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Junk Food

The Glorious Greasy Foods of Los Angeles

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Fri, Oct 25, 2013 at 10:00 AM
click to enlarge Frito pie at Bar Ama - ANNE FISHBEIN
  • Anne Fishbein
  • Frito pie at Bar Ama
Mmmmm, grease. Whether it's late-night booze padding you're after, next-day hangover help, or simply the fat-kid glory of a meal that requires a stack of napkins, L.A. has you covered. We do grease very, very well.

We've got full-on British breakfasts that include multiple greasy meats. Hot dogs with a multitude of toppings. Fries with the word "gooey" in the name of the dish. And, of course, burgers. Lots and lots of wondrous, gut-bomb burgers. There's enough amazing greasy food in Los Angeles to fill a couple of books, but we've chosen 10 of our favorite examples.

click to enlarge Carne asada fries at Carnitas Michoacan - PAUL BARTUNEK
  • Paul Bartunek
  • Carne asada fries at Carnitas Michoacan
10. Carne Asada Fries at Carnitas Michoacan: The carne asada fries at this Lincoln Heights local practically defy description. Everything inside the Styrofoam has been reverse-engineered for maximum flavor, even if that means doing away with the typical notion of what should sit on top of the fries. First those potatoes: wavy crinkles that have been perfectly fried so as to shatter at the edges and leave a soft, fluffy, starchy interior completely intact. Then the asada, a straightforward production of the protein that's seen a good bit of time on the grill and wears the flames well, but won't independently blow you away. Then the cheese, an almost soupy nacho variety -- but without all that oily, processed flavor -- that's laced with a crawling jalapeño heat. One or two bites and you might not notice, but after five or six you'll be reaching for a napkin, then diving back in for more. These are barely classifiable as carne asada fries, but with flavor like this, your mouth will be too full to speak up. 1901 N. Broadway, Lincoln Heights; 323-224-9044.
click to enlarge Mr. Pizza - ANNE FISHBEIN
  • Anne Fishbein
  • Mr. Pizza
9. Potato Gold pizza at Mr. Pizza The Potato Gold pizza is legendary, with ground beef, corn, potato wedges, bacon, sour cream and nacho chip flakes covering every available surface, and all on a sweet potato crust. This weighty, doughy construction, swirled like a creamy hypnodisc, so completely warps perceptions of what a pizza might be that it threatens to dent the space-time continuum itself. 3881 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles; 213-738-0077.

See also: Tacos in L.A.: Your Ultimate Guide

click to enlarge Sooo Cali Dog at Dog Haus - GUZZLE & NOSH
  • Guzzle & Nosh
  • Sooo Cali Dog at Dog Haus
8. Hot dogs at Dog Haus Pasadena's Dog Haus is one of the few places in town that distinguishes the fine line between creative hot dogs and condiment overloads. The quarter-pound hot dogs are substantial things, seared to the point of yielding an audible snap on the first bite, tucked into a couple grilled sweet Hawaiian rolls. The "Little Leaguer" covered in chili, cheese and crushed Fritos, or the "Grand Slam," topped with a breakfast platter of tater tots, bacon and a fried egg, are as good as they are formidable. The drawlingly titled "Sooo Cali" finds the best balance: a handful of green roughage, a few slices of avocado, tomato, shards of tempura-fried onion and a thorough dousing of zesty basil aioli. Pizza elitists were known to cluck their tongues when Wolfgang Puck first put BBQ chicken onto a crust. We imagine the hot dog bourgeois might share the same sentiment. Us? We'd prefer seconds. 105 N. Hill Ave., Ste. 104, Pasadena; 626-577-4287.

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