Daily Dish

The inside scoop on food in Los Angeles

Category: Street Food

Sampler Platter: Classic Julia Child, CandyCots, bacon cheddar, insane sandwiches and amazing food art


Regarding the bacon cheddar cheese in the photo, all we can say is: Why didn't someone think of this sooner? And now, a dose of food news to kick off your week.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Rob Takata / For The Times

New food trucks: Dosa, Lomo Arigato, Frysmith

A dosa served with spiced potatoes. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times.The gourmet food trucks of Los Angeles just keep rolling ... and rolling ... and rolling ... and rolling. We've added three new ones to our ever-expanding list of L.A.'s Nouveau Food Trucks, which now includes 21 meals-on-wheels.

  • Frysmith: Gourmet French fry truck with vegan chili fries, kimchi fries (Kurobuta pork belly, onions, cheddar cheese and kimchi); chicken sweet potato fries and more. Coming in mid- to late August.
  • Dosa Truck: Newly launched this month, this truck specializes in a South Indian treat: dosas (crisp savory crepes made from lentil and rice flour) along with artisanal chutneys.
  • Lomo Arigato: Japanese-style Peruvian food such as  saltados, pasta saltados and fried rice with beef, chicken or tofu and, of course, insanely spicy green sauce.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: A dosa served with spiced potatoes. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Taco Zone truck attacked in Echo Park, as told by Twitter

Firefighters put out a fire at the Taco Zone taco truck in Echo Park. Credit: Betty Hallock / Los Angeles TimesWas the Taco Zone taco truck in Echo Park the victim of a hate crime, a jealous competitor, gang activity or vandals? Police don't know, but that doesn't make it any less frightening  that on Friday night the truck was set on fire.

Fire-starters weren't the only ones at work that night. The Twitterati were also in full force. This is their story:

The truck generally parks on Alvarado Boulevard two blocks north of Sunset Boulevardnear the Vons supermarket. Food blogger and former Metromix staffer Katherine Spiers, who happened to be there at the time of the attack, reports on her Tumblr blog that the truck was hit by poorly aimed Molotov cocktails. No one was hurt, according to LAist, which also points out that Councilman Eric Garcetti reported and then Tweeted about the incident.

Spiers notes that volunteer security officers are now manning the Taco Zone perimeter. Also, there's word about a possible benefit showfor Taco Zone. The Mae Shi have been asked to play, according to drummer Jacob Alonzo Cooper's Twitter feed. More details to come.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Times deputy Food editor Betty Hallock was driving by and swung through the Vons parking lot to take this photo. She then posted it on Twitter. Credit: Betty Hallock / Los Angeles Times

On Vendr.TV, host eats his way through the country's best food trucks

Dan Delaney of Vendr.tv

Dan Delaney has one of the best jobs a food lover could hope to have. The 23-year-old travels around the country, sampling the wares of America's preeminent mobile food vendors and documenting them in short videos he posts on his website, Vendr.TV.

Since launching in mid-February, Vendr.TV has released 10 short webisodes (roughly one per week) covering everything from gargantuan hot dogs in Boston to Jamaican oxtail in Philly. Most run three to five minutes and feature one vendor, though occasional webisodes digress from the format to go on a cart crawl through Jackson Heights or explore the halal cart turf war in midtown Manhattan. Later this month, Delaney takes his act on the road with a West Coast tour that includes stops in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and, of course, Los Angeles (June 13-19). The specific shoot dates will be published on Vendr.TV's Facebook page for anyone who wants to be in an episode.

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Double Dutch: Indonesian cuisine at the Holland Festival

SDC10094  SDC10118

Sunday's Holland Festival wasn’t underattended, but it was and certainly still is underappreciated. That’s in part because the 20th annual iteration of the festival was again a misnomer — the event was dedicated much more to Indonesian street food than it was to Dutch delicacies. 

