Los Angeles: Top 10 Grub Trucks

Everything in Los Angeles seems to be on wheels — including some of the best places to eat. Sadly, east-side favorite Taco Zone is out of commission following a fire — no one was harmed, just the tacos — and we look forward to returning to the Silver Lake staple soon. Meanwhile, today’s top contenders.

Kogi Korean BBQ – A blend of Mexican fare and Korean cooking, this truck has 31,000 stalkers via Twitter. With inventive cuisine like the Korean short ribs taco and taro chips made fresh daily, prepare to wait in line for an hour or more with the other disciples. ● The Green Truck – This eco-friendly taco truck serves locally grown, organic, sustainably raised meals and can even run on vegetable oil. But green doesn’t come cheap: The ahi poke tacos with citrus and cilantro marinade and pineapple salsa will set you back $11. ● Don Chow Tacos – Clearly inspired by Kogi, new-to-the-scene Don Chow Tacos pairs Mexican and Chinese cuisines. Try the soy-ginger tofu taco — tasty as it is trendy.

Nom Nom Truck – Owned and operated by a trio of UCLA grads, this summer the Nom Nom Truck will start serving Vietnamese faves like spring rolls and banh mi sandwiches, along with Viet tacos, to Angelenos on the Westside. ● Tacos La Fonda – La Fonda’s not on Twitter, but the $1 tacos, selection of salsa, and freshly made corn tortillas are well above meals-on-wheels standards. Find La Fonda in North Hollywood parked at the car wash on the corner of Vineland and Vanowen. ● El Chato Taco Truck – With a vague 1am closing time, El Chato serves up the perfect fifth meal after a night of barhopping. It’s the standard menu: asada (beef), lengua (tongue), and pollo (chicken) tacos, for about a buck a piece. This little Los Angeles gem parks at 1013 S. La Brea at Olympic. ● La Estrella Taco Truck – Parked in Highland Park at York and Avenue 54, La Estrella serves up some of the best carne asada and pastor tacos in town; top it off with the smoky-style salsa, tasty and not too spicy. ● El Matador Taco Truck – The meat at El Matador is full of flavor without all the grease. Insider tip: request grilled onions. Find this Hollywood-based truck at Western and Lexington, sometimes open till 5ish in the morning, and prepare to be ravaged by the oh-so-spicy salsa. ● Sprinklesmobile – One of LA’s favorite sweet spots, Sprinkles is the latest addition to the city’s traveling dessert craze. The Sprinklesmobile serves red velvet, lemon coconut, banana dark chocolate, and other cupcakes for $4 a piece. And who knows? Maybe a cupcake taco is in the future. ● El Pique Taco Truck – The service can be so-so, but the fresh cucumber slices, radishes, and limes paired with the usual suspects (asada, chicken, carnitas, lengua, and more) make for a unique touch. Check out El Pique in Highland Park at York and Ave 53.

Los Angeles: One Day in Silver Lake

If Los Angeles were a band, Hollywood would be the showy lead singer. And Silver Lake would be the understated, contemplative bassist — the George Harrison of LA neighborhoods. Here’s how to spend a day in this artsy section of the city.

Breakfast: Start your day with one of the scrambles — Benedict or Florentine — at Millie’s, where they do everything the pain-in-the-ass, old-fashioned way: by hand and from scratch.

Walk: Think nobody walks in LA? Well, you’re probably right. But if you head down to the Silver Lake Reservoir, you’ll find plenty of locals cruising the newly opened walking path or sunning in the three-and-a-half-acre meadow, all part of a $2.1 million “all natural” project.

Sip: The coffee gurus at Intelligentsia have brought caffeination to another level — the beans are grown with the same care and commitment that artisanal farmers have for heirloom vegetables. The coffee’s also brewed by the cup rather than a whole batch, and there’s a seasonal lineup of featured brews and beans. So sip some socially and environmentally sustainable coffee, and you’ll feel superior to the Hollywood hype.

Lunch: Go Local for lunch at veteran chef Jason Michaud’s latest LA venture. Michaud’s so serious about serving local, organic ingredients, he named his restaurant for it. The organic salad bar, priced by the pound, offers plenty of greens and protein, and the menu is limited but eclectic, focusing on sandwiches and burgers for $11. There’s no beef hamburger, alas, as Michaud couldn’t find any California-raised beef he liked.

Shop: Mercado owners and longtime Silver Lakers Michelle Weaver and Chelsea Iovino traveled the world to bring rare merchandise to their modern Silver Lake shop. Los Angeles-based designers are also on the shelves, including Denise Plumb’s mysteriously soft tees and Jennifer Herwitt’s creepy-beautiful insect-inspired jewelry. The exotic doesn’t come cheap, but Mercado is worth a browse, and if you’re lucky, a splurge.

