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The Best Dishes Eater Editors Ate This Week

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Posted on: February 11, 2021
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The Best Dishes Eater Editors Ate This Week

Deluxe half-and-half from Little Jewel of New Orleans in Chinatown Farley Elliott The editors of Eater LA aren’t dining out as much as before stay-at-home orders were put in place, but that doesn’t mean the team isn’t eating well. From pantry hacks to stress baking to delivery and takeout, here now is the very best of everything the team has eaten recently. February 9, 2021 Bungkus from Bungkus Bagus pop-up Bungkus from Bungkus Bagus pop-up Mona Holmes As a fitting end to our Heat Week stories, I tried Bungkus Bagus , the Indonesian pop-up by sisters Celene and Tara Carraras. They’ve been operating out of their Glendale childhood home driveway since last year, prepping gorgeous boxes filled with treats from Bali. The central dish is a bungkus, or coconut rice beautifully wrapped in banana leaves with flavorful stewed chicken, and a deep-fried sambal goreng that’ll add ample heat to your world. This compact package of flavor requires milky tea or milk to fan the flames. The Carraras sisters hand out these care packages of flavor with friendly faces, yet another reason to order from this unique find for Los Angeles. Head to their Instagram profile to see the menu changes and place an order. —Mona Holmes Banh chung from Banh Chung Collective Banh chung from Banh Chung Collective Cathy Chaplin For the ninth year running, the Banh Chung Collective gathered before Tet to make banh chung. It was a virtual affair given the pandemic, but the spirit of the event was as wonderful as ever. Participants picked up supplies and ingredients beforehand at Proof and Yang’s Kitchen and then together over Zoom chef Diep Tran demonstrated how to make the banh chung. First we lined molds with fresh banana leaves to form three-inch square boxes, then we layered in sticky rice, mung beans, and marinated pork before closing up the parcels. Following an hour-long high-pressure cook in the Instant Pot, the banh chung emerged perfectly cooked and ready to eat. It tasted like home, friendship, and community. —Cathy Chaplin Deluxe half-and-half from Little Jewel of New Orleans in Chinatown Deluxe half-and-half from Little Jewel of New Orleans in Chinatown Farley Elliott Despite its ties to New Orleans, the po’ boy really does feel like an anywhere, any time kind of sandwich. Versatile enough to handle fried seafood, deli meats, or sautéed Italian sausage as needed, and wrapped in light, just-baked-enough bread, this is the sandwich of the masses. Thankfully, Little Jewel of New Orleans makes a delightful rendition over in Chinatown, particularly for those willing to upset themselves slightly with the half shrimp, half oyster version. Lightly battered seafood meets heavily-dressed lettuce, tomato, and plenty of mayonnaise. It’s a meal and a half for most, but in these trying times, wolfing down food over the hood of your car, who’s to say no to downing the whole thing? 207 Ord St., Chinatown. —Farley Elliott Hot chicken from Hot Chix in Glendale A post shared by HotChixLA™️ (@hotchix.la) While game day wings are never a bad idea, this year it was all about hot chicken tenders instead. As a wrap up to Eater LA’s Heat Week , I decided to spring for Hot Chix , the drive-thru pop-up chicken spot out of Glendale. While not formally a part of the Nashville-style craze, this place certainly hits on the current trend with slider-style tender sandwiches, spiced fries, and lots of sauce for drizzling over increasingly spicy chicken. Be sure to score a side of tater tots, bacon, cheese, and a fried egg on the side for maximum messiness (and deliciousness). 409 W. Colorado Street, Glendale. —Farley Elliott January 25, 2021 Cemitas from Cemitas Poblanas in Florence-Firestone Cemitas from Cemitas Poblanas in Florence-Firestone Farley Elliott Who needs fast food when places like Cemitas Poblanas in the Florence-Firestone area exist? As the name indicates, the restaurant specializes in hearty traditional Mexican sandwiches, warmed on the griddle and stuffed with pork milanesa, avocado, stringy Oaxacan cheese, and beyond, all from a walk-up window, parking lot included. The service here is just as fast, far more friendly, and leagues more delicious than any corporate drive-thru spot nearby, and LA has no shortage of family-owned spots like Cemitas Poblanas to support during this difficult year. Again: Who needs McDonald’s in a city this big, friendly, and delicious? 