Consume Part I: Food | Features | Los Angeles | Los Angeles News and Events | LA Weekly
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Consume Part I: Food 

Forty-One Reasons to Live in LA

Wednesday, Sep 23 1998
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Page 3 of 9

 

THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF . . .

Arturo’s Family Restaurant. While the most alluring of L.A.’s old-school Mexican restaurants rely upon a tawdry rendezvous of tequila, red lights and red vinyl, Arturo’s Family Restaurant manages to charm in a manner quite the opposite. Light and airy and bright, with tropical plantings, Arturo’s evokes Disneyesque Americana/Mexicana futurism circa 1961. The dining room’s soaring glass walls, spacy white globe lights and suave-dopey coral-and-turquoise benches reinforce that jet-age feeling of internationalism. The bar is particularly attractive with its glass-enclosed, leafy atrium, waterfall and sullen stone god. The menu is replete with the usual gringo-friendly combos, the traditional Mexican/suburban specialties and steaks. The mole is particularly savory and not too sweet, while the tamales are delightfully so, and the enchiladas seem happy about the sauces in which they sit. Six-foot burritos upon request. 25720 S. Western Ave., Harbor City; (310) 325-0671. (Reverend Al Cacophony)

 

 

BEST BLACK-AND-WHITE COOKIE IN THE VALLEY

Brown’s Victory Bakery. Black-and-white cookies are my favorite. And my kids’ favorite. The way chocolate and vanilla icing melt together; the cakelike consistency of the cookie; the dilemma of alternating a chocolate bite with a vanilla bite (as immortalized in an episode of Seinfeld) or downing the white side and saving the chocolate for last. Opened in 1959, Brown’s Victory Bakery is the only location run by the original owners of the landmark Brown’s on Wilshire. (It’s a testament to the Brown name that, three owners later, the Wilshire bakery still carries the same moniker.) The original owner’s son, Sheldon, continues the tradition of the best black-and-white cookie you’ll ever eat, not to mention unbelievable danish and rye bread, too. 12805 Victory Blvd., N. Hollywood; (818) 766-3258. (Renée Simone)

 

 

 

RED ANY GOOD MEAT LATELY?

The Steak Joynt. If you like sprouts and it makes your night when your waiter or waitress is an actor/rock star–in–training, then stay away from the humble establishment known as the Steak Joynt. The "y" in Joynt is the only concession to cuteness. Inside, you’ll find great steaks and red meats that come oversized, cooked exactly as ordered, the meat aged and USDA Choice, served bloody or burnt. They even have Sinatra and Bennett playing in the background. Want a change from the standard Heart Associa-tion–approved fare? Give this place a shot. Dinners come with baked potato or fries and a side of grilled vegetables so fresh and skillfully prepared that even a confirmed carnivore like myself will eat them. Two of you can have generous-size drinks and a dinner that will not only put your cholesterol level through the roof, but will remind you that maybe those canine teeth in your mouth are there for something other than lettuce. Finish with dessert and get out the door for under 50 bucks. 4354 Lankershim Blvd., N. Hollywood; (818) 761-9899. (Eddie Little)

 

 

 

GAS, (WHEAT)GRASS OR (FAUX-HEALTHY) ASS — NOBODY DRINKS FOR FREE

Café Jumby. First coffee, now this. The smoothie industry is already spiraling out of control, with Jamba Juice starting to stink like Starbucks. Admittedly guilty of bowing to the Starbucks gods when they took over a few years back, I have staved off the Jamba Juice. Not that I haven’t been a lemming in this latest fad — hell, I’m all for liquid health, especially those equal-to-five-servings-of-vegetables shots of wheat grass — I’d just rather enrich my faux-healthy ass at the crunchy-granola Café Jumby. Just off Studio City’s trendiest strip of boulevard (behind Starbucks and, for that matter, just a mango’s throw from laboratorylike Jamba Juice), Café Jumby cranks out concoctions such as the Caribbean Cruise, Mr. Bunny, and Berries Sing the Blues in a casual atmosphere that includes colorful murals, chalk-etched menu boards, worn director’s chairs, plastic patio furniture and a staff of pomo hipsters. A perfect, nearly makeshift environment for the downing of drinks blended with bee pollen or shots squeezed from wheat grass, kinda like the grown-up equivalent of the sidewalk lemonade stand. 3990 Vantage Blvd., Studio City; (818) 761-8452. (Neal Weiss)

 

BEST GIGANTIC, DROWNING MOTHERFUCKER

Luna Sol Cafe. The first time I tasted the incredible food at Luna Sol Cafe, I seriously considered moving into the nearby Asbury Apartments just so I could wake up every morning to its scrumptious, homemade and ridiculously cheap Mex-American fare. One of my faves is the Performance Burrito ($3), a gigantic motherfucker stuffed with fresh veggies, curry, tofu, rice, beans and cheese and drowning in awesome red sauce. Specials include the veggie Tex-Mex tacos — two big tacos, rice, beans and Home Boy Fries for $3.25 — which two people can share and still have major leftovers. An order of Home Boy Fries ($1.25) is a meal in itself. The coffee is strong and laced with cinnamon, and Luna Sol serves fresh juice, too. The cafe’s interior is all mismatched couches, original and thrift-store art, and fliers for neighborhood events and political causes. Founded by Tito Lopez and Carmelo Alvarez (who met through the Peace and Justice Center downtown), Luna Sol also functions as a haven for poetry readings, live music, neighborhood meetings and rallies. The staffers seem to be cast all from the same mold —young, friendly and unpretentious, and the clientele is a cool mix of young and old, artsy and straight, businesspeople and street crazies from MacArthur Park. With a little luck, this joint will turn into an L.A. institution. 2501 Sixth St.; (213) 380-4754. (Pleasant Gehman)

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