Let’s say that I had to spend my entire day in Downtown Los Angeles, and I could choose ANY Three Eateries in that area at which to have my Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner meals.
I took me about two minutes to make my decisions. I will add that these choices reflect my own personal taste of what I find to be the most delicious, satisfying, consistent quality, service, value and atmosphere. I’m not trying to name the Best of “L.A.”, this is more like the Best of “AL”. Also, most people will understand when I say that, even if I had unlimited funds to go anywhere I wished, I would still pick these same places. So, here are my picks……..


3026 S. Figueroa St.
•    My Order: Omelette MexicanaAy Cabron! this is good. Hot, fluffy, fresh & spicy! avocado slices in the salsa that smothers this beautiful dish. Eat the eggs first, because if you fill up on the irresistibly creamy, fresh real-tasting refried beans or the hot crispy on the outside, gently seasoned home style potatoes or even the warm and thick hand made tortillas. Visit the salsa bar and splash your huevos with any of the dozen or so huge bowls of various fresh authentic, tasty salsas.
•    My Drink: They make real “Liquados” with fresh fruits and milk. I go for the strawberry/banana.


1001 N. Alameda St.
•    My Order: Beef Dip (double-dipped) with Swiss Cheese. Sides of sliced kosher dill pickle and macaroni salad. If I’m feeling piggy, I’ll add a bowl of Beef Stew or Chili.
•    My Drink: Lemonade
•    Dessert: (I rarely have enough room for dessert, but if I must: Chocolate Cream Pie)
Alternate Lunch choices:
1013 Alpine St.
The #3 Italian Sausage, Meatball, Cooked Peppers & Cheese Sandwich

“LANGER’S DELICATESSEN” 704 So. Alvarado St.
Pastrami on Rye with Deli Mustard


337 E. 1st St.
•    The Curry Udon Bowl is out of this world. I’d also go for their House Special or the Suriyaki.
•    Drink: Tea
•    Dessert: Plum Wine Ice Cream.
•    Note: Near the counter they have a space where numerous past customers have taped up notes leaving little messages behind. Look for the delightfully inappropriate one that simply reads: “Viva Mexico, Cabrones!”

Alternate Dinner Choices:
“LA LUZ DEL DIA”, Olvera Street
The Picadillo Plate
Also, years ago there was an Italian Restaurant on Broadway in Chinatown named “LITTLE JOE’S”. If it still existed, would be one of my choices.

Here are my choices for other parts of town:
The Eastside: Ciros, El Tepeyac, La Barca de Jalisco
Los Feliz: Yuca’s, Mako, Palermos
Hollywood: Greco’s Pizza, Raja, Hoy’s Wok
Silver Lake/Echo Park: Alegria on Sunset,  Pho Café, El Cochinito, Song Hay Inn
San Gabriel Valley: Titos Market, Mandarin Noodle House, Tokyo Lobby

I must add that I believe it would be physically impossible for me to actually eat at all of these great places in one day. My stomach couldn’t handle that much of a good thing and it would probably spoil that special quality of visiting one’s favorite restaurant as an occasional treat. But, my ulterior motive for this post is also to get some reader’s responses as to what their three Downtown & Out-of-Downtown eateries would be. Which three would you choose?

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About AlDesmadre

Al Guerrero, Artist/Humorist. Los Angeles, CA. Born in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico and raised in East Los Angeles from the age of two, Al Guerrero grew up just steps from the famous Chicano strip, Whittier Boulevard. His youth experiences include witnessing and participating in the 1970 Chicano Power demonstrations, cruising cars on Whittier Boulevard, and graduating from Garfield High School. After dropping out of UCLA (with honors), he drew upon his lifelong passion for art and cartooning and pursued a career in graphic arts. During this period, he traveled overseas and found artistic inspiration from the masterworks he discovered within the European Art Museums. His career blossomed when he was eventually hired by the Walt Disney Company in 1995, where he worked as a creative artist for a number of years. Although the artistic work was rewarding, he eventually grew weary & disillusioned with the bureaucracy of the entertainment business, and left to work briefly in the educational field. His credits include producing a feature film with actor, Conrad Brooks of Ed Wood fame, founding and performing with the Punk Rock group “The Psychocats” at numerous L.A. & Hollywood venues during the 1990’s, and in 1999 he founded and created a hell-bent puppet cabaret show aptly named: “The Puppets from Hell”. As a long time active member of the Los Angeles Cacophony Society, Al “Quaeda”, as he was known, was involved in countless Cacophony Society pranks and events throughout the city. He also produced the “Incredibly Strange Cinema” cult film series as well as themed events such as the now infamous “Pornothon Movie Nights” and the satirical “Mexican Night: Noche De Tequila & Putas” shows at local nightclub venues. Throughout his art career, he has exhibited his canvas paintings at various local galleries, and has also written & illustrated numerous comic strips and Graphic Novel stories. Today, he lives in Silver Lake, California and works as a freelance artist and writer with numerous multi-media projects under his belt and in the works. His personal hobbies include collecting vintage toys and comic books, cinema history and Los Angeles City history. Contact: alguerrero@earthlink.net Al Guerrero P.O. Box 29697 Los Angeles, CA 90029-0697 www.alguerrero.com Myspace.com/thepuppetsfromhell

14 thoughts on “3 FAVORITE MEALS

  1. I’m so glad this post didn’t involve eating those cute little pigs. I was afraid to click thru! 🙂

    I used to love Angelique Cafe but last few times, not so much.
    I like Clifton’s but I guess I don’t eat much downtown.

