A Gold Line to good food
Call it the sushi-torta express. Set to start running on Sunday, the Gold Line Eastside Extension is a direct, six-mile shot from Little Tokyo to East Los Angeles. It's also a light-rail lifeline to the incredible variety of restaurants that surrounds each of the eight new stations: izakaya, bakeries, marketplaces, taquerías, burrito stands, sukiyaki joints, sandwich shops, roast goat specialists and seafood emporiums.
Once the train pulls out of the Little Tokyo depot and leaves behind downtown's sushi bars and ramen-ya, it crosses the 1st Street bridge, dips underground for a couple of stops and comes up again after Soto Street, passing the burritos, cemitas and mariscos of Boyle Heights.
The scenery gives way to softly rolling hills, the Pomona Freeway overpass and, as you pull into the platform at the East L.A. Civic Center station, you see the canopies designed by Clement Hanami that look like huge California poppies. It almost feels like a theme park ride.
Except better. At the next stop, you find yourself directly across the street from a shop that makes some of the best tortas ahogadas in L.A., a sandwich of succulent pork stuffed into a crunchy-around-the-edges bollito, drowned in a sauce of tomato and arbol chiles, topped with slivers of red onion and served with juicy limes.
You have arrived.
Photo: The Gold Line swings right by Purgatory Pizza. Credit: Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times