Sunday, February 11, 2007

Cheap Eats in Highland Park: Huaraches and More

Anyone who tells you good food is too expensive in Los Angeles isn't trying very hard. Sure, you can spend a fortune at Cut or Urasawa, but you'd have to try hard to spend more than $10 a person anywhere on York Boulevard, the delectable culinary thoroughfare of Highland Park--and you'll likely have more fun doing it.

El Huarache Azteca is a small Mexico City-style eatery specializing in its eponymous dish (LA Times photo, left)--a sandal shaped fried masa (corn) patty, stuffed with beans and topped with meat, queso fresco, cilantro, and a squeeze of salsa, at your prefered level of spiciness (ours: wimpy white person). You choose your meat--J was smart and went with marinated pork, I gambled on the chicharron, which I thought would result in crispy, fried pork skin. Unfortunately, I received gelatinous, sauteed pork skins, which even for a porcine-loving girl like me was a bit much. I lost the skins, scarfed the huarache, and wasn't too put out since it merely cost $2.50, plus $1 for my tamarindo agua fresca.

To ensure full satisfaction, however, we walked a couple blocks east and I finished the afternoon at La Estrella, a permanently parked taco truck, one of multiple locations. Bursting with juicy pork meat and dripping with a spicy-thirty-seconds-after-you-taste-it salsa rioja, my $1 carnitas taco made me roll my eyes with delight, and J jealously eyed it, almost wishing he hadn't liked his marinated pork covered huarache quite so much.

Another one bites the dust on my cheap to-eat list. If you have a recommendation, leave a comment and I'll add it to the list. Must be east of La Cienega.

The 2007 Erin's Kitchen Cheap To-Eat List (in no particular order)

Angeli Caffe (thx, Gastronomy 101)
Annapurna (thx, Kalyn's Kitchen--it's not east, but she's not a local, so it counts)
Casa Diaz (via Taco Hunt)
China Islamic (thx, Chez Shoes)
El Huarache Azteca (thx, Chez Shoes)
Food Garden Restaurant (thx, Melting Wok)
Golden Deli (thx, Anon)
Guelaguetza (via myself)
Halal Tandoori (via Eating LA)
J & J Restaurant (thx, LA-OC Foodie)
La Curva (via Foodie Universe)
Los Balcones de Peru (via All Kinds of Yum)
Noshi Sushi (thx, Rachael)
Paris Baguette (via LA Ritz)
Shin Sen Gumi Ramen (thx, Tableau Vivant)
Soot Bull Jeep (via Colleen Cuisine)
Zeke's Smokehouse (via Best of LA)

5 comments:

Rattling the Kettle said...

You can very safely skip Noshi. Yes, it's cheap, but it's not good. Years ago (when I still lived in NY, and was out here visiting my sister) it was pretty damn good. Now...eh.

I get my cheap sushi fix in Arcadia (I live in Pasadena...), at a place called Maki & Sushi in a strip mall on Huntington Dr. (just west of the Huntington exit on the 210). It's GOOD.

marielle said...

Chicharrones are scary. I'm a pork fan myself, but even I have to draw the line there :)

I've been meaning to try La Estrella, but I always default instead to the oddly-named My Taco on York and Ave 63, since it's walking distance from home. The carnitas is *good* and so are their salsas.

transex milano said...

It cannot succeed as a matter of fact, that's what I suppose.

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Thanks for the hits, huaraches tastes awesome with sauce! please post more stuff like this.

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