    Metro area (Echo Park, Silver Lake, Hollywood)
    Pure Luck-the bbq “pork” sandwich, totally vegan
    Antequera Oaxaca-try their tortas and memlitas
    Khun Dom Thai-forget the pad thai go for the curries

    Huarachitos-mole enchiladas
    La Llamarada-veggie burritos
    Hecho en Mexico-nopales
    La Tia
    El Huarache Azteca (I’m a recent convert)
    so much more!

    Happy Family (the other one)
    Mr Baguette
    Islamic Chinese
    Bean Sprouts (yum!!!!!!!!!!!)

    Jay Bharat (I wish I was eating their Gujarati Thali plate right now!)

    Asi Soy Tacos!

    Gotta stop, too hungry!

  2. Chimatli- Thanks for the great choices! I’ll be trying some of those! As an omnivore, I can appreciate the good veg places too! btw- I love Clifton’s but I must say I think the atmosphere is much better than the food. I’ve been to both Alegria & Hauarache Azteca in HP and have tasted good & bad at both. Sometimes it comes down to WHAT you order or what your personal taste is, for example: some people love Chico’s in HP, but I thought it sucked- so there you go. I chose Alegria for Breakfast, with their “Mule Mountain Scramble” cuz it’s always good and not too greasy like next door at Millies. Also, I found that Madame Matisse down on the corner does great breakfasts as well (homemade marmalade!).

  3. Al Desmadre, I like most of your choices and wouldn’t disagree on any especially Langers pastrami’s with those unbeatable kosher pickles on the table, Phillipe’s for sure, my choice is the lamb sandwich, cole slaw, and pickled egg. For Italian Sandwich’s I’ll take one from Lanza Bros Market (Ave. 17 and N. Main) with chopped pepperoncini’s in it,so good I always order two. Fisherman’s Outlet on Alameda for my seafood fix, for Chinese (which you didn’t mention in Chinatown) I go for the funky yet great Hop Woo on N Broadway and the excellent Peking Duck with one of their great soups.
    On the Eastside I agree with El Tepeyac for one of Manuel’s Burritos but for breakfast (Huevos Rancheros) I’ll always prefer Ciro’s big plate with the great salsa de aguacate on the table and a cold dos equis beer.
    When I want a great plate of machaca con huevos I head directly to La Abeja on N Fig and Pasadena Ave.
    When I don’t give a shit about the food but have gana’s for a big ass good Margarita I go to Manuel’s El Sombrero on York Blvd in Highland Park, (I heard it’s closing, anyone know if it’s true?)
    For a Burger I go to Tommy’s or Pete’s Blue Chip on Colorado in Eagle Rock where they also have big whopping Pastrami’s on a roll.
    And since you mentioned Japanese Al I have to tell you that as a big fan of sashimi and sushi I drive all the way out to Canoga Park where a small joint called The Sushi Inn (8242 De Soto) has the best and freshest seafood, and the owner Jason Lee and son are the best Japanese trained Sushi Chefs you will find. For a real treat ask him to make you a special oyster shooter, which consists of Sake, chile and soy sauce, quail eggs, smelt roe, and fresh raw oysters floating in it, Ai mi paro!

    PS Thanks for the “La Taquiza” tip, I got to get down there cause that omelette sounds delicious.

  4. PS, I almost forgot “Hockey Burger” on Soto and Washington when I am craving something greasy and good.
    And the boxing greats movies they show sometimes are the bomb.

  5. Silver Lake-ish within walking distant of the #2 buss line:
    Breakfast- Algeria on Sunset,
    Lunch- Brite Spot veggie chili
    Dinner- Palermo’s, pasta with marinara and salad with ranch dressing.

  6. Al, yeah most of my places are choices based on their veg options. However, China Islamic (sorry I was writing fast and inverted the name) is known for their excellent meat dishes (no pork). They also make the best egg rolls which are like a cross between Chinese and Indian influences.

