Quick: look over both shoulders. Are the kids out of the room? Great. Then listen up: you don’t have to let the kids take Halloween away from you anymore. Sure, let the little whipper snappers put on plastic masks and go begging across the neighborhood for penny taffy. You can even wear a smile while you help them do it—that’ll be your own disguise.
Because once the kids are asleep, your Halloween can really begin, with these awesome (and weird) candy-infused spirits. The basic idea: take popular Halloween candy, dump ’em in a jar full of hooch, wait until it tastes great. Whereas many store-bought flavored liquors tend to taste flat or chemical-y from an overabundance of sweeteners, you can make any of these homemade booze infusions to suit your palate perfectly.
Far from the ancient Mayan ruins that bear its name sits Chichén Itzá the restaurant, a Los Angeles stalwart in the booming fast casual Mexican food world. There are no temples, no hidden secrets; there isn’t even a full-fledged restaurant. Chichén Itzá exists in the Mercado La Paloma near USC, where walk-up counters and open, shared seating are the way of life. But much like the original Chichen Itza, there are always tourists. And this Chichen Itza is pretty amazing, as well.
Most of the camera-snappers that come to Chichen Itza (the restaurant) have heard of one thing: The cochinita pibil. The slowly roasted pork dish is a calling card for the state of Yucatan, and nowhere is the pig handled with such tender love and care as at Chichen Itza.
Trying to chronicle every amazing grilled cheese in Los Angeles would be a lesson in heart failure and palate fatigue. Instead, here are six great versions, from high-end cheese markets in the San Fernando Valley to streetside food truck fare, with an award-winning rendition from chef Eric Greenspan thrown in for good measure.
How do you turn the Mexican cooking tradition on its head in Los Angeles? Mole fries are a good place to start. Add in a blossoming craft beer selection and mezcal by the flight, and you’ve got all the makings of Mexican Restaurant 2.0. Or, as it’s more commonly known, Bizarra Capital in Whittier.
The restaurant is helmed by Chef Ricardo Diaz, who previously worked to open such luminous LA Mexican spots as Cook’s Tortas and Guisados. A lot of the same love for the Mexican cooking tradition is evident at Bizarra Capital, but it’s all done with a discerning twist.
But you really should start with those mole fries.
Roy Choi is more than just a native Angeleno; his culinary sensibilities are a part of our culture. Choi’s Mexican-Korean fusion food not only speaks to a wide slice of Los Angeles eaters, but the man’s Kogi BBQ empire arguably began a mini-revolution that changed the way urban areas thought about restaurants, food, and their own traffic laws.
Years into his empire building, Choi now controls much more than just a few loncheros that sling short rib tacos. His multi-faceted ventures include a Chinatown rice bowl spot we love, a reclaimed IHOP that serves quick and dirty dinner plates, and a South Central juice and smoothie house that’s co-run by a giant food corporation. Indeed, Roy Choi is doing it all, while the rest of us just ride along through his twitter account @RidingShotgunLA.
So where do all of Choi’s varied interest rank? If you were only going to try one of Roy’s places during a long layover in Los Angeles, which should it be? Here, we take a look at each of his establishments, and offer a recommendation on which of his successes are his most important contribution to date.
September 16, 2013
Now open in Hollywood, Roadside Eats is the third collaboration between Rush Street and City Tavern owners Ken Kaufman and Brian McKeaney. The pair is also continuing their work with chef Dave Northrup, who has previously been in charge of the day-to-day kitchen operations for the team’s other restaurants.
With Roadside Eats, the trio brings a Southern-inspired barbecue menu to Hollywood. Their new fast-casual space is decorated with white tile walls, a hanging menu board above the open kitchen, and small cold case for sides and a small patio out front.
“We’d been talking about this for a while,” said chef Northrup of the decision to open up a new concept in Hollywood. “We wanted to break out from Culver City, and this seemed like a great opportunity to do just that.”
For years, Chef Sergio Penuelas has been a top name for Mexican-style seafood in Los Angeles. Always operating from one of several Mariscos Chentes dotted across LA, Penuelas developed a loyal (if a bit rabid) fan base that would seek out the master’s mariscos dishes. It wasn’t until a few years ago that Penuelas finally put down roots in Inglewood, working with Mariscos Chente family member Connie Cossio to create Coni’Seafood.
This is very welcome news for us all, and weekend runs out to Coni’Seafood have become somewhat of a rite of passage for anyone serious about mariscos culture in Los Angeles. Yes, there are fantastic fish taco spots in Chinatown that represent the Baja Peninsula well, and Jalisco-style fried shrimp tacos dorados that are worth their own drive to East LA, but for ceviches, aguachiles, and some of the finest head-on shrimp you’ll find outside of the American South, Coni’Seafood stands alone.
Mexican food in Los Angeles knows no boundaries. Of course, neighborhoods east of the LA River deservedly get the most attention, but there are quality tacos, burritos, gorditas and fajitas to be had all over this gigantic city. The San Fernando Valley neighborhood of North Hollywood is no exception.
Thanks to a large working-class population that surrounds the hip NoHo arts district strip, cheap and delicious Mexican food can be had all over the neighborhood. And while there may not be as many taco trucks crawling the streets at night, North Hollywood’s ample space gives lots of room for small taquerias to thrive, supplying late night crowds and daily diners alike with all manner of great meals. Here are five of our favorites.