You can go ahead and disagree with us when we say that the LA food scene has always been sort of grim. (Shut up, transplants—after you find yourself eating Mexican for 17 years you’ll stop yammering about how coooool those burrito stands are.) Until recently, LA residents had very little to choose from when it came to getting a good meal in this horrible, scorched-earth, traffic-glutted—oh, sorry, GREAT town! It was like this: Swingers or 101 Café for brunch? La Scala or the Farm for fancy lunch? Mel’s or Del Taco for late night? The scene was (and still is) fickle and capricious: One place became another as fast as the fake-tit size for wannabe starlets went from D to C. People went to the same five places, depending on their neighborhood. You don’t know how much of a pain in the ass it is when you live in Venice and your buddies are all Eastsiders and you’re totally hungover on a Saturday morning and they’re all, “Let’s go to the 101 for brunch!” Mmm, yeah, that’s a 25-minute drive. LA also loves its chains: Baja Fresh, Jamba Juice, Pinkberry (an aside: fuck Pinkberry). This is a city full of little authentic Mexican and Oaxacan (Wa-ha-can) joints, and yet these idiots voted Chipotle as one of the best burritos? But then something changed. In the land that taste forgot, all these new places started popping up and—gasp—people loved them. They were GOOD. They were culinarily noteworthy. They weren’t all burritos. People under the age of 40 who didn’t work at Warner Bros. or Elimidate were heading to previously boring-ass studio enclaves like Culver City and Burbank… to eat. Weird. If you’re just visiting and staying in one particular neighborhood, it’s pretty unlikely that you’re going to go totally out of your way to experience El Molinito in Pico Rivera, unless you’re truly adventurous. Have we mentioned the traffic? That’s why we’ve included tons of spots from tons of neighborhoods, so even if you’re stuck in Pasadena you can still get a decent meal. Also, keep in mind that lots of these options are in that soul-sucking bastion of suburban blight, the mini-mall. It’s both aesthetically offensive and guiltily pleasurable—kind of like you stumbled across a jewel of a find that no one else knows about, or would even consider, because the packaging is so ugly. OK, now forget bean burritos; are you ready for some tacos de cabeza? EATING CHOICES ON THE EAST SIDE >
Eating in Los Angeles
You can go ahead and disagree with us when we say that the LA food scene has always been sort of grim. (Shut up, transplants-after you find yourself eating Mexican for 17 years you'll stop yammering about how coooool those burrito stands are.) Until...
December 28, 1999, 12:00am