Cruise: If you want to buy (or just pine after) a vintage bike, check out Illuminati Motorcycles. Owner Barron has racer-style motorcycles for $2,500 and under, and a couple bikes are always parked on the corner of Sunset and Vendome, drawing hipsters on the way to shows at the Silverlake Lounge.

Dinner: Sure, neighborhood taquería Malo has become a much-less-secret spot since Brad Pitt showed up, but only those in the know order the off-menu “chewy chips,” a softer (and certainly more fattening) version of tortilla chips. The hipster-approved fare includes ground beef and pickle tacos and dangerously delicious fruit-infused top-shelf tequila.

Drink: Styled after a glammed-up 70s truck stop, Stinkers is kitsch and a half — mirrored walls lined with 5,000 vintage beer cans, cutouts of Burt Reynolds, and wall-mounted skunks (some with trucker hats). If you hear someone on the CB, a bartender is likely about to pull a cord causing a row of skunk butts to spray an odorless mist, giving new meaning to “drunk as a skunk.”
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Los Angeles: Top 10 Desserts

image1. Frittelli’s Doughnuts & Coffee (Beverly Hills) – Designer doughnuts in a variety of tastes, shapes, and sizes (think PB&J and butterscotch drizzle). Treats are made fresh daily, and for about a buck a piece, you can easily buy a few with your leftover laundry money. 2. Murano (West Hollywood) – Murano’s menu and dessert list recently underwent an authentic Italian overhaul, adding tiramisu and ricotta-style cheesecake. 3. Toast (Mid-City West) – The red velvet cake will change your life — and so might a chance run-in with one of the many Hollywood heavyweights who brunch here.

4. The Waffle (Hollywood) – Open way past bar close (4:30 a.m. on weekends), you can sober up with a baked hot chocolate or a sticky bun waffle before bed. 5. Luna Park (Mid-City West) – End a trendy meal with a do-it-yourself dessert. The s’mores come complete with a tiny flame brought to your table for perfectly toasted marshmallows — just watch your hair. 6. Osteria Mozza (Hollywood) – A fancy-shmancy splurge, rosemary olive oil cakes top the dessert list. 7. Lark Cake Shop (Silver Lake) – The ample array of cupcakes at this modern bakery includes chocolate-, caramel-, and mocha-tastic flavors. 8. Scoops Ice Cream (Koreatown) – The ever-evolving menu includes unique pairings like salty chocolate and Corona and lime, along with the usual suspects — strawberry cheesecake, brown bread, and several fruity flavors. 9. Axe (Venice) – The huge portions of homemade bread and chocolate-brownie puddings are well worth the $5 price tag. 10. Gyenari Korean BBQ & Lounge (Culver City) – This upscale Korean eatery focuses on light seasonal treats like the homemade shaved-ice trifle topped with fresh fruit and mango ice cream. Almost sounds healthy.

Los Angeles: Top 10 Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurants

image1. Cru (Silver Lake) – With inspired vegetarian, vegan, and raw cuisine, Cru offers healthy eats without the oven. 2. Real Food Daily (West Hollywood) – The organic vegan cuisine attracts full- and part-time vegetarians — and its fair share of diet-conscious celebrities. 3. Flowering Tree (West Hollywood) – The five-page menu is packed with organic vegetarian and vegan options, as well as a few meats shipped in fresh from family farms for the carnivores.

4. Vegan Glory (Mid-City West) – Vegan ingredients meet Thai fusion for under $11 a plate in this corner café. 5. Govinda’s Natural Foods (Culver City) – The $7 vegan and vegetarian buffet proves that “all you can eat” and “healthy” aren’t mutually exclusive. 6. M Cafe de Chaya (West Hollywood) – The macrobiotic-and-more menu might have you joining the dietary ranks of Princess Paltrow. 7. Inn of the Seventh Ray (San Fernando Valley) – The Inn turns vegan into a white-tablecloth affair — along with a variety of organic meat and meat-free items, they offer alcohol-free wines, but we’re not sure why. 8. Real Raw Live (Hollywood) – Shake it at this smoothie-centric shop serving raw and vegan concoctions, including the infamous Master Cleanse in a bottle. 9. Seed Kitchen (Venice) – Along with vegan and macrobiotic fare, this restaurant is all about ecological sustainability — no microwaves or even nonstick pans here. 10. California Vegan (West Hollywood) – A variety of organic apps, wraps, curries, and specials delivered right to your door.