Angelenos have been flocking to Hel-Mel for years for its quirky shops, counterculture ethos and community-oriented vibe. But one of the best destinations at the gritty-hip East Hollywood intersection of Heliotrope and Melrose is easily overlooked. Rincon Chileno is one of the rare places where vegetarians and meat lovers can converge for a quick, cheap and satisfying meal. For less than $5, you can get an empanada the size of your hand — espinaca (with whole chunks of slow-cooked garlic), creamy queso, stewed pollo, mariscos, carne or jamón y queso — with a side of homemade, spicy green salsa. Pick up some Chilean groceries and save room for a dulce while you're at it. There's not much room to sit for long, but the food will keep you coming back every time you're in the 'hood.
Credit: Tracy Chabala