A lot changed in Downtown LA while I was gone for two years. The Arts District, which is adjacent to Little Tokyo, had already had a bit of a resurgence that has kinda blown up. On top of that, Chef Neal Fraser, who is behind BLD, has popped out a couple new spots. When you combine these, you get Fritzi, which is like an affordably upscale fast-casual concept (yeah, I said it).
It’s amazing that the sight of a new burger still excites me. It’s even more exciting when you consider that I had eaten burgers for my two prior meals before setting my sights on Belcampo at the Grand Central Market. Yet, the Belcampo Burger drew me in and the inevitability of another burger meal became apparent.
I have always been a fan of downtown LA’s Grand Central Market. And while the place is flush with old school spots that I have reviewed in the past, there are now new school spots intermingling with the old in perfect harmony. One of these goes by the name of Eggslut. How it got this name may forever be a mystery (well, at least the “slut” part), but it is undoubtedly a hit that draws crazy lines on the weekends at prime brunch hours.
One thing I miss greatly about life in LA is the great Chicken Katsu Curry. So when a friend suggested we meet in Little Tokyo for lunch, I was excited by the prospect of getting some of that which I love. She suggested Zip Sushi and Izakaya and while I usually hate the prospect of sushi, the izakaya part intrigued me. Plus the izakaya part included Chicken Katsu Curry.
A couple of years ago, some dude named Ilan Hall from Top Chef opened a restaurant in downtown LA called The Gorbals. The food scene of LA was pretty excited, and so was I, but downtown is a bitch to get to. So I waited. And waited. Until finally, a 30% off deal came to me from Blackboard Eats and I realized I had a golden opportunity to brave the nighttime downtown traffic.
While down at the Grand Central Market, my girlfriend (that’s for you, Joel) remembered she had seen one of the stalls on The Best Thing I Ever Ate on The Food Network. This stall was Sarita’s Pupuseria, which specializes in…wait for it…pupusas! You know, everyone’s favorite Salvadoran food. I am a huge fan of pupusas and while I may not know what Salvadorans look for in terms of a good pupusa, I know what this unvegan likes. The pupusa featured on that show was the basic bean and cheese, so we ordered one to split just to find out if it could hit the list of the best things we ever ate.
After my first time at Grand Central Market in Downtown LA, I knew I had to go back. Fortune smiled on me over the weekend and brought me back to that special place that makes you feel like you just entered a market in Mexico. Honestly, I’ve never been to a market in Mexico, but in my mind, this is what it’s like. Although I enjoyed my food from Ana Maria’s, this time I once again went for a stall that looked crowded. I found Tacos…Tumbras a Tomas.
While thousands of fools were waiting in the long lines of the LA Street Food Festival to get the same food they could get any night from those Twittering food trucks, my buddy and I made a great decision to head for a different part of downtown LA. This was the Grand Central Market, a glorious collection of restaurant stalls, produce vendors, butchers and more. Almost dead center in this gem of a market was a Mexican place called Ana Maria’s. We took a page out of my Asian handbook and decided that since this place had the longest line, it had to be the best.
I had been hearing about a glorious and semi-new restaurant in downtown LA for months and finally I gathered up the strength to make the trek down the 10 and check it out. This new restaurant is called Wurstkuche and although there are multiple fun and interesting pronunciations for such a place, the one thing that is certain is that it means “sausage kitchen” in some Germanic language.
Arriving on a Sunday night, I expected the place to be packed, but was happy to find a relatively short line at the counter that gave me just enough time to decide what I wanted. The menu is limited to a wide variety of sausages and french fries. Although this seems kind of limiting, there is a sausage in their extensive list for everyone (even those dastardly vegetarians and vegans). The most intriguing part for me was the exotic sausages.