Drink on the Cheap, Because it’s Raining People of Seattle, stop reading now before you get angry. In the beachy South Bay area of LA, not only is rain a rarity for 10 months of the year, but Rock & Brews in El Segundo offers 2 for 1 beers on when it rains. This seems more of a goodwill gesture toward regulars than a marketing gambit, because on rainy days, people aren’t likely to hit the beach – they’d rather hole up in their local and have a few beers. This place has 52 on draft – one for every week of the year.
Raw Food School Raw food chef Matthew Kenny takes the whole raw lifestyle to the next level at M.A.K.E. in Santa Monica. Not only is this a restaurant, it’s an academy that educates people in the “plant-based cuisine” that is Kenney’s current specialty, as well as classic raw food techniques. With communal seating at the bar, an omakase-style menu option and a “commercial living foods kitchen” where classes are held most days of the week, this place aims to become a West Coast hub for raw food – or as Kenney now refers to it, “living food.”
BYO Veg In a bid to out-Portlandia the actual city of Portland, Silverlake favorite Forage invites local gardeners to bring their own produce to the restaurant, where chefs will incorporate it into specialty dishes. Actually, you don’t even have to be a local gardener – just pull something out of the backyard and see whether it’s fit to cook. This thankfully, is not the main way that Forage gets its ingredients. It sources from local farmers and markets, thereby achieving consistent quality while still pulling off a hippie-potluck vibe.
Tacos, Any Time, Every Time Authentic Mexican tacos are a Los Angeles staple, a Holy Grail for visiting foodies, and most people’s favorite way to end a night of boozing. If you’re driving and not intimidated by a sketchy neighborhood, King Tacos in East LA gets the local vote as “hands-down best and LA legend.” They have the cabeza, they have the lengua…they also have the not-scary meats like chicken for the gringos. If you’re boozing it up in Hollywood, go to Cactus Taqueria on Vine – it’s convenient and open till at least 3AM.
Sriracha The year 2013 was a rollercoaster for Sriracha, the chili sauce produced by Huy Fong Foods in Irwindale (San Gabriel Valley, CA). Fans threw the first-ever L.A. Sriracha Festival, signaling just how popular the fiery condiment has become – and then a month later, the factory was partially shut down because Irwindale residents were complaining of fumes as bad as tear gas. The drama still rages on, and in the meantime, more and more Southland restaurants are putting Sriracha-laden specialties on menus, urging “Indulge before it disappears.”