Archive for May, 2011

Original Pantry- LA

Posted in junkfoodie Hall of Fame, SoCal on May 14, 2011 by junkfoodie

Steak and eggs at 3:00AM? No problem. Craving grilled pork chops, mashed potatoes and gravy first thing in the morning? Check. This authentically old school diner is open 24 hours, and whil not neccessarily in the under $10 range, the fact that you know you can always get a bite there any day any time qualifies this dDwontown LA landmaek as a junkfoodie Hall-of-Famer.

Country Fried Steak , housemade mashed potatoes, corn($14.50)

Grilled pork chops, hash browns and corn ($13.95)

The portions are huge, and the food is well made, albeit not neccessarily exciting. Portuguese sausage. eggs, hash browns, toast and coffee for $8.95 is something you can’t go wrong with. Anything off the grill or any of the breakfast items are safe bets. Some of the daily specials are worth trying, but are more hit and miss.

What you come here for is the convenience and dependability of a place that’s been open since 1924.You also come for the old school vibe. Some of the waiters look like they’ve been here since the place opened. A few things have changed since I started coming here. They used to plop down a platter of carrot sticks, celery sticks and pickles on a bed of ice cubes. That is gone, but they still feature their “Pantry Set Up”, which is a plate of runny cole slaw and sourdough bread and butter.

Cutting edge cuisine? No. Trendy upscale decor? No. Authentic character? Solid American diner food with huge portions? Yes and Yes. A junkfoodie Hall-of-Famer.

Tito’s Tacos-Culver City, CA

Posted in junkfoodie Hall of Fame, Road trip, SoCal on May 14, 2011 by junkfoodie

One of my favorite junkfoodie stops in the LA area is Tito’s Taco’s in Culver City. Culver City is one of my favorite junkfoodie cities anywhere, but that’s for another post. Tito’s is an old school Mexican-American taco stand that has been around seemingly forever, and is perpetually crowded, day or night. Forget about soft tacos al pastor, or tortas Milanesa here. This is strictly Mexican-American fast food in the best sense of the word. The beef filling is slowly simmered chili colorado; chunks of tender beef in a deep,  cinnamon colored sauce that’s not spicy at all, but extremely comforting. The tacos are filled with the beef into hard, fried on the premises taco shells, and then stuffed with shredded iceberg lettuce and, if you request it (make sure you do), shredded cheddar cheese. Delicious, almost retro, Mexican-American fast food at it’s best, and the tacos are like $1.70 each plus 50 cents for the cheese ($2.20) The beans for the burritos are your choice of refried, or refried. The beef, bean and cheese burrito costs a whopping $4.15, but is perect with the crunchy tacos to sooth your jaws after all that crunching. The house-fried chips are dumped into the box your food comes in, and is served with their “famous” slushy salsa. Perfect for drizzling onto the tacos.

Not even remotely trendy, Tito’s is the kind of Mexican food most Americans ate back in the ’60’s and ’70’s. It’s little more than a stand with 12 tables inside, and maybe 6 communal picnic tables outside on two patios. It’s always crowded in the 2 ordering lines inside and the 5 or 6 ordering lines outside, but the queues move fast. I’ve eaten here dozens of time, and every time, everyone around me looks very happy, which is always a good sign. A junkfoodie must-stop when in Culver City. Bonus points for sharing a parking lot (almost) with another junkfoodie favorite, Johnnie’s Pastrami (more on that later).