Posts Tagged ‘Pupusas’

2014 has proved quite an eventful year. The world has gone through some significant changes that allow us to say that we have lived through history. 2014 has proved itself a rocky year for me personally – uncertainty of occupations, a better camera, event opportunities, and new foods all arrived at my doorstep this year. Although I have lost count of all the amazing new foods I have tried this year, the following five foods have truly cemented their legacy into my mind and heart.

5. Pop’s Cafe‘s Deep-Fried French Toast

Most people recognize French toast as thick bread soaked in an egg wash and then grilled. Pop’s Cafe in Santa Ana reinvents French toast by deep-frying it instead. I would not recommend this to anyone on a diet – basically, each bite feels like biting into a warm stick of butter. As if that does not sound fattening enough, the Deep-Fried French Toast comes with a dollop of butter and syrup. Perhaps if you had a long night out drinking, this may sound delicious. As disgusting as this made me feel after eating it, I will never forget that this exists.

4. Pizzanista!‘s Macaroni & Cheese Pizza

What do you get when you combine two very popular comfort foods? You get a Macaroni & Cheese Pizza of course! The artsy folks at Pizzanista! in the arts district of Downtown Los Angeles come up with strange yet unique combinations of toppings, which lends well to the name of the business. On Sundays only, visitors can snag this carb mountain known as the Macaroni & Cheese Pizza, which has tomato sauce, elbow macaroni, and four cheeses: asiago, fontina, cheddar, and grana padano. Order a slice for $4, or take home a whole pie for $28. Either way, after eating this, you will probably feel like running a marathon to burn off all those carbs.

3. Pellicola Pizzeria‘s Nutella Pie

Since a young age, I often favored sweet toppings over the desserts themselves. Examples include condensed milk (Lechera), peanut butter, and hazelnut spread (Nutella). Although the public sees Nutella as children’s food, many adults still appreciate the chocolatey spread, albeit it contains no real nutritional value. The creators at Pellicola Pizzeria in Downtown Los Angeles love Nutella so much that they adapted in into their menu with a Nutella Pie. Resembling a quesadilla more so than a pie, this slice of heaven contains sliced almonds and a generous amount of Nutella, and gets topped with powdered sugar and more Nutella. Munch into a slice for $3.50, or take home a whole pie to save for later or to share – a medium pie costs $13, while a large pie costs $17.

2. The Compass‘ Cast Iron Baked Macaroni & Cheese w/ Braised Beef Short Rib

Despite the excessive carb count, macaroni and cheese holds a dear spot in the hearts of many. Even my sister, a fitness fanatic who abstains from carbs, cannot resist a succulent mac & cheese. So when I discovered what The Compass in Carlsbad had on their menu, I knew right away I had to broadcast the fact. Their menu contains standard gastropub faire, but something else about their Cast Iron Baked Macaroni & Cheese jumped out to my eyes: the option to add Braised Beef Short Rib. This one addition alone turned this dish up to one past ten. Sadly, this costs so much for a small serving, but when you focus on quality over quantity, you can splurge yourself once in a while.

1. Sarita’s Pupuseria‘s Pupusas

Until I discovered Vchos Truck, I had never heard of a Pupusa in my entire life. Once I tried a pupusa from that truck, I retained that taste in the back of my mind until the day I could find the best authentic pupusa ever. My search landed me at Sarita’s Pupuseria in the heart of Grand Central Market in Downtown Los Angeles. I have tried many pupusas all over Southern California, but none other compares to these ones. The customer favorite, revueltas, contains pork, beans, and cheese. As a purist, I go for just pork in my pupusas, as the beans and cheese can interfere with the savoriness of the pork. You do not even need any sauce – the fillings contain so much flavor that you will want to get right back in line and order more to eat right there and take home the rest.

Over the years, many food trucks come and go, proving that only the strong survive. Granted, a handful of terrible food trucks still exist today, but for every few bad food trucks that open, a star rises from the depths. Opening a winning food truck usually involves launching a concept so unique that a restaurant would not feasibly imitate the idea. With the arrival of Spring, businesses in many different industries start to open up and plan for greater business. Restaurants dole out new menus, bars kick up drink specials, bands book new shows & tours, and food trucks awake from hibernation. Winter brings slow business to many food trucks, so many owners opt to remain dark throughout winter. But when the weather warms up, customers eagerly seek out the food trucks, so they start rolling out more frequently. Check out these five food trucks in the Greater Los Angeles Area that have braved the harsh winter to remain open selling their delicious eats. If these food trucks can stand the test of time, who knows what direction the owners plan to head in next.

5. Vchos Truck

Taquito & Mixed Pupusas

People colloquially know food trucks as luxe loncheras, loosely translated as taco truck. The typical luxe lonchera serves standard Mexican food: tacos, burritos, quesadillas, tortas, and more similar foods. A luxe lonchera may not always serve just Mexican food – just to mix it up, they usually serve American standards, like burgers and sandwiches. If you seek authentic food, a luxe lonchera may not earn a high spot on a list of places to search. However, Vchos Truck aims to stick close to their Salvadorean roots with their hand-made pupusas. This Salvadorean food consists of thick tortillas filled with any of various fillings that may contain any combination of meat, cheese, or beans. The folks at Vchos hand-make fresh gluten-free corn tortillas to order, and fill them with your choice of fillings, such as chicken or pork. Vegetarians may also enjoy meatless options, while vegans can enjoy a bean pupusa or other specials upon request. Although pupuserías exist everywhere throughout Los Angeles, no one else serves pupusas on a food truck but Vchos. Get your pupusa fix by tracking down Vchos Truck this season.

