Monday, July 09, 2012

Tacos tacos tacos

Many years back I spent a fair amount of time in Los Angeles. Once I lived there for a month, on the couches and air mattresses of friends. I spent my days going to agent meetings, yoga classes and the gym, but there were very few agent meetings so it was mostly yoga and the gym. There were fish tacos involved. Also smoothies. Also a car, in which I could tote my giant bag, and my gym clothes, and my change of shoes and not break my back in the process. I was smitten.

Since leaving acting behind, I hadn't been to LA, until this weekend when I hopped off for three days, to meet up with friends who were also staying there. We stayed at this beautiful little cottage in Echo Park.

Tacos, tacos, tacos
My second day I had masa for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Breakfast was at Tacos Delta, on Sunset, in Silverlake. We ordered chilaquiles and huevos rancheros (tomatillo salsa verde) and they were very good.

At about 2 pm I realized I hadn't eaten lunch. I googled "Silverlake fish tacos" and found a thread on Chowhound that started back in 2008. Much back and forth about a guy named Jimmy who sets up under a tent and serves fish and shrimp tacos, Baja style. Supposedly excellent.
"He is no longer there!" 
"He is there!"
"Follow him on twitter! [oh, we must be up to 2009 or 2010 on the thread now...]
"He is there Thursdays and Fridays 12-3 pm!"

I looked at my watch. It was 2:15. It was Friday. I hopped in my batmobile (rental car) and flew off to the corner of DeLongpre and Virgil. First time through I missed  him. I was expecting a cart of something, on the corner, but he was tucked into a factory driveway. And there were tables and chairs. And he was friendly and chatty. And there were other gringos there. And I ate one shrimp and one fish and they were EXCELLENT.

In the evening I met my old friends Karl and Malia. They suggested an old Hollywood classic not known for its food, but for its kitschy ambiance, friendly service and welcomeness to kids. It is called El Coyote and while my green corn tamales were oddly, overly sweet, the guacamole was chunky and fresh and there were free soda and Iced Tea refills and a guy played the guitar for my friends' daughter. I did not have a margarita because then how would I drive my batmobile? As far as I can tell every single person is driving drunk in that town.

Other highlights
  • Umami burger: recommended by everyone. I met my high school buddy Maia there and I had the classic umami burger which was delicious and included a mushroom and a parmesan crisp on top. That evening Amy, Vic and I spend 15 minutes Googling "umami" and reading definitions out loud to each other. This burger tasted a lot like the descriptions. Also there were truffle cheese fries (oof, too much, too much I tell you) and also celebrities at the table next to me.
  • LA Mill: wonderful latte in Silverlake. Especially delicious after a 2 mile run around Silverlake reservoir. Triumphant latte. 
  • Forage: A recommendation from Jen. Healthy, delicious, farm-fresh food, sorta cafeteria style. The City Bakery of Silverlake? Minus the by-the-pound feature that screws you into a $20 plate of salad at City Bakery.
  • Scoops: After a short hike in Runyon Canyon (more about canyon house ogling than exercise), we hit this nifty ice cream spot, where a "single scoop" has two scoops in it. Who doesn't love that? Highlights were Brown Bread flavor, and Pistachio Jasmine Honey.
  • Street: This place has a street-food themed menu that was pretty cool and well executed. And a totally weird vibe/ambiance that would never appear in NYC. The aesthetics of these two cities are surprisingly different sometimes. Kaya toast, which I had not had since Singapore, was delicious. Also vaguely Singaporean and also delicious was the coconut fried rice with pork belly, pea shoots and a fried egg on top. It was all tasty, and I was charmed by the head chef coming out and asking us if we were warm enough (most of their seating is outdoor) and then bringing us blankets when we said we were chilly.
  • Farmers Kitchen: right at the corner of the huge and wonderful Hollywood farmers market. Walked around the market with Ari, ogling the gorgeous produce, the beautiful fish, the myriad gluten free breads (!), then stopped in here for tomatoes, eggs and walnut pesto and marveled that it's tomato season already.
And if you can believe it I ate all of that in THREE DAYS.