I've written gushingly about Guisados in Boyle Heights, which still serves my favorite taco in Los Angeles. Follow me to this vibrant LA neighborhood just east of Downtown to see how tradition and family infuse the food at Guisados--and why they are building an LA empire, with additions in Echo Park and Downtown LA.
Sometimes, I feel a little protective over my very favorite spots--those restaurants that I visit as often as once a week, places where I have to get my fix. Something inside of me gets greedy and wants to preserve their familiarity, my feelings of ownership about these gems. But today, I'm feeling generous. So I'm sharing the latest episode of LA on 20's web series, and this time I am visiting Tender Greens in Santa Monica with my little brother, Sam.
I find that one of the most difficult things about being on a budget is being able to eat healthfully. Fresh produce, especially organic and sustainably farmed/caught/raised fare just costs more to procure, and sometimes it can feel out of reach for those of us looking to get the most bang for the buck.
Which is why I really treasure Tender Greens. Seriously, it's a special place. Because not only have they created a model where they can offer all of those things--seasonal, ethically raised, fresh, organic food--at an affordable price point, on a large scale, but they go above and beyond by also offering a consistently excellent, inventive specials menu each and every day. I have had a beautifully cooked piece of cod with braised hen of the woods mushrooms for $12. I have had delicious and light pea tendril ravioli with a side of arugula salad for $12 for dinner. Free range beef and pork meatballs in a slowly simmered, rich marinara for $4.
It's cafeteria-style dining, because that's what allows them to offer these really elevated, well-executed, healthy, delicious dishes at that price. But it feels like a nice sit-down restaurant--they have beer and wine on tap, and seasonal and decadent desserts, including some really good vegan ones. There are multiple locations throughout LA and in the Bay Area, San Diego, and Orange County, so wherever you find yourself in California, this affordable and healthy option isn't far away. I really cannot say enough about how cool this place is. So I'll let the video do the rest of the talking. Please enjoy!
I've already written about Noodle Boy, a noodle shop in Rosemead serving one very special dish: Hong Kong style wonton noodle soup. But now I am thrilled to invite you to share an afternoon with my friends and me, slurping noodles at one of my favorite LA spots!
Special thanks as always to my fabulous crew, Ghostlight, and my unflappable producer, the lovely Hesley Harps. And thanks to my wonderful friends Greg and Z, for being up for anything, especially sharing food!
The Sausage Fest tradition began in college. We frequented a San Francisco eatery called Rosamunde that offered gourmet sausages in all varieties, from Knockwurst to Andouille to Wild Boar. That was a simpler time, when Rosamunde was a standing-room-only unless you want to eat in the bar next door, kind of a place. They have now expanded to four locations, including one in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and they serve brunch. We were going there when the Mission location was still a little seedy, instead of being one of the hippest and most sought-after places to live in the country. But we’re trendsetters that way. We used to buy up a boatload of raw sausages from Rosamunde, bring them back to our apartment off-campus in Menlo Park, where we had furnished a 1000-square foot two-bedroom with one mini-futon from Ikea, a shoddy unfinished birch 4-seater dining table and a small charcoal Weber grill, and we gathered all of our friends for beer and grilled meat. It was a blast. And more importantly, it was a tradition.
In our quest for gourmet sausages worthy of The Fest when we moved to LA, we discovered a holy grail of exotic sausage. Wurstküche goes beyond your average elevated street dog and offers duck and bacon sausages, alligator and pork sausages, even rattlesnake and rabbit sausages. An adventurous eater can go wild here. They still have the classics, of course: a delicious hot Italian, Brats, and I love the buffalo, beef and pork with chipotle peppers. They have a few different tasty chicken and turkey sausages for the Kosher or health-minded among us, and like Rosamunde, they even offer vegan sausages, and not bad ones either. So everyone can get in on the action.
Wurstküche is also housed in a great space, open and airy and light during the day with a nice ivy-lined patio and fire pit, and clubby and hopping at night. The brick interior features a long bar with many, many taps of constantly rotating Belgian and German craft beers, a different glass for each and every one lining the wall. I asked my husband and our friend Mel to join me for an afternoon of sausages and beers at Wurstküche, and I brought my film crew along too so you could experience the delight of Belgian fries, Merguez sausage and Guden beer firsthand. Please enjoy!
Special thanks as always to my crew, the fabulous David and James Codeglia of Ghostlight, and my producer extraordinaire, Hesley Harps.
I am extremely excited to announce the launch of LA on 20 a Day’s webseries! I’ve created a series of short videos to help you get a better feel for my favorite places to eat on a budget, and to tell the story of LA’s food scene right now. And of course, to tantalize your taste buds with some moving food porn! Our inaugural episode introduces a new food truck that I am really pleased to have discovered. The concept is simple—good food that everyone can recognize, done right. No strange fusion or spiral foods on a stick. Everything you want between two perfectly buttered and toasted buns can be found at Son of a Bun. I’ll let the video do the rest of the talking! Please watch, enjoy and share!
Many thanks to my incredible production team, David and James Codeglia of Ghostlight, and my multitalented friend and producer, Hesley Harps.