1114 Firestone Blvd., Florence-Firestone. —Farley Elliott Fried squid with spicy salt from Delicious Food Corner in Rosemead Fried squid with spicy salt from Delicious Food Corner in Rosemead Cathy Chaplin Takeout pros know that fried food doesn’t travel well. While driving from point A to point B, crisp-golden batters usually turn into wilted sponges seeped in condensation. It’s a sad fate that I’ve mostly avoided until this past weekend when a craving for Delicious Food Corner hit. I ordered all of my Hong Kong-style favorites including the pork and preserved egg congee, soy sauce noodles, minced pork over rice, butter-stuffed pineapple buns, and even though I knew better, the fried squid with spicy salt. As anticipated, the squid’s crunchy batter was compromised during transport, but it still hit the spot — reminding me that it’s more than okay to adjust my standards in trying times like these. 8632 Valley Blvd. #E & F, Rosemead. —Cathy Chaplin Family platter from Grillers in Glendale Family platter from Grillers in Glendale [Official Photo] Glendale has long been LA’s home for kababs, koobideh, and Iranian-style shirazi salad — but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for new faces every once in a while. Among the recent arrivals is Grillers, a spare new shop at 425 North Brand Boulevard that was born in the takeout and delivery pandemic era only. And while the current dining limitations have certainly changed the nature of this fast-casual business, ownership has stuck to making quality food for anybody who comes a’calling, including families looking for large-format platters. One such pack, priced at $50, comes with three chicken and three beef koobideh skewers, plus full trays of rice, salad, grilled vegetables, plus pita and sides. It’s a great deal even in Glendale, where pricing competition can often be fierce, and made all the more incredible given the uncertain moment for so many restaurants. 425 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. —Farley Elliott Chilaquiles and quesatacos at Tamales Elena y Antojitos A post shared by TAMALES ELENA Y ANTOJITOS (@tamaleselenayantojitos) When driving in the pouring rain to grab takeout, the food needs to be great. And it’s pretty much a guarantee that the food at Tamales Elena y Antojitos will fill that requirement. Chef Maria Elena Lorenzo’s Bell Gardens restaurant is less than a 12 minute drive from Downtown, and her family-operated Guerrero-inspired restaurant is still busy, even as the patio remains closed at the moment. I knew my order would include chilaquiles because this comforting breakfast dish with slices of tortilla and slightly spicy sauce layered over black beans and topped with eggs would please. But the quesatacos, with a deep fried shell and juicy barbacoa, shouldn’t be missed either. Delivery is available, but eat both before pulling away from the parking lot, because these are best consumed piping hot. Plus, the staff is so friendly, you’ll want to return regularly. Besides, warm smiles and an abundance of delicious foods are the best reasons to support Tamales Elena. 8101 Garfield Avenue, Bell Gardens. —Mona Holmes January 19, 2021 Jerk chicken platter from Jamaican Country Style in Inglewood Jerk chicken platter from Country Style Jamaican Country Style in Inglewood Mona Homes Country Style Jamaican’s parking lot is often packed with customers sitting patiently in their cars waiting to pick-up an order or eating takeout from this two-year-old Inglewood restaurant. For anyone craving traditional Jamaican, this is the spot for oxtails, beef patties, goat curry, or escovich snapper laced with the incendiary scotch bonnet pepper. An older customer told me to order the jerk chicken platter, a huge portion of peas and rice, wonderfully caramelized plantains, cabbage, and chicken. Extremely tender jerk chicken is always a bonus, but the layers of spice are wonderful, and for my own adventurous heat palate, not too spicy. But if this is too much for your tastebuds, order a cold Ting soda to help offset the heat. 630 North La Brea Ave., Inglewood. —Mona Holmes Tacos from Red Dog Saloon in Pioneertown Tacos from Red Dog in Pioneertown Joseph Weaver Folks with cowboy fantasies and ultra-distanced dining would do well to consider a stop at the Red Dog Saloon in Pioneertown when they feel comfortable enough to do so. There, eaters can snack on $4 tacos made on flour tortillas and wrapped in tin foil, perfect for packing away and eating on a solitary hike overlooking the Western town outside Joshua Tree. It’s a simple, satisfying meal that could even include queso, guacamole, and canned cocktails — but how well those things pair with a sandy hike up the side of a hill is up for debate. 