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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Friday, April 12, 2024
The Echo

Foodie Fix: Editor takes on local LA cuisine

Tinseltown overflows with great food options

New York and Chicago may be great food cities, but there’s no competing with Los Angeles. It’s a vast metropolis that would take multiple lifetimes to taste every taco, savor every sandwich and devour every donut. 

Why is The Echo dedicating a Foodie Fix to LA? Because someday you might find yourself in Los Angeles for business, on vacation or visiting family. You need to know where to eat. And you can only go to In-N-Out so many times. News Co-Editor Will Riddell spent spring break eating his way through as much of LA as he possibly could. These are the spots that left him salivating.

Grand Central Market — 317 South Broadway, Los Angeles, CA

Go to Eggslut first because the line can get long in a hurry. Order the Fairfax, a chive scramble fluffier than even the softest cloud. Caramelized onions and a slice of cheddar cheese are the perfect supporting cast, and a spicy sriracha mayo kicks up the heat to just the right level. Tacos Tumbras a Tomas — where asada (beef) and carnitas (pork) are piled onto tortillas — is another vendor not to be overlooked. Wash everything down with a watermelon agua fresca from La Frutería.

Randy’s Donuts — 805 West Manchester Blvd, Inglewood, CA

Since 1952, Randy’s has been serving warm cups of coffee and donuts fried to perfection. Offerings range from a simple plain cake to a maple yeast topped with mini crispy fried churros and drizzled in caramel sauce. The chocolate and maple long johns are injected with a rich, custardy cream. Vanilla yeast donuts get a garnish of either Fruit Loops or Oreos. As one local told me while we were waiting in line, “It’s not just the big donut (on top of the building), they know what they’re doing.”

Earle’s on Crenshaw — 3864 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

I could write an entire feature piece on Earle’s for Marissa Muljat, but I don’t think Sydney and Kendall would appreciate me taking up the entire page. After starting out hawking their dogs at Venice Beach in the 1980s, Carie and Duane Earle’s hot dog empire now includes the brick-and-mortar on Crenshaw and clients like Jay-Z and Beyoncé. But that stardom doesn’t stop them from providing outstanding customer service to every person who steps through the door. Don’t be surprised if Duane checks in on you as you’re biting into one of their perfectly smoky, spicy franks. Welcome to hot dog heaven.

Cielito Lindo — East, 23 Olvera Street, Los Angeles, CA

The beef taquitos are tasty on their own, but it’s what they get covered in that has made Cielito Lindo a hit with locals and travelers since 1934. Anthony Bourdain featured the joint and its taquitos on season nine of “Parts Unknown.” Don’t bother with the red sauce or their super hot sauce. The avocado sauce is what you want coating your fingers after you’re finished munching. It’s cooling and it’s addictive. I was ready to lick the paper plate clean. 

Yangban Society — 712 South Santa Fe Ave, Los Angeles, CA

I’ve saved the very best for last. The $65 tasting menu was worth every penny. Every. Single. Cent. You don’t think pears and avocado go together? Think again. The wings, with their crackling coating, were miraculously sweet, salty and a touch spicy all at once. A flaky buttermilk biscuit was smothered in a savory Korean gravy. Garlic and dill tots need to be dunked in whipped créme fraiche. Chilled acorn noodles need to be spun and slurped. There’s a reason Yangban was ranked #2 in Esquire’s best new restaurants of 2022. The restaurant, which is tucked away in an alley, is serving arguably the best Korean food in the country. Come with an open mind; leave with a full stomach and a new understanding of how delicious and satisfying food can be.  

So, once you arrive at LAX, have a plan, but be ready to adapt. Hit the ground running. Don’t count on the person working the front desk at your hotel to know the best places to eat. His job is to make the tourists happy. You’re not a tourist. You’re a traveler. Find out who the locals are and see where they’re eating. If you wind up at the Spyder surf shop in Manhattan Beach, ask the dude working the register what you need to try. Trust me, he’ll have a few suggestions.

Finally, I wanted to say thanks for reading. It means a lot. And thank you to the L&T editors and Markus and Kay for letting me run with this. 

Now, I think it’s time for you to plan a trip. And remember: Go as a traveler, not a tourist.