Koreatown is so damn big that the only way you can possibly figure out which restaurants are good is by word of mouth. Thus, my buddy suggested Myung In Dumplings, which is essentially a Korean-ized Chinese dumpling spot right in the heart of Koreatown. I think he found it by watching some TV show, which generally means delicious food and I was hoping the TV would lead me right again.
While Pittsburgh is not devoid of Korean food, there is no city on earth outside of Korea that serves up Korean food like LA. With that in mind, I made my way to Road to Seoul in Koreatown for a final meal before catching a red-eye back to Pittsburgh. Hey, if I can’t give myself the meat sweats on a flight, why even sleep?
In the mood for some authentic Los Angeles tacos, my buddies and I set off for King Taco near downtown in the MacArthur Park area. Although this wasn’t the original location, we figured they still served up some pretty good tacos. I could tell it was pretty authentic because it was mostly filled with Hispanic people and everyone seemed to speak Spanish at the counter. By the time I figured out what I wanted, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to order in English, but luckily the cashiers turned out to be bilingual.
I had wanted to go to Papa Cristo’s for a long time, but I just didn’t realize it. You see, the outside of the restaurant/market really makes no major reference to the name of the place. Instead, it just says “Greek Food.” When my friend suggested trying it, I complied without realizing it was the place I had driven by so many times.
Inside, the place has a miniature Greek market, a counter to order food at and a big room that can double as a dining room or banquet room. My first stop was the counter to place my order. We ordered some of the Octapodakia appetizer, which is grilled baby octopus. I also ordered the Kreatopita, deliciously described on the menu as a meat pie. For my main course, I decided to get back to the Greek basics and ordered the Gyros sandwich. This came with lettuce and tomatoes, so I ordered it without.
El Cholo has been part of LA since Prohibition, which is no small feat in a city that flocks to trends like they cure cancer.
It took me a while, but I finally made it to the original El Cholo in Koreatown.
I had a difficult time deciding what to get from the menu. The prices were a bit steep, but I figured it was worth it to try an LA classic. In a cool little nod to their history, on each menu item they list the year that it became part of their menu, I finally decided on the great barometer for Mexican food, the burrito. At El Cholo, they call it the Burrito Dorado, which they began serving in 1977, making it seven years older than me. According to the menu, it’s composed of chili con carne, beans, rice, cheddar cheese, tomato sauce, sour cream and guacamole. I hoped none of these ingredients would be older than me.