53539 Mane St., Pioneertown. —Farley Elliott Dukbokki at Yup Dduk in Koreatown Dukbokki at Yup Dduk in Koreatown. Cathy Chaplin This weekend’s warmer temps called for something equally hot to eat. The cylindrical rice cakes (dukbokki) at Yup Dduk in Koreatown fit the bill for the occasion. The hefty plastic vat of dukbokki arrived smothered in a fiery gochujang sauce along with fish cakes, kimchi, smoked sausages, hard boiled eggs, ramen noodles, and best of all, gooey mozzarella cheese. The “mild” sauce was spicier than anticipated, setting my mouth ablaze with every bite. Still, the dish’s flavors were so wonderfully balanced that I couldn’t resist going in for more. Seaweed rice balls and pickled radish helped quell some of the burning, but only time could truly heal this kind of scorching pain. 3603 West 6th Street, Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin Stuffed arepas from VZLA pop-up A post shared by VZLA (@vz_la_) A new South Bay pop-up focusing on Venezuelan food is here. Called VZ LA , the online-only weekly restaurant focuses on arepas in a variety of flavors, from braised pork belly to a vegan option with garbanzos and fried plantains. Meals come pre-packed, with reheating and serving instructions for home consumption, with contactless delivery basically anywhere in Los Angeles. It’s a delightful change-up from the usual pizza and burger conversations, especially for anyone eager for some Westside Venezuelan food. Weekly drops run on Thursdays. —Farley Elliott January 11, 2021 Double cheeseburger at Heavy Handed in Venice Double cheeseburger at Heavy Handed Farley Elliott Don’t let the name fool: Heavy Handed isn’t just another ultra-smashed burger spot. This Westside pop-up spot — known for its short rib patties and beef tallow fries — offers slightly thicker, extra-rich burgers that may technically belong in the smashed conversation, but are really much, much more. The duo of Danny Gordon (of Flatpoint Barbecue, also on the Westside) and friend Max Miller recently moved to a new location at the Brig in Venice, and the word is already out with fans who follow for that slightly seared, extra cheesy goodness. It’s nice to see the Brig parking lot teeming with distanced and eager diners, just like in the early Kogi days, too. As always with Los Angeles, it is street food perseverance that keeps the people happy. 1515 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. —Farley Elliott Goat sukka at Chakra Indian Kitchen in Pasadena Goat sukka from Chakra Indian Kitchen in Pasadena [Official Photo] Chakra Indian Kitchen opened for business over the holidays in the former Chutney space in Old Pas. While I adored the fast-casual naan “tacos” at Chutney, I was even more stoked for Chakra’s southern Indian fare. For the first of what I’m sure will be many future takeout orders, I selected a modest spread that included a goat biriyani, spinach masala, chicken chettinad, naan, and best of all, the goat sukka. The “dry” curry, with its bone-in bites slathered in a thick, spice-forward paste, jolted all our senses in the best way. Its chopped red onions and cilantro brought freshness to a deeply flavorful preparation. I’m already planning to try some of the Chinese-Indian dishes on the menu in the near future and once dining rooms are allowed to reopen — there will be dosas. 5 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena. —Cathy Chaplin Moroccan fried chicken from Mizlala Sherman Oaks Moroccan fried chicken from Mizlala Sherman Oaks Mona Holmes Mizlala is one of those places where you end up going to find something specific, and end up trying something else equally splendid. While the Mizlala West Adams menu is small but mighty, the Sherman Oaks experience is expansive and includes fried chicken, Moroccan-style. Mizlala’s chicken was such a refreshing break from hot chicken madness, with boneless strips of bird graced with spiced duck fat. They have a crackling crust that harbors a touch of heat that’s perfectly suited for dipping into the apricot mustard or harissa aioli. They’re plenty, if not too much, for one, so my previously planned meal — hummus, crispy broccoli, and Israeli cheesecake — became wonderful leftovers. 