They recently set up their own section in Honda Plaza for al fresco dining as well. –>More information

1st Street Outdoor Dining in Little Tokyo
Outdoor dining on 1st Street in Little Tokyo. Photo by Christina Champlin.

The entire north side of 1st Street is closed to make room for an expanded outdoor dining space. 1st Street is home to legendary mochi store Fugetsu-Do, award-winning ramen, and Japanese beers.

Dining Options along 1st Street

Daikokuya is hands-down the most popular ramen joint in Little Tokyo. Order the Daikoku ramen with Tonkotsu soup. It’s served with pork belly chashu, marinated boiled egg, bamboo shoots, and bean sprouts. For a richer broth, ask to add Kotteri (pork fat). Ramen can be turned into combination meals with small-sized dishes and salad for an extra fee. Keep in mind, this place is cash-only. –> More information

Fugetsu-Do has been family operated since 1903 and is the oldest Japanese-American-owned business in the United States. It offers a wide variety of hand-made Japanese confections and a colorful selection of mochi. Some flavors, like cherry blossom and Ichigo Daifuku (mochi topped with a fresh strawberry), are seasonal while chocolate and red bean are always on rotation. The store is open for socially distant shopping. –> More information

Suehiro is a late-night diner that’s served homestyle Japanese food in Little Tokyo for decades. Open for takeout, delivery, and outdoor dining, the entire menu is available including Sukiyaki, Chazuke, and combination meals with all the fixings. –> More information

Open for takeout and outdoor dining, Sushi Enya is serving Chirashi bowls, sashimi, and specialty rolls. Vegans can also enjoy a meal here with inventive dishes like sweet corn tempura, Japanese tomato, and truffle asparagus. –> More information

RAKKAN Ramen is an award-winning ramen restaurant straight out of Japan that serves plant-based broth. It also offers a number of noodles to suit every diet, including gluten-free and kale noodles. There are plenty of vegan dishes, like the avocado tofu bowl and vegan gyozas, but they also offer meat here, like grilled pork on ramen and a crispy chicken bowl. –> More information

Get a full afternoon tea experience with tiers of tea sandwiches, scones, and more. Chado Tea Room is located at the Japanese American National Museum and is open for outdoor dining, delivery, and takeout. –> More information

Far Bar has a patio and outdoor dining area to enjoy local beers on tap, Japanese bottles of beer, and bar eats like wasabi fries, Asian-inspired tacos, and burgers. Takeout is also available. –> More information

Mitsuru Sushi & Grill offers American and Japanese comfort food for takeout and outdoor dining. On the menu, you can find hearty breakfast plates, burgers, and sushi. –> More information

Marugame Monzo is open for freshly made hand-cut udon. The menu is slightly limited, but there are more than enough signature hot and cold udon bowls to choose from. Takeout is also available. –> More information

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Hachioji Craft Ramen is serving Shoyu and Shio ramen for outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery. If you are going with other members of your household, consider the 84-ounce Sapporo beer tower. –> More information

Near the hustle and bustle of Little Tokyo’s 1st Street is French and Japanese brasserie Azay. Here, critically-acclaimed Chef Akira Hirose, formerly of Maison Akira, offers classics like kakuni omurice alongside Boeuf Bourguignon, Duck Confit, and a full Japanese Breakfast. –> More information

Little Tokyo Galleria is an indoor shopping center with a Japanese market and a few restaurants, including a rooftop drive-in dining experience and a Japanese tapas spot offering an 84-ounce Sapporo beer tower.

Dining Options at Little Tokyo Galleria

Vegan macrobiotic sushi restaurant Shojin has pivoted to a rooftop dine-in-your-car experience every Friday and Saturday. Make a reservation and pre-order your food through the drive-in menu, then pull up to the Little Tokyo Galleria parking lot and head up to the roof where someone will deliver your meal. Time your reservation for sunset for maximum vibes. Alcohol will not be served during this experience. Takeout and in-house delivery are also available Tuesday through Sunday. –> More information

Izakaya BIZAN has outdoor dining in the parking lot of the Galleria. Pull up a chair and order a variety of yakitori skewers, sashimi, and other Japanese small plates. They also have a Sapporo beer tower if you’re drinking with friends. –> More information

Things to Do in Little Tokyo

Go For Broke Monument in Little Tokyo
Go For Broke Monument. Photo by Christina Champlin.