4. Ta Bom Truck

Coxinhas (3) + Brigadero (1)

Thanks to the gourmet food truck movement, the definition of a luxe lonchera has expanded to encompass more than just a taco truck, or some other food truck that serves Mexican food. Specifically, we can thank chefs like Roy Choi, founder of Kogi BBQ, for bearing the vision to start something so different yet so terrific. A food truck serving Salvadorean food only seems logical as the next step in the evolution of the luxe lonchera, but the expansion does not stop there! Head down further south to find entirely new cultures in South America… or track down Ta Bom Truck for their wonderful Brazilian street food. Los Angeles’ first and currently only Brazilian food truck serves street food Brazilian style, such as their pastels (filled fried pastries) or the Hamburgao. However, if you can visit Ta Bom only once, you must order their signature item – the Coxinha. These teardrop-shaped treats start with a filling of shredded chicken and cream cheese, which get wrapped in potatoes, then battered and fried. Coxinhas come in two varieties – original and spicy. Each Coxinha costs $3, but you can order three of them plus a soda for $10, or six of them for $15. I highly recommend ordering the six, as you can easily reheat them at home. Experience why I call these Coxinhas “little drops of heaven” by locating Ta Bom, which usually only opens for lunch, and seldom for dinner.

3. The Viking Truck

Yes, a repeat entry! When a food truck makes it onto a list twice within a 12-month span, believe me when I say this food truck deserves your patronage. Already open for just over a year, The Viking Truck means business this year with their BRAND NEW TRUCK. This new truck comes equipped with FOUR fryers, meaning they can crank out up to four times as many corn dogs or tots. You will not find a better corn dog anywhere else. I used to swear by the corn dogs at Disneyland, such as the Little Red Wagon or Corn Dog Castle. However, one can only acquire those by gaining admission into the theme park, then shelling out another $5-6 for the corn dog. With the Viking Truck, you do not have to pay to stand in line at the truck – you simply walk up to the line! And you also get choices on your corn dog instead of just the beef hot dog! For a psychedelic taste journey, order the Terrorbird (Chicken Apple Sausage Corn Dog) with their Curry Ketchup. This will remind you of a pancake & sausage on a stick, just like those found in junior high/middle school. As an aside, look on their Facebook page to learn the fate of the old truck.

2. Meet ‘N Potatoes

White Truffle Aioli Burger

Surviving in the food truck industry today relies heavily on making friends with all the other players in the industry. Prior to opening a food truck, owners must meet other owners and workers, and learn about the industry’s movers & shakers. Back in January 2011, after months of meeting the right people, Meet ‘N Potatoes finally opened their doors to a highly competitive field. Nobody ever claimed an easy opening of a food truck, so even with the right resources, expect a rocky start. The folks at Meet ‘N Potatoes appear to strategically plan their next moves though, as they remain ahead of trends and curves, and remain a solid food truck today. Meet ‘N Potatoes bears a simple menu – their sandwiches contain the same ingredients across the board, and the customer only has to choose the size of the sandwich and the meat. They carry daily specials, but their White Truffle Aioli Burger has remained a special for over a year. Regardless of its status as a special, you should immediately go for this item over their standard menu, since you cannot find a sauce like this anywhere else. Because of the layering, the sauce almost gets absorbed into the burger, which further amplifies the sauce and the patty. Unlike the standard menu, this burger only comes in one size. Although that means the burger could feed two, after one bite, you may not want to share this burger after all. Discover the consumption of fries in your sandwich by order a sandwich from Meet ‘N Potatoes this season.

1. Dos Chinos

Hollywood Chicken Burrito

The evolution of the luxe lonchera comes full circle, bringing tastes from the east to the kitchens of the west. With such a melting pot culture, California sees more than just social intermingling – Californians love to combine aspects of all fields. We see that already in music, where some artists combine classical instruments with today’s contemporary music. We see that already in fashion, where vintage receives a modern update to create a faux-retro style. Now we see that in food, where chefs mix cuisine from two different cultures. Latin American cuisine seems to mix well with other cuisines, so when Dos Chinos acted on this concept, they bore a style that would catch on for years. Orange County’s premiere modern luxe lonchera rolls through the streets serving Asian food Latin-style. Thanks to the open canvases that Latin cuisine provides, Dos Chinos has thrown their Asian entrées onto a tortilla, and called it Genius. As such, customers receive multiple choices when ordering: pick a meat, then pick a preparation. Meats include coconut curry chicken, pork belly, BBQ beef, rib eye asada, garlic butter shrimp, and “breakfast style” which includes an egg. Per the customer’s choice, Dos Chinos will prepare the choice of meat as a taco, burrito, bowl, quesadilla, or papas fritas. Patrons love the choices, and they love the simplicity of the menu for carrying something familiar yet different but tasty all at the same time. Dos Chinos reigns as one of Orange County’s top food trucks, and their food clearly proves how they earned that position.