4515 Sepulveda Blvd., Sherman Oaks. —Mona Holmes Goat curry plate from One876 Caribbean Restaurant in Chatsworth A post shared by One876 (@one876caribbeanrestaurant) Jamaican restaurants in the Valley are few and (not figuratively) far between, which is why stumbling upon one this weekend felt fortuitous. One876 Caribbean Restaurant, despite its broad name, has a finely curated lineup of staple Jamaican dishes. We chose a large curry goat plate (replete with rice and peas, steamed cabbage and vegetables, plantains, and festival — a sweet fried dumpling), vinegary jerked chicken, and spicy beef patties, which were so fat and flaky that we ordered three more to go before leaving. 20869 Lassen Street, Chatsworth. —Nicole Adlman January 4, 2021 Gumbo from Henry Parsons Project in Pasadena Gumbo from Henry Parsons Project in Pasadena [Official Photo] The story sounds like many others: A former catering outfit, on pause due to the pandemic, turns inward to create comforting, personal dishes as part of an ongoing pop-up. At Henry Parsons Project in Pasadena, the story is simple but the food is out of this world. A New Years Eve menu included gumbo, biscuits, shrimp and grits, and homespun ice cream, making for a delicious at-home celebration for two — and awesome champagne hangover brunch the next day. While the menu at this ongoing, order-online pop-up changes regularly, one thing remains the same: This is fantastic eating, perfect for chilly nights in the San Gabriel Valley. —Farley Elliott Shaved kale salad from the Win~Dow in Venice Shaved kale salad from the Win~Dow in Venice Cathy Chaplin Everyone already knows about the super-fab and super-affordable cheeseburgers at the Window, so I’m here to give some shine to the oft-overlooked shaved kale salad. The $6.75 bowl-o-greens comes brimming with well-massaged kale dressed in a lemon vinaigrette along with pine nuts, croutons, golden raisins, and a dusting of pecorino. Like all good salads, the whole of this one is far greater than the sum of its parts. The foundational greens are pleasant enough while the croutons bring heft and crunch, and the golden raisins impart a bit of sweetness. For those looking for more balance in 2021, skip the fries and pair your burger with these greens — it’s an ideal match. 1827 Ocean Front Walk, Venice. —Cathy Chaplin Cinnamon Rolls from Rye Goods in Orange County Cinnamon Rolls from Rye Goods in Orange County [Official Photo] There are few things as appealing as a warm tray of cinnamon rolls on a cold winter morning, even in sunny Los Angeles. Instead of putting in the work to roll the dough myself last week, I snagged a box from Rye Goods in Costa Mesa. The company has been operating at the fringes of the underground for some time, but is moving mainstream with a new shop opening at Lido Marina Village in Newport Beach in the coming months — meaning lots more cookies, sourdough, and (yes) cinnamon rolls for all in 2021. —Farley Elliott Omakase from Soosh pop-up in West Hollywood A post shared by Soosh! (@sooshme) It’s been challenging to cope without sushi bars this year. My ritual always involves sitting near the preparation area to watch magic unfurl from highly skilled hands. I miss every bit of it right now, but there is an incredible pop-up at the GBK Brand Bar boutique inside West Hollywood’s La Peer Hotel. The Soosh pop-up has former Nobu Malibu chef Brian Ogawa crafting gorgeous sushi and sashimi to-go, along with a “home-a-kase” option where staff show up to your home and craft a full dinner for $150 per person. I opted for the stunning omakase box with big eye tuna, yellowtail, sea bream, wild crab, fluke, and flying fish roe topped with edible flowers and 24-carat gold flakes. Everything stood out, particularly the gorgeous balsamic truffle soy on the salmon. Pick-ups are Thursday through Sunday from noon until 4 p.m. DM Soosh via Instagram to order. 