There are key historical parts of Little Tokyo that are a short walk from one another. Visit these places and support the surrounding business nearby.

Go For Broke Monument

The monument commemorates the heroism of Japanese-American soldiers who fought in World War II. It embodies the Japanese-American veterans’ values of courage, sacrifice, equality, humility, and patriotism. Designed by Roger M. Yanagita and built in 1999, the monument is engraved with the names of over 16,000 men and women who courageously fought so that future generations could live freely in the United States without fear of racial prejudice. –> More information

“Home is Little Tokyo” Mural

This mural illustrates 100 years of Little Tokyo history. It was created in 2005 by muralists Tony Osumi, Sergio Diaz, and Jorge Diaz with the help of almost 500 residents and sponsored by non-profits and local business owners. Find it across the street from The Japanese American National Museum along Central Avenue. –> More information

Bunkado gift shop in Little Tokyo
Bunkado gift shop. Photo by Christina Champlin.

Bunkado

Open since 1945, Bunkado (which translates to “house of culture”) is a kitschy shop that sells unique gifts, home goods, books, kitchenware, and other Japanese knick-knacks. Tokio and Suye Ueyama opened the shop after enduring 40 months in a government-run internment camp during WWII. It remains a family-owned business today. –> More information

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Explore Japanese Village Plaza

The Japanese Village Plaza is Little Tokyo’s most popular destination for dining, street food, and shopping. Places like Hama Sushi, Shabu Shabu House, and Nijiya Market are all located here. Hob Nob and Pop Killer are awesome places for clothes, and Little Tokyo Cosmetics carries all the latest J brand beauty products. For an extra dose of cuteness, stop by the Sanrio store. –> More information

The Japanese American National Museum

The Japanese American National Museum is the only U.S. museum dedicated to sharing the experiences of Japanese-Americans and the part they play in U.S. history. Although the museum is not open at this time, it is hosting many virtual events for kids and adults. –> More information

MOCA Geffen

The MOCA Geffen is devoted exclusively to contemporary art. It is temporarily closed, but the public can view Los Angeles–based artist Barbara Kruger’s Untitled (Questions.). The reinstalled monumental wall work takes over the entire wall on the north side of the building. MOCA is offering many virtual programs as well. If you’re in the market for a new mask, several artists have designed face masks for purchase online. –> More information

Donating & Volunteering in the Little Tokyo Community

The Little Tokyo Community Council (LTCC) created the Little Tokyo Small Business Relief Fund GoFundMe in partnership with Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) to provide financial support for local small businesses during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Generated funds help the organization award $2,000 per qualifying small business. –> More information

The Community Feeding Community program provides meals to individuals whose jobs were impacted by COVID-19. For $15, you can help feed someone and support a small business at the same time. Meals are purchased from a rotating list of businesses in Little Tokyo and the Arts District. 100% of donations go directly to hospitality workers in need and those small businesses. –> More information

The neighborhood is also looking for volunteers to deliver food donations to local affordable housing residents. Donations of non-perishable food and supplies are also welcome. The Little Tokyo Service Center’s (LTSC) food pantry is also in need of financial donations. The organization supports underserved individuals and families in the area. –> More information

For more information on additional Little Tokyo businesses to support, visit the Go Little Tokyo website and resource page.

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Fun Stuff, Lifestyle, sightseeing

Tanaka Farms Has Drive-Thru Pumpkin Picking

October 7, 2020 by Christina Champlin

Tanaka Farms in Irvine is offering family-friendly, interactive, pumpkin-themed experiences on its 30-acre farm this month. Highlights include picking your very own pumpkin right out of a real pumpkin patch and watching the team launch pumpkins into the sky from a cannon.

Mondays through Fridays, guests can embark on a socially-distanced 1.5-mile wagon ride around the farm. Stops include the pumpkin cannon, an educational barnyard exhibit with live farm animals, U-Pick veggies, eye-catching installations, the sunflower crop at peak bloom, and pumpkin picking.

Saturdays and Sundays offer a slightly different experience. You’ll drive your own car around the farm with the option to pull over and get out to pick your pumpkin.

