Growing up in LA, I never fully appreciated the full breadth of what the city had to offer. The best and worst thing about LA is how large it is, so it’s hard to really explore it from end to end. That coupled with the fact that the food thing didn’t really hit me til just a few years ago left me with no knowledge of the LA food scene. So when Patrick, an awesome LA food photographer, asked me what I wanted to eat when we met up I was like, “I don’t know!” Thankfully, he had more than a few ideas for where to eat, so we did a mini food crawl in downtown LA. We went to 3 places that blew me away so much I had to document them on this blog.
Decor wise, my favorite place, but the food ain’t bad at all either. This place is a wine bar, but it turns into a pop up pasta place for lunch on Wednesday – Saturday. This pop up is a one man show. When you sit down, the chef tells you the menu, and you order from him. He then cooks, plates, and serves your pasta. He even settles your bill at the end of the meal. Watching him work is a true lesson in hustle. My friend and I ordered the cavatelli with asparagus, peas, and a white truffle sauce. Unfortunately, the pasta was so good I ate it before I got a picture. Sorry!
Perhaps one of my favorite places of all time. This little lunch counter serves filipino food during lunch hours. Chef AC and Janice run this place with conviction and their unapologetic Filipino flavors. I love everything about it. It’s one of those places you can miss walking by but when you sit down and take a bite of their food it feels like you’re in on this cool secret. We had their pork belly adobo bowl (pictured above), sinigang lumpia, and banana bread with cheese butter. All amazingly good. But I have to give a big shout out to this banana bread because it was LIFE CHANGING. It was literally the best thing I’ve ever had, and I think they should put it on everything.
I can’t leave LA without getting some tacos. I thought I had already had every type of taco you could have, but this place proved me wrong. We ordered perron with carne asada and vampiro with adobada. When my friend called out that order, I was thinking “Wait what did you order?” The first one – perron with carne asada – is carne asada on top of cheese on top of a corn tortilla. Vampiro with adobada is a tortilla that’s been grilled until it’s dried out topped with pork cooked in red chili sauce with vinegar and oregano. Both were super good but I only had a few bites because I was pretty full at this point.
If I had more room in my stomach, I would’ve kept going but I couldn’t unfortunately. Eating at these 3 places made me realize what I love about LA food – it’s good, accessible, and tells a story about the city’s immigrant history. LA food is about people from other places bringing their food to the city and riffing off each other to create this melting pot of a cuisine. It’s magical. I can’t wait to come back and sample some more because this is definitely just the beginning.