633 North La Peer Drive, West Hollywood. —Mona Holmes December 14, 2020 Sushi from Sushiya in Pasadena Sushi from Sushiya in Pasadena Cathy Chaplin Fancy omakase feasts have been replaced with simple sushi takeout throughout the pandemic — at least at my house. While the fare is admittedly generic — and maybe just a few notches above the rolls produced and sold inside Vons — the sheer convenience of the experience makes it all the better. The spot to scratch one’s sushi-craving itch in and around the Pasadena area is at Sushiya. From spicy tuna to salmon avocado, the sushi rolls here are neatly composed, perfectly straightforward, and the quality is good enough. Sometimes when it feels like the world is falling apart, it’s nice to reach for something that’ll simply satisfy without too much fuss. 2525 East Foothill Blvd., Pasadena. —Cathy Chaplin Street cart fries from Spitz in Eagle Rock Street cart fries from Spitz Mona Holmes When dining out with a vegetarian, everything changes. While navigating a menu, shared options aren’t always feasible. I’ve become fairly skilled at figuring out my household’s dining out process, which always involves shared plates, and at the very least making sure he’s got something beyond the standard assortment of side dishes. Over the weekend, my original craving for carne asada fries took a backseat while we shared the street cart fries from Spitz. They’re a messy, glorious pile of medium-well done fries drizzled with garlic aioli, feta, tomato, olive, bits of green pepper, and topped with pepperoncini. And please don’t overlook the extensive beer and wine selection. 2506 Colorado Blvd., Eagle Rock. —Mona Holmes Rainbow trout at Hatchet Hall in Culver City A post shared by Hatchet Hall (@hatchethall) Hatchet Hall in Culver City is known for its meats, but don’t sleep on its seafood: Over the weekend, we ordered the restaurant’s “semi” set menu dinner for two, which allowed our choice of two starters, two side dishes, and two main courses, plus the option to add on cocktails and additional dishes (we, of course, did both). On our table for the night: a rustic Caesar, chopped steak tartare dotted with capers and topped with crispy fried oysters, fried potatoes served with a dill ranch, gravy-smothered green beans, mountain-style rainbow trout, and a mushroom-crusted pork chop (not to mention our add-ons: bacon and brown butter-drenched scallops and the restaurant’s cheesy spoonbread, which came blanketed in mushrooms and gravy). The standout here, for me, was the rainbow trout, its char offset by silken, buttery flesh, herbs, and pine nuts. The entire dinner paired well with the bar’s single barrel Old Fashioned, which they now also offer by the bottle (sealed with a cork and vampiric wax). 12517 W. Washington Blvd., Los Angeles. —Nicole Adlman Holiday fare at Joan’s on Third in Los Angeles A post shared by Joan’s on Third (@joansonthird) Got a hankering for Hanukkah holiday goodness? There’s a Joan’s on Third for that. The longtime LA restaurant is working a seasonal menu of celebration-appropriate dishes that work for people of all faiths, from crispy latkes to matzo ball soup, braised brisket, and chocolate-dipped macaroons. It’s a delight made easier with preorder capabilities on the restaurant’s website, and a seamless pickup situation where masked workers drop the goods right in your trunk from the alley in the back. It all adds up to a wonderful, easy, delicious time to celebrate — or just to eat latkes because they’re delicious. 8350 West 3rd St., Los Angeles. —Farley Elliott December 7, 2020 Pit-smoked pastrami Swiss stack from Ugly Drum in Mid-Wilshire Pit-smoked pastrami Swiss stack from Ugly Drum in Mid-Wilshire Cathy Chaplin I haven’t been as diligent about scheduling breathers and vacations since working from home full-time through the pandemic. But when my days started to feel like a real slog, I took a few days off to do as I wished. High on my list of things to enjoy was the “ Farewell, Holiday Work Parties ” installation at LACMA, followed by a hand-sliced pastrami sandwich from Ugly Drum. Piled high in between Bub & Grandma’s bread were thick cuts of pastrami, two slices of Swiss cheese, a saucy caraway slaw, and best of all, an awesomely spicy Russian dressing. Every component was well thought out and and even better executed, but that dressing though, it haunts me with it’s irresistibly tangy heat. 609 N. La Brea Ave., Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin Ceviche from El Pelicano Loco in Long Beach Ceviche from El Pelicano Loco Mona Holmes One day before LA went into its second lockdown, I drove to Long Beach to visit El Pelicano Loco. Owner Guillermo Guitron launched his weekend ceviche in July, and operates out of his home. Guitron’s ceviche sampler is what you need. The scallop, snapper, real crab, and scallops are all lumped together in a generous serving, along with a shrimp aguachile-style hybrid