In New York, rushed pre-theater dinner works this way: You hop out of the Times Square subway stop at 7:40 and grab a hot dog or stale sandwich from whatever cart or Café Europa happens to be on your way. In L.A.'s downtown theater district, however, if you don't know where you're going, you might well starve. Sure, there's the Spotlight Café at the Music Center plaza if you want an overpriced sandwich. But the place to go is its Patina Group sister right next to it, 'Tina Tacos, a stand where, for $8, you get three tacos, with chicken, beef, mushroom or some combination. Throw in a quesadilla or a sangria. Sit in front of the fountain in one of the city's prettiest manmade public spaces and just laugh at the hoity-toity at Pinot Grill across the way. Yes, their lives are more together than yours. They made reservations and got here early. But they're paying 10 times as much for the same view. 'Tina Tacos is luxury for the latecomer. Music Center, 135 N. Grand Ave., dwntwn., on the Hope Street side of the plaza. (213) 972-7525,

—Zachary Pincus-Roth

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