Capitol Burgers may well be the exception that proves the rule. High quality Southern California-style burger stands like this one aren’t supposed to stay so hidden for so long, let alone right in the heart of the city. Yet this year marks the 50th anniversary of the Mid-City icon, and there’s a better than average chance that you’ve still never eaten there.
Wine-loving folk in Baja, Mexico, speak with pride about the Valle de Guadalupe, a surprisingly lush, wide cut of land just off the coast from Ensenada. One of the more popular tales comes from the age of the Spanish occupation of Mexico itself, when it’s believed that conquering Spaniards took such a shine to the intense grapes being grown in the Valle that they stopped importing bottles from Europe nearly altogether. To save face and keep a sense of national pride about their own wines, the Spanish government had the vineyards destroyed, throwing the Valle out of the wine game altogether for a few hundred years.
Today the grapes are back. Many vines are still young, and growers in the Valle continue to experiment with varieties as they work to develop a local signature, but there’s no denying the sense of exploration and innovation happening a mere 90 minutes south of San Diego. Along with the dozens and dozens of above-board wineries, garagiste-style winemakers proliferate the Valle, turning a small crop of grapes into individual hand-labeled bottles that have intrigued many a wine-lover. And the region has become something of a travel destination in its own right; not just for wine, but food as well.
For Eater’s Classics Week 2015, I put together a really nice #mediumread about Mitla Cafe, San Bernardino’s longstanding Mexican restaurant that helped form the basis of what would become Taco Bell.
There’s more to the history, though, as the piece shows: segregation, changing demographics, disenfranchisement and a sense of commitment to community.
Go take a look.
L.A.’s taco culture is an ever-evolving affair. Popular spots fall off just as new places come on strong, meaning there’s never a shortage of exciting places to discover and explore.
Just this year, a handful of taco operations have begun making a name for themselves, whether slinging old school carnitas or next-level fusion plates, while still others made waves simply by moving on. There’s exciting taco news on the horizon, too, along with the emergence of a detailed taco digest, meant to demystify the many regional influences of this city’s great carts and trucks. Here then are the most notable taco stories from the year that was.
You likely recognize Jaime Martin del Campo and Ramiro Arvizu, the upbeat cooking team behind longstanding Bell restaurant La Casita Mexicana. Their image is fairly iconic, particularly in the Mexican-American community, where the two have been watched weekly on various cooking programs and cooking competition shows across both Telemundo and Univision. But it’s not uncommon to find the affable Martin del Campo and Arvizu still hard at work at La Casita Mexicana, which has been going strong in Southeast L.A. for more than fifteen years.
It’s hard enough for any restaurant to make it to the twenty year mark, let alone one with as little signage and hidden-in-plain-sight feel as Santa Monica’s The Buffalo Club. Yet it’s exactly that quiet confidence and under the radar approach that has made the longtime Olympic Blvd. restaurant a standout with Hollywood types looking to escape for a quiet meal, media moguls eager to feel in the know, and an entire generation of locals who just want to drink in peace.
Almost imperceptibly, downtown’s always demure Q has managed to turn one year old this month. The slim, wood-lined eatery garnered a nod from Bon Appetit as one of America’s 50 best new restaurants, and is considered the standard bearer for quality Edo-style sushi, but chef Hiroyuki Naruke remains as soft-spoken as ever.
Sitting in his quiet, well-lit Financial District restaurant before another night of coursing out $165 omakase meals to waiting diners, Hiro-san talked with Eater about his newfound appreciation for Los Angeles, and why serving only what he wants is so important.
L.A. is a taco-mad town. We revere the stuff, whether at late night trucks or all-day stands, from the Silver Lake to Downey, East L.A. to the ocean. But not all tacos are created equal, and after years of chowing down on the city’s finest, we’ve come up with a list of the twelve best tacos you’ll find in Los Angeles. You can opt for Baja-style fried fish tacos, slow-cooked carnitas, grilled carne asada or smoked marlin, but you won’t do better than the tacos on this list.