Tuesday, June 26, 2007

$1 Tacos Beat $13 Spiked "Spa Water" Every Time

Kike's Tacos, 2nd and Beaudry, Downtown Los Angeles.

Spanish Rosemary Cocktail, Abode, Santa Monica.

I began my Tuesday night with Caroline at Abode, home of the $26 vegetable plate. Love the bright orange leather couches, the quiet patio, and the Spanish Rosemary cocktail--rosemary infused gin, many crushed lemons, and cranberry juice. Love two of the "Three Sandwich Sampler"--rich jamon serrano and cheese on sweet walnut bread with a quail (?) egg on top; hot merguez and perfectly carmelized onions; and a forgettable caprese. At $16, it ain't cheap, but there's enough food to stave off hunger pains.

3 Sandwich Sampler at Abode: Caprese, Ham and Cheese, Merguez.

Abode touts its environmental sustainability, from the wood of its tables to the fish on the menu. While LA Times food section editor Leslie Brenner skewered this eco-chic pretension, I appreciate the effort, if not the execution. The speciality cocktail list reads like a yoga class menu, from the Namaste, featuring rose petals, to the Spa Water, a vodka-laced cucumber and basil drink. A little too precious for my taste, and not nearly as well crafted (though about the same price) as the sustainable, farmers' market fresh cocktails at my true love, The Hungry Cat.

Though it emptied my pocket book, Abode didn't quite fill my stomach, so as I pulled off the 110 to drive home on Sunset, I zipped in to to the brightly lit taco stand at the corner of 2nd and Beaudry. I've driven by zillions of times but never stopped, but tonight I figured it's now or never. The sign said Kike's Tacos and its few tables were filled with 20-something guys, more than happy to tell me what to order. The chorizo tacos were the overwhelming favorite, so I scooped up two for a measly $2.

At the condiment table I added fresh lime, cilantro and a blistering green salsa, then leaned up against my car, chowed down and wiped away tears as I looked to the lights of downtown LA. I could blame it on the hot, hot salsa, but it was the thought of leaving this crazy city that brought on the waterworks. I won't think twice about waving buh-bye to places like Abode, but the taco stands? I'll dream about them while studying in my cramped Manhattan apartment. This article about the food vendors in Red Hook Park gives me hope, but $5-6 for a huarache? Please. LA, you haven't been easy, but after 5 years I'm not sure I'm ready to say goodbye.

1541 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 394-3463

Kike's Tacos
2nd/Beaudry, Downtown LA
Open only in the evenings


Nancy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nancy said...

God that really makes me hungry. One of these days let's just forego the overpriced lounge menus (you can only subsist on croquettes and crostinis for so long) and head over to Banh Mi Che Cali, probably one of the best Vietnamese delis in the city. Put that on your "Cheap to Eat" list and I'll take you there soon.

Doug said...

Eat all the tacos and burritos in L.A. while you still have the chance. Everyone tells me the Mexican food on the East coast doesn't even hold a candle.

It seems more often than not, I have Asians making my tacos...and serving them alongside CHINESE FOOD!


C.C. said...

Does anyone know if Kike's has moved or closed? I've been by several times in the past couple months and they weren't there. I must have my Kike's tacos! Donde esta Kike's?

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