If you’re already intimately familiar with Koreatown, this post on Dwit Gol Mok — that’s DGM to the locals — might make you a little upset. That’s because the hidden gem (accessed by walking through a parking lot, then a courtyard, then heading past a coat rack and up some stairs) is a quiet favorite for many, and spreading the word only increases the odds that, soon, you won’t be able to snag a table. Well, in the interest of letting everyone else join in on the DGM fun, it’s time we talked about all of the soju, the rabukkee and all the graffiti that you already love about the place.
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.
There is a Compton strip mall, not far from Kevin Bludso’s ash-black smokers, where birria de chivo is served. Of course, it’s not hard to find Mexican food in Compton, or Central American food for that matter. And in a long, squat strip mall just off the 710 freeway on Alondra Boulevard, you can find whatever Spanish-speaking delights you might be looking for.
The pupusas and Sinaloan fare could still be considered soul food in a way, but the people and memories attached to those souls are from very far away. Thankfully, those people, their souls and all of the cooking migrated here to Los Angeles. Here’s what’s cooking at the corner of Alondra and Atlantic Avenue.
“Arrowhead’s got the water … Big Bear’s got the beer!” That’s the sentiment behind Big Bear Mountain Brewery, the small yellow house just off Big Bear Boulevard that’s home to the mountain’s only commercial brewing operation. Sure, pulling into the parking lot might make you think you’re stopping over at someone’s private residence for a beer. And sure, you’re just as likely to find yourself sitting inside on a floral love seat as you are a barstool, but that’s just the way Big Bear Mountain Brewery is. Cozy, quiet, unassuming; their beer is much the same.
Still, it’s a fun atmosphere at Big Bear Mountain Brewery, with plenty of beer signs, old glass bottles and signed dollar bills tacked up to the wood paneling. There’s a small piano in one corner, lots of old black and white photographs, and enough Americana to make you red white and blue in the face. In other words, it’s classic Big Bear: woodsy and historical, with a fun sense of exactly its place in the universe. And with a chatty staff that will happily let you nose around all the kitsch, it’s not a bad place to spend a Saturday afternoon, after a few hours in the snow or lakeside summer sun.
It doesn’t take a scientist to tell you why ice cream and fizzy sodas work well together. The slowly melting ice cream becomes laced with thousands of little trapped soda bubbles that each impart a bit of their flavor onto the ice cream before you take a bite. As you continue on, the thicker, richer soda begins to mix completely with the warming ice cream to create a new, third taste: it’s not quite ice cream or soda, it’s a hybrid mix of the best from each. Creamy and bubbly and fully infused with all of the flavors from whatever beverage began in your glass, these thick sips and spoonfuls are what takes the idea of floating ice cream in soda to a whole other level. As a summertime specialty, it’s a near-perfect cooling device that’s much more than a collection of two simple ingredients.
So what happens when you take out the soda, and put in beer? Both beverages can offer bold, rich flavors in a tightly carbonated package. And both mix well with the simple creaminess of a scoop of ice cream, but soda falls short when it comes to the satisfying twang of alcohol fermentation. There’s an underlying bite to beer floats, a snappiness that cuts through all of that sweet indulgence to create a summertime ice cream drink that can actually be surprisingly refreshing.
German Kölsch beers may not be very common in America, but they represent a pinnacle of summer drinking refreshment. While true versions are brewed exclusively in the Rhineland city of Cologne, Kölsch (and American-brewed “Kölsch-style”) beers pour a light golden color and offer unfussy taste with plenty of crisp, dry balance to help cool down overheated drinkers. During brewing, the beer is fermented at lower temperatures than other, heavier ales, resulting in a cleaner overall taste that works perfectly when served cold. Sound like the perfect summer sipping? You can go to just about any worthwhile beer store in Los Angeles and pick some up right now, thanks to Golden Road Brewing.
Do you hear that low rumble? That’s the sound of the South Bay, exploding with unbelievable craft beer breweries. It started slow at first, with a few noticeable blips on the Los Angeles beer radar, and has steadily jostled its way into the spotlight. With half a dozen breweries, some just emerging now, centered primarily around Torrance, there’s no denying it anymore: sand, sun, surf and suds go together really, really well.
Despite the growing accessibility of great craft beers in Southern California and beyond, beer culture can be quite intimidating for the uninitiated. It’s certainly not intentional; many of the best brewers working today are fun, approachable and seriously intelligent folks who just love to talk about their craft. But, because of the constant expansion and overwhelming array of choices often found in these dimly lit beer bars, where the staff takes their pours very seriously, it can be a difficult transition for non-beer lovers to ease into the craft beer world.
So where is a newbie to drink the best in local, regional and international craft brews, if not at one of these high falutin’ establishments? The answer, apparently, is Downey. That’s where you’ll find Uncle Henry’s Deli, a strip mall sandwich spot with well over fifty different taps full of great craft beer.