All guests will remain in the wagon or car throughout the entire ride until the picking portion. Masks are required.

Make sure to also stop by their drive-thru produce stand. You can find a variety of fruits and vegetables here, plus honey, nuts, salsas, and baked goods from Old Town Baking Company.

Tanaka Farm’s 2020 Pumpkin Experience is open now through October 31. Advanced reservations are required. Tickets cost $25 per person for the wagon experience and $20 per person for the drive-thru experience. Active and retired military with proper identification can attend for free. Children 2 and under are admitted for free as well but do not get the freebies like an individual pumpkin to bring home.

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Food

4 L.A. Spots You Gotta Eat at in October

October 1, 2020 by Christina Champlin
Honey Walnut Shrimp Katsu Sando. Photo by Christina Champlin.

Every month, I explore different corners of L.A. County to curate a shortlist of favorites I believe ought to be on your radar. For October, I’m recommending a devilish Black Pastor Taco, a stacked Honey Walnut Shrimp sando, loaded Shawarma Nachos, and artisanal Twinkies inspired by Filipino ingredients. Enjoy!

Katsu Sando (Chinatown)

The Japanese sandwich trend has found a special home right here in Los Angeles. You can find a number of these sandwiches on the menu at several restaurants, but at Katsu Sando, they’re pushing the boundaries of what gets sandwiched between their freshly baked bread. If you’re drawn to the classics, chicken, pork, and ground beef katsu are all on the menu. There’s even a mushroom katsu for vegetarians. But the most ambitious creation so far is the Honey Walnut Shrimp Katsu Sando ($11.95). A generous portion of whole shrimps is dipped in batter and fried into a crispy patty, then finished off with crunchy glazed walnuts and slaw. Fluffy milk bread holds it all in place with the help of Tonkatsu sauce.

Walk-in ordering is available or get takeout and delivery through ChowNow. Open Tuesdays through Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. –> More information.

Evil Cooks Black Pastor Tacos. Photo by Christina Champlin.

Evil Cooks (El Sereno)

Walk up to Evil Cooks front yard operation and you’ll witness a slowly rotating trompo of black pastor. This sinister-looking slab of meat is so black that they affectionally nicknamed it “Goth Trompo,” but don’t let the color sway you. The black pastor is the way to go here. The dark hue comes from a marinade of Mayan spices. Fire from the rotating spit seals the flavor into every inch of meat. In taco form ($3), it comes with white onion, salsa roja, avocado sauce, and cilantro. Don’t @me about the missing pineapple. You won’t miss it once you bite into this dark abyss.

Evil Cooks’ defiance on what it means to be a taco stand is even more apparent once you look through the entire menu. Flan and churros are both served as tacos. Their “tortilla” is a sweet crepe-like hybrid. House-made chorizo is bright green instead of red because they use epazote, an herb often found in Mexican cuisine. The chorizo is anything but traditional, giving off an herbal flavor. You can buy it by the pound or try it in a taco.

Drinks are also unique. The Agua De Mazapán ($5) is extracted from a classic Mexican peanut candy. I took one sip and was surprised how refreshing it was to drink peanuts. It tasted like a nutty horchata.

Evil cooks is walk-up and takeout only. Open Fridays through Saturdays from 5 p.m.-8:30 p.m. and Sundays from 3-9 p.m. –> More information.

Filet Mignon Shawarma Nacho from Hummus Labs. Photo by Christina Champlin.

Hummus Labs (Pasadena)

There’s a secret item at Hummus Labs that people are begging to have placed on the permanent menu. The Filet Mignon Shawarma Nachos ($14.95) comes with thick pieces of pita bread fried to a golden crisp, then topped with buttery filet, sautéed onions, and tomatoes. The whole thing is drizzled in Thani and finished off with a scoop of hummus (there are several types to choose from) or garlic sauce.

Shaded outdoor seating is available right outside the cafe. Pickup and delivery are available through the ChowNow app, but nachos are not on the app at the moment, so you’ll have to call (626) 345-5592 to order. We recommend calling ahead for the nachos as they tend to sell out.

Open Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. –> More information.

Halo Halo Pack from Keyks. Photo by Christina Champlin.