  7. Don Q- Thanks for your awesome reply! I’m taking notes of the places you’ve mentioned. You’re right- I did leave out Chinatown, I go there for Dim Sum (Ocean Seafood Restaurant) and Empress Pavilion for Braised Chicken in Black Bean Sauce.
    There used to be a great bar in Chinatown called Yimee Lu’s for drinks. It’s gone now.
    And speaking of Sandwiches: My faves are:
    Meatball at Palermos
    Meatball, Sausage & Peppers at Giamelas(!!!) Los Feliz
    Santoro’s Sandwiches in Burbank
    The Chicken Milanese Sandwich at Bay Cities Italian Deli in Santa Monica (Best ever!)
    I also like the Torta Cubana at El Gallo Giro. (It’s Monstrous!)
    For Burgers I like:
    Farmer Boys, Downtown
    The Hat (Pastrami too)
    Carney’s, Hollywood
    Steve’s Burgers, on Victory in Burbank
    I also love The Hockey Burger, I was friends with owner Mike Chitjian for years! a real sports nut.

    My last visit to La Taquiza, I asked if I could get a side of Ham with my Huevos, and the owner came out from the kitchen and barked “Jamon NO! No es estilo autentico Mexicano! En Mexico no se acostumbra Jamon con el desayuno!” I thought “WTF?”, oh well, if the owner says “NO JAMON”, then estoy Fregado. Later, I was walking out to my car and the owner happened to be out there too. He spotted me and yelled across the Parking Lot at me: “NO JAMON!” (true story)

  8. Al Desmadre,

    I like going to La Taquiza for their “Mulitas” and I agree that they have a great salsa bar, but I would not dare put salsa on my huevos — sounds too painful. Anyway, if I’m ever there for breakfast, I’ll ask for a side of “jamón” just for laughs. The owner sounds like a viejo renegado.

    Here in East LA I like going to Chago’s – Tortas Ahogadas — good hot salsa, not stupid hot, meaning spicy and no taste, the meat is very tender. They also have tacos de papa for the vegeterian type. I usually have a torta and 2 tacos de papa with more meat on top of them. If you’re a “Club America” fan, you are still welcomed there, but be ready to see Chivas all over the place. 6426 Whittier Blvd. 90022

    Chronis for a great chili dog. 5825 Whittier Blvd. 90022

  9. Urb- Thanks, I’ll check out Chago’s.
    Chroni’s IS great for chili dogs. My favorite Hot Dogs are from (believe it or not) Costco’s and this Hot Dog place at the Glendale Galleria next to the Mongolian Bowl, and Skoobies.

  10. AlDesmadre, you almost brought tears to my eyes when you mentioned Yee Mee Lo’s. I spent many hours there at that little bar which was one of the greatest in all LA.
    The jukebox was the best and had everything from Tommy Dorsey’s “Song of India” to Jackie Wilsons “Lonely Teardrops” To Big Jay McNeely’s “There is something on your Mind”. The Chinese bartender “Richard” would put an incense stick on the Buddha behind that awesome wooden bar for luck and a buck and then you could always place a bet on the longshot at Santa Anita with one of the regular bookies that were always there.
    Richards Mai Tai’s were to die for and I sometimes felt like I did when he floated that 150 proof Meyers Rum on your drink.
    Across the street had been the Dragon Inn where they had the best Won Ton Soup around and then there was the best Chinese seafood period “Mon Kee’s”
    All gone now after some typical “Developer” bought it all out and leveled it for one of those nondescript and ugly mini malls.
    What a shame but I had some good times there, thanks for refreshing my memory AlDesmadre.

  11. Don Q- You’re excellent taste in what’s really good (and what used to be really good)
    in this town is very evident by your last response. Yeemee Lu’s was one of a kind allright. I agree, Mon Kees was the best. I also remember that over on Ord street across from Phillipes, there was this little Buddhist place filled with candles. It had an open archway door where the resident monk would light incense and have white doves standing on his shoulders. If you went in there he would give you slips of paper with Lucky numbers, Lotto & races, etc. for a small donation.

  12. I know the place Al, right around the corner form YEE Me Lu’s, the Monk told me one time, after I gave him a couple of bucks, “You have two business in life! You live 86 year old!
    The bookies and the bartender Richard at Yee Me Lu’s would tell me “He rip off, better you give me money, I tell you better fortune, bet everything Rubbish Man in 6th race at Santa Anita tomorrow”.
    But funny thing is I am now thinking about a second business after 25 years having my own business in the construction industry, Uh Oh! “You live 86 years old!”, shit the sand is running out of the hour glass!

  13. Al- For me it would have to be the “Pantry” for breakfeast, Sourdough Toast, Thick Sliced HAM that practically covers the plate, potatoes, and that fresh squeezes orange juice! Lunch would be at “Cole’s”, a hand carved pastrami (not the stringy stuff Cronis’ serves)and a macaroni salad, I wash that down with a Dad’s Rootbeer!! Dinner will be at Olvera St, Cielito Lindo, 6 taquitos, and a Coke.

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