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Food Spots That Made Our Mouths Water in 2017

In Los Angeles, we're lucky to have a diversity of food within a few miles' drive. In a few minutes, we can chow down on delicious tacos al pastor or savor on Romanian cuisine. Here are some food spots (because the food scene in L.A. is more than just restaurants) that made it to our must-go list this year. Click on the links to follow the story. 

Izakaya Culture Brought to Los Angeles

Charles Namba and Courtney Kaplan, the couple behind Echo Park's Tsubaki, have always loved the culture of izakaya but found Los Angeles lacking in these Japanese taverns. Watch the full episode on Japanese cuisine in Los Angeles on "The Migrant Kitchen" and see how they've brought the hospitality and warmth of the Japanese izakaya to Echo Park.

 

Indian Fare with a Hip-Hop Flare

Indian restaurants are not just white tablecloths and eat-all-you-can buffet affairs. They are lively, vibrant and full of energy — just like a toe-tapping Bollywood movie. Discover Badmaash and their irreverent, playful take on Indian food on this episode of "The Migrant Kitchen."

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You Can Find Mexican Seafood, Micheladas and Live Music Hidden in a Backyard in Watts

 Camarones culiches and ceviche mixto | Danny Jensen

As most adventurous eaters in L.A. know, finding your food can be as much of the experience as eating it. That’s certainly the case at Mariscos Doña Mary, which has been quietly turning out Mexican seafood specialties to hungry fans for over a decade.

 

Israeli Embraces the American Dream with Underground Barbecue in Studio City

Trudy's brisket slices | Eddie Lin Trudy's Underground BBQ

In Studio City, a clandestine barbecue operation is in progress. It's one man's homage to his harrowing immigrant experience and to the global art of expertly burning meat.

 

Before There Was A Modern Mexican Movement, There Was Babita Mexicuisine

LA Mexicano Babita Roasted Papaya and Cilantro Soups | Staci Valentine

When celebrated food critic Jonathan Gold first came across Chef Roberto Berrelleza’s now-shuttered La Moderna in 1992, he wrote, “La Moderna's food, prepared by a true restaurant maniac, is among the best Mexican food in Los Angeles.” Berrelleza now helms Babita Mexicuisine, which uses French technique on Mexican ingredients like epazote, huitlacoche and chilorio.

 

The Filipino Sweet Ingredient That's Taking Over Your Dessert Table

Cafe 86 makes 50 ube-flavored products. | Marnette Federis

Cafe 86 has more than 50 menu items that incorporate ube, this purple yam ingredient that's making waves all over the country's culinary scene.

 

Complex Mexican Dishes In Cupcake Form

 Hot cheeto cupcake | Viva Los Cupcakes

Inspired by memories of the markets in Tijuana and her days in the kitchen with her sweet-toothed mother, Karina Jimenez launched Viva Los Cupcakes with Mexican flavors like tamal con mole, horchata and cafe de olla never before explored this sweet form.

Luscious Dumplings' Second Generation Owners Are Offering a Delicious Twist to Their Traditional Dish

Boiled Uni Dumpling

When Ker Zhu and Michelle Wu opened up the second branch of Luscious Dumplings, they knew immediately that they wanted to try something a little different. Uni dumplings and cheese potstickers are simply a delicious, firm-footed step in that direction. 

 

Serving Taiwanese Food in Silver Lake: The Story of Pine & Crane

Pine and Crane

A successful restaurant does not happen overnight. Vivian Ku's long journey to open Pine & Crane in Silver Lake was built on family history, farming and education as well as experience working in the kitchen of an iconic California restaurant.

 

A James Beard-Nominated Author's Korean-Mexican Food Hidden in a Swapmeet

Kimchi grilled cheese, Korean torta and bibimbap at Nabi | Danny Jensen

Quietly tucked inside of a bustling swapmeet in East Hollywood, you’ll find Nabi, a fast-casual counter serving Korean comfort fare with a Mexican twist. It is owned by a James Beard Award-nominated author of both Korean and Mexican cookbooks.

 

Friends & Family is Upgrading Breakfast with Local Heirloom Grains in Thai Town

 Pastries at Friends & Family | Jules Exum
Pastries at Friends & Family | Jules Exum

At Friends & Family, a new all-day eatery in East Hollywood, celebrated pastry chef Roxana Jullapat is introducing L.A. to a wider diversity of locally-grown, heirloom grains with her sweet and savory baked goods. 

Top Image: Ray Garcia's Lamb Neck Tamal from Broken Spanish | Courtesy of Life & Thyme

 

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