Keyks (Delivery & Downtown)

Keyks owner Jae Javier de Castro’s passion for nostalgic treats inspired her to reimagined the Twinkie with a global twist. Baked from scratch and sold in packs, there are several different flavor themes on the menu. The Halo Halo Keyks pack ($12) gives you three Filipino-inspired Twinkies made of Ube, Pandan, and Jackfruit. All are filled with buttercream. –> More information.

Available for delivery in Los Angeles and Orange County through Keyks’s website and every Sunday at Manila District in downtown L.A.

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Food

25 Spots for the Best Coffee in Los Angeles

September 29, 2020 by Christina Champlin
Coffee from Commodity Long Beach
Photo via Commodity Long Beach

One thing that hasn’t changed during the pandemic is that a good cup of coffee makes everything better. Fortunately, Los Angeles is obsessed with coffee. Our thriving coffee culture has attracted many talented baristas slinging brew at a number of stand-out cafes and coffee bars. So where does one go for the best cup of Joe in L.A.? Consider heading to one of the following 25 coffee shops.

Bloom & Plume Coffee (Westlake)

Los Angeles-based artist Maurice Harris opened and designed one of the coolest spots to sip a latte. Part-cafe and part-flower shop, Bloom & Plume prepares coffee and espresso with beans from Oakland-based Red Bay Coffee Roasters. Fans of fancy toasts need to order the avocado toast—it’s the prettiest one in the city. On Wednesdays, the shop collaborates on sandwiches with Wax Paper. –> More information.

Muddy Paw (Silver Lake & Eagle Rock)

“Have A Cup Save A Pup!” is the motto at this paw-friendly coffee shop. Buying a drink here supports a number of animal shelters and charities, but that’s not the only reason to visit. Muddy Paw makes really tasty drinks, like the Mexican Mocha and the Salty Old Dog—a latte made with dark chocolate, caramel, and sea salt. If you have a dog or just like being around them, the flagship Eagle Rock location has a dog park! –> More information.

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Pick your passion. #findyourhilltop

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Hilltop Coffee & Kitchen (View Park, Inglewood & Eagle Rock)

Founded by Los Angeles natives Yonnie Hagos and Ajay Relan, Hilltop Coffee not only serve looks (they are super cute inside) but also tasty house-made almond milk lattes, espresso, and tea beverages. You won’t find a bland food menu here either. They serve things you actually want to eat, like Crispy Chicken Sandwiches, Short Rib Grilled Cheese, and Beignets. Look out for their Eagle Rock location opening soon. –> More information.

Swork (Eagle Rock)

Open since 2001, Swork introduced several quality roasters like Stumptown to Angelenos. Their Vanilla Bean Latte and Mexican Mayan Mocha are some of the most addictive drinks in the city. Before the pandemic, their shop was a great space to do some work on your laptop. Parents also appreciated the cozy children’s play area in the back. –> More information.

Menotti’s Coffee Stop (Culver City & Venice)

Cold brew ice cubes? YEP, that’s a thing here. If you’re looking for that extra dose of caffeine order the Heavy Metal Jack Jack, cold brew with maple syrup, half and half, and activated charcoal, then chilled with the brew cubes. Fun fact about Menotti’s: the head barista Christopher “Nicely” Abel Alameda is a three-time Latte Art World Championship winner. –> More information.

Jameson Brown Coffee Roasters (Pasadena)

Jameson Brown has served small-batch coffee roasted in-house since 2006. The beans come from South America to Ethiopia. Classic coffee beverages can be found at the shop, but don’t overlook the specialty drinks. Several creations are seasonal, like the Pumpkin Latte (made with real pumpkin) and Orange Blossom Latte. Popular specialty drinks that are offered year-round include The Lavender Vanilla Breve and Cardamom Rose Latte. –> More information.

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Pouring all day!

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Commodity (Long Beach)

Coffee, beer, wine, and food. This place has it all. On the caffeinated side, Commodity offers several espresso drinks and barrel-aged coffee. –> More information

Demitasse (Little Tokyo, Mid-Wilshire & Santa Monica)

Run by self-proclaimed “coffee geeks,” Demitasse offers small-batch roasted beans from a variety of regions. Owner Bobby Roshan encourages all baristas to experiment and some have developed signature drinks in the past, including a strawberry ginger latte and the Black Mamba latte made with Okinawan black sugar and ginger. –> More information.