It was strangely fitting, then, that the Holland Festival was set up at Police Officers Association Park in Long Beach, a curious space that doubles as a training facility for the LBPD (firing range included) that’s carved out of the land between the Long Beach Towne Centre and El Dorado Park. 

There was a Dutch presence at the entrance — crisp fries loaded into paper cones, herring hauled in all the way from the Netherlands and an endless supply of Heineken — but the majority of the food was of Indonesian origin. In fact, most of the vendors were actually regulars of Duarte’s Pondok Kaki Lima, the pop-up Indonesian food fair that sets up behind the Duarte Inn every Saturday. 

One such Pondok Kaki Lima staple was Ambrosius, whose sate babi — pork skewers lacquered with a sweet, dark char — drew constant crowds. The line never relented, but it never ended in disappointment, either. 

Other stalls, like that of Duarte’s Chicky BBQ, represented the mobile arms of local restaurants. And along with those bigger tents came a larger array of dishes, including perkedel (finely spiced potato croquettes), soto betawi (a Jakarta-style beef soup) and the ubiquitous nasi bungkus. Beyond beer, the various venders also offered drinks like rozenstroop (an iced rose syrup-based beverage) and durian shakes. 

First-time festivalgoers — one woman traveled all the way from Wisconsin — had to seek out spots on the grass as those who had been before came prepared: Some brought foldable chairs, others brought blankets and the truly experienced set up tents in which to eat in peace. But everyone ended up wandering elsewhere, be it to the stage of cover bands or over to the speed skating information booth for yet another Dutch tradition. 

-- Miles Clements

Locali Icycle gets ready to roll


The Locali Icycle that we mentioned a few weeks ago-- a custom-built adult tricycle equipped with a freezer -- has finally arrived and is almost ready to roll. The "conscious convenience" store's owners, Melissa Rosen and Greg Horos, plan to decamp it to assorted points throughout Hollywood, the Eastside and downtown; they're also considering occasional pit stops on the Westside, in Culver City and along La Brea Avenue in Mid-City West.

What's going to be in that freezer? Locali's house-made snow cones flavored with diabetic-friendly Xylitol; single-serving size containers of Carmela's gelato, already wildly popular among farmer's market regulars; Popshop's vegan popsicles in flavors like mojito and avocado vanilla; raw vegan cheesecake; and more. Rosen and Horos had hoped to roll out during Memorial Day weekend, but due to permitting issues,the Icycle won't be pedaling its frozen treats until June.

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo credit: Locali.

Making a run for the Border Grill taco truck

Mary-Sue-and-Susan Pulling up alongside the Kogi taco truck? The Too Hot Tamales.

A Border Grill taco truck will be parked tonight at 433 S. Spring St. -- outside the new Ed Hardy store -- from 6 to 10 p.m. selling $2 tacos and $5 quesadillas made with hand-made tortillas. It'll also vend potato rajas, brownies, pomegranate lemonade and more as part of downtown L.A.'s monthly art walk.

Border Grill and Ciudad chef-owner Mary Sue Milliken -- who will be stopping by, along with business partner and fellow chef Susan Feniger -- said the taco truck is a bit of an experiment. But if customers seem to enjoy it, there could be more where it came from.

"We've been thinking about doing something like this for years," said Milliken, adding that there seems to be more of a demand than ever for fresh food on the go -- and not just fast food, mind you, but healthful food served up with convenience and a gourmet twist.

If successful, Milliken said, it opens up a number of new avenues, literally. Under discussion are Border Grill trucks that follow specific routes and  make appearances at birthdays, barbecues and other special occasions.

"You see the food scene in New York and D.C., and the Kogi truck here ... we should have just jumped on in when we first thought about it," Milliken said. "But this gives us a chance to take our stuff on the road and dip our toe in the pond and see what happens."

It will be an experiment in more ways than one. Tonight's truck is rented, and will be festooned with Border Grill banners. It will give the chefs an opportunity to mull over the interior possibilities -- just in case they decide to buy one of their own.