with Thai and serrano chiles throughout. These mariscos are refreshing and flavorful, plus Guitron makes his own tangy hot sauce with Carolina reaper, ghost pepper, and Trinidad scorpion chocolate chile. The sauce doesn’t overwhelm the seafood, but in case it does, down it with cold beer or head around the corner to Fine Feathers Kombucha Co . to order the ginger flavor, which can help calm the heat. Place an order via Instagram DM , and schedule a pick-up. —Mona Holmes Fried chicken from Go Go Bird in Hollywood A post shared by Go Go Bird (@go_go_bird) It must be pretty remarkable to realize you can do just about anything. That’s got to be the feeling chef Brandon Kida has every day, as he and his team move seamlessly from the gorgeous food of Hinoki and the Bird to takeaway gyozas during early lockdowns to the new Go Go Bird, a fried chicken revelation in the heart of Hollywood. And while fried chicken (like pizza and burgers) has become a comfort staple during times of quarantine, this isn’t the usual bird. Instead, Kida’s stuff is crispy, light, and as umami-rich as it gets, served wonderfully with rethought mac and cheese and mashed potatoes with Japanese curry on top. Even the cheddar biscuit with honey miso butter is killer, making for a wonderful, filling night in — which is what we all need right now. 1550 N. El Centro Ave, Los Angeles. —Farley Elliott December 1, 2020 Crème brûlée​ bombolini at Republique in Mid-Wilshire Crème brûlée​ bombolini at Republique in Mid-Wilshire. Cathy Chaplin Chef Marge Manzke’s pastry case at Republique is the stuff of legends. The hardworking team of bakers arrives well before the sun rises to get an early start on the day’s bounteous spread. Brimming with breads, cakes, pies, pastries, puddings, doughnuts, and more, the impressive selection never fails to attract long lines of sweet-seekers that can stretch out the door and then some. Just before citywide mandates banned outdoor dining, I came in on a weekday morning for a strawberry scone, a slice of Basque cheesecake, a sliver of passion fruit pie, and best of all, a crème brûlée​ bombolini. Lighter than anticipated on the outside, and seriously luscious on the inside, the doughnut’s crackly caramelized sugar topping tied everything together just right. 624 South La Brea Ave., Los Angeles. —Cathy Chaplin DM Burger from Adrift Burger Bar in Venice DM Burger at Adrift Matthew Kang David Myers opened his first LA restaurant in years with a small burger shop along Abbot Kinney that plans to serve until at least the end of the year. The roving international chef has restaurants in Dubai, Tokyo, and Singapore, but decided while home during the pandemic to do a casual, approachable pop-up in his local neighborhood. The DM Burger is an homage of sorts to the original Comme Ca burger (though they won’t confirm that officially), with a melted aged cheddar over a thick patty with sliced onions and shredded lettuce nestled between brioche buns. It’s pretty tasty as-is, though I do miss the thicker dry-aged beef patty of the original. The DM burger still has an intense beefiness buoyed by the crunch of onion and lettuce. And at a more approachable cost of $12 and simpler paper-wrapped presentation, I’m just grateful that Myers brought the burger back to LA. 1025 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. —Matthew Kang Croquetas from the Tumaca Truck A post shared by Tumaca Truck (@tumacatruck) You know who continues to turn out great food during the pandemic? The Tumaca Truck, one of LA’s most underrated mobile food operations. The laid-back spot for Spanish food has been running around the city for years, turning out sandwiches, patatas bravas, and lots of other snackable items, including the seriously crispy and hard-to-put-down fried croquetas. Better still: the two-person team behind the truck posts weekly location updates that range from the Arts District to the Los Feliz Albertsons and beyond, making Tumaca’s food as easy to reach as it is delicious to eat . —Farley Elliott Sign up for the newsletter Eater LA Sign up for our newsletter. Email (required) By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Notice and European users agree to the data transfer policy. Subscribe Sign up for the newsletter Eater LA Sign up for our newsletter. Email (required) By signing up, you agree to our Privacy Notice and European users agree to the data transfer policy. Subscribe Most Read

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