Patria Coffee (Compton)

This small-batch coffee roaster sources beans from “Cooperativas,” which empower communities of small coffee growers to form their own enterprises. Beans are roasted on-site at the shop and the menu offers a number of interesting drinks including Café de olla, a Mexican-spiced coffee made with cinnamon and Piloncillo. Mexican chocolate fans should definitely order the Ibarra Mocha. –> More information.

Alfred’s (Multiple Locations)

Perhaps the most Instagrammed coffee in all of Los Angeles, Alfred’s take its drinks as seriously as its aesthetic. Iced vanilla lattes are so popular here that Alfred’s now sells the house-made syrup (made with real vanilla beans) in bottles. Alfred’s also carries its own shade-grown, single-origin matcha blend. –> More information.

Endorffeine (Chinatown)

Literally operated by a scientist, Endorffeine is one of Food & Wine’s 2019 Best Coffee Shops in America. The tiny shop serves unique caffeinated sips like Vanilla Pandan Latte and coconut matcha. They also use some of the most sought after beans from around the world, including Drop (Stockholm), Sey (Brooklyn), and Cognoscenti Coffee (Los Angeles.) Drinks are grab-and-go for the moment with free delivery on select days. Double filtered, 36-hour steeped cold-brew growlers are also available.  –> More information.

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Espresso Tonic. Enough said.

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Verve Coffee Roasters (Multiple Locations)

Founded in 2007 in Santa Cruz, Verve believes in sourcing high-quality coffee that’s cultivated through sustainable growing practices. They work with farmers around the globe and pay them a premium. Coffee aficionados can find single-origin and heirloom coffee varieties to sip on in the shops and seasonal whole beans to take home. –> More information.

Intelligentsia Coffee (Multiple Locations)

Open since 2007, Intelligentsia checks all the boxes for serious coffee drinkers. Baristas whip up drinks with precision and beans are all single-origin, direct trade, and organic. –> More information.

G&B & Go Get Em Tiger (Multiple Locations)

G&B is an award-wining, bar-style coffee stand located inside Grand Central Market. Recognized for having some serious coffee skills, the success of the stand allowed them to expand across Los Angeles under the name Go Get Em Tiger. With nine locations in the city, the shop brews its own beans and make an excellent almond macadamia milk in-house. Order the famous Business and Pleasure, a flight with espresso, almond macadamia milk, and fermented cold tea. –> More information.

Silverback Coffee (Echo Park & DTLA)

Rwanda native Jack Karuletwa sources his beans from family farms and woman-owned co-ops in Rwanda. On the menu are several flavored nitro coffees, classic espresso drinks, and lots of teas. A portion of the sales is donated to Rwandan organizations so you can feel extra good as you sip your coffee. FYI, the Downtown location is currently closed. –> More information.

Sightglass (Hollywood)

The first location outside of San Francisco, Sightglass in Hollywood offers an extensive single-origin coffee menu alongside espresso drinks and a food menu with Roman-style pizzas, bagels, and more. –> More information.

Caffe Luxxe (Multiple Locations)

Owners Mark Wain and Gary Chau travel the world in search of the best beans. Inspired by an artisan approach to coffee, beans are all hand-roasted in small batches by their master roaster. Here you’ll find carefully prepared lattes, cappuccinos, and other caffeinated beverages. –> More information.

Tierra Mia (Multiple Locations)

A South L.A. original, Tierra Mia’s menu reflects the Latin roots of founder Ulysses Romero. A dulce de leche latte, Cafecito Cubano, Mocha Mexicano, or Horchata Latte are all fantastic choices. Grab some guava cheese pastries and tres leches muffins, baked in-house. Several locations also have a drive-thru for quick pickup. –> More information.