"It's an exciting time for food on the go," Milliken said.

-- Rene Lynch

Photo credit: Fran Gealer


-- A look at Susan Feniger's new restaurant, Susan Feniger's Street

-- Everyone's a-Twitter about the new Kogi taco truck

-- Eater LA's mobile-food tracking


Los Angeles BBQ Festival: Smoke in your eyes and yummy in your tummy

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After a first year troubled by long lines and vendors running out of food, everything seemed right on Q at the second Los Angeles BBQ Festival on Sunday.

“This year is 10 times better – no lines. It’s like it should be,” said Jason Sinroll of Manhattan Beach, who was bitterly disappointed in last year’s festival.

Organizer Dan Silberstein of DrinkEatPlay saw to it that last year’s problems would not be repeated, increasing the number of food vendors and drink stations and putting in more seating. The food stalls were plenty busy, but what lines there were moved quickly. Finding a seat at a table with an umbrella could be a challenge, but getting a chair somewhere didn't take long.

09bbqfest 045 “How could it be any better?” asked Brian Stein, pit master of Susie Q’s in Santa Maria, as he supervised tri-tip cooking over red oak (at right). “We’re in Santa Monica, the pier’s right there … barbecue and tri-tip in Santa Monica on Mother’s Day.” He was ably assisted by a Le Cordon Bleu student, plus a guy the Susie Q’s crew met in the parking lot and hit it off with. Brian’s wife, Nancy Stein, said that’s part of the Susie Q’s family atmosphere, adding, “It’s really sweet how everyone is all sweet.”

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Sampler Platter: Oaxacan quesadillas, spaghetti hot dogs & jalapeno-pear cocktails

Organic strawberries

Midweek food bites...

  • In honor of Earth Day, a list of the fruits and vegetables that contain the most pesticides. Clean Plate Charlie
  • 5 ways to save on organic food. Consumer Reports
  • Thierry Perez, co-owner of Fraiche and Riva, has left to open his own restaurant in Culver City. It will be called Ben Fatto. Eater LA
  • Freaky food fun: insert dried spaghetti into hot dogs, then boil. Boing Boing
  • Pleasure Palate checks out an Echo Park street cart featuring Oaxacan quesadillas with blue corn tortillas.
  • Strangest drink ever? The jalapeno-pear caipiroska. Umami Mart
  • Kellogg's Frosted Mini-Wheats won't make my kids smarter? Yahoo! News
  • Downsize Me: Man loses 15 pounds eating only McDonald's for 30 days. Daily Mail

-- Elina Shatkin

Photo: Elina Shatkin

A taste of Susan Feniger's Street

Susan Feniger at her new restaurant, Street Chef Susan Feniger, half of the Too Hot Tamales duo responsible for restaurants Border Grill and Ciudad and countless Food Network appearances, will step into her own spotlight Monday when her long-awaited Street restaurant debuts in the former Highland Grounds spot.

Located on Highland, a bit north of Nancy Silverton's Mozzas on the Melrose intersection, Street concentrates on the formula that worked for Feniger's other restaurants -- an upscale take on cultural cuisine. Sticking mostly to Asian-inspired street food dishes, the dinner menu is broken down into small plates meant for sharing, then noodles, stews and curry dishes. There are also entrees made in the wood-burning oven. After Monday's dinner opening, the restaurant will serve lunch and Sunday brunch (the former probably being a welcome treat to the workers at the nearby row of production houses as well as nearby residents).

This past Saturday, Feniger and her Street staff hosted a sampling party. Those in attendance included comedian Will Ferrell. (Diners in the interior courtyard had an only-in-L.A. experience as an LAPD helicopter hovered nearby as it searched the adjacent neighborhood for someone or something.)

Keep reading below as we share a taste of what's on the menu at Street.

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Daily Dish is written by Times staff writers.