Dayglow (Silver Lake & West Hollywood)

Sitting at the #2 spot of Food & Wine’s 2019 “Best Coffee Shops in America,” Dayglow is not only every Instagrammer’s dream but also a place to find a tightly curated list of coffees from acclaimed global roasters. Beans from Hong Kong’s Cupping Room, Montreal’s Kittel, Oslo’s Solberg & Hansen, and more have appeared on the menu. Featured roasters are always changing, so drop in often to explore what the rest of the world is sipping. Give the signature drink, The Warhol, a try. It’s made with espresso seasoned with vanilla, cinnamon, lime, and nutmeg. –> More information.

VanillaBlack (Echo Park)

Vanessa Butler’s small coffee shop offers a variety of drinks like bestseller the Layla Latte, an espresso infused with lavender and vanilla, and the double shot espresso drink Vanilla Bomb. –> More information.

House Roots Coffee (Granada Hills)

This valley coffee shop offers drip, pour-over and nitro brewed coffees, plus specialty espresso drinks like Lavender and Autumn Spiced Lattes –> More information.

Little Amsterdam (Mid-City)

Owner Joshua Mock turned his coffee shop into a local hangout space for people to enjoy some art and music. On the menu are lattes, teas, LAmonades, and health-boosting beverages like mushroom coffee. –> More information.

Dinosaur Coffee (Silver Lake)

An airy neighborhood spot, Dinosaur serves coffee from roasters like Dagwood Coffee Co. (Minneapolis), Terrain Coffee Project (Portland), and Fourbarrel (San Francisco). They also offer tasty seasonal shrubs and teas. –> More information.

The Palm Coffee Bar (Burbank)

Home of the Glitter Latte, this super Instagram-able coffee shop is owned and operated by Ben and Joanna Heart Milliken. The shop offers traditional coffee beverages and deliciously over-the-top drinks. If you are looking for a sugar fuel, order an Iced Cinnamon Toast Crunch made with espresso, oat milk, caramel syrup, and topped with cereal. For an extra fee, people can top any drink with Lucky Charms, glitter, flowers, and rainbow sprinkles too. –> More information

LAMILL Coffee (Silver Lake)

One of the originators of artisanal lattes in the city, LAMILL also roasts a wide variety of coffees. The shop offers pour-over coffee, Japanese iced coffee, a Valrhona Mocha, and more. There’s also a full food menu of small plates and entrees like the LAMILL breakfast plate and smash burger, plus several sweets. –> More information.

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Cool Spots, Food

A Massive Food Hall Opens in the San Gabriel Valley Saturday

September 25, 2020 by Christina Champlin
Glendora Public Market. Photo by Susan Pickering.

The long-awaited Glendora Public Market will soft open this Saturday, September 26. Housed in the 19,000-square-foot former Wonder Bread bakery, the market is set to become the largest food hall in all of San Gabriel Valley.

Several familiar L.A. favorites will call the food hall home, including Smog City Brewing, Boba Break Tea House, Penny Coffee Roaster, Bushi by Jinya Ramen Bar, Belly Bombz, The Taco Man, Portside Fish Co., Bolo, Cassidy’s Corner Cafe, Dog Haus, and Crepes & Shakes. And as for the setting, the build-out maintains parts of the historic building while weaving in a modern floor plan.

The wide-open interior features wall-to-wall exposed brick and 20-foot barrel vault ceilings. There’s also a dedicated full-time space for rotating pop-ups. Outside, guests can gather in the central courtyard and patio space for al fresco dining.

Jason Hsiao, Managing Director with Shaw Investments, the developer of the project, said via a statement that the goal for the market had always been two-fold: “to provide a dynamic gathering anchor for the community and empower small businesses to launch or scale.”

“Markets have always been a personal fascination: the allure of discovery, letting your senses wander down the rabbit hole. When we saw the opportunity to restore and revive this landmark, we knew this was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to bring a unique and vibrant experience to the community,” he said.

This weekend will include yoga on the patio on Saturday, DJs on Saturday and Sunday, and promotions from vendors like a BOGO special from Boba Break Tea House and free swag with purchase from Smog City Brewing.

For the time being, the market will operate with caution following the guidelines set by the state for restaurants amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Communal spaces at the market will have limited capacity, and vendors will also offer curbside pickup and/or delivery to accommodate customer preferences. Until the space is fully operational, the market will host virtual community events, such as cooking classes and demos, via the market’s Instagram page.

Glendora Public Market is located at 905 E. Arrow Hwy, Glendora. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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