Been far too long since Erik's last visit to LA. Might as well go whole hog, first stop was Canter's Deli for the old school, yellowing-paint-on-walls, pastrami and corned beef. Food isn't the best- in fact it's downright so-so compared to Langer's or Wexler's- but they're open late and were a suitably OG way to start an LA visit.
Immediate segue to the nearby El Chato truck for some of the best Mexican street tacos around. The line wasn't too bad mid-week and there's ample parking within a block or so, too. Buche, tripa, lengua are all awesome. Wash 'em down with a Mexican coke or a horchata, I think it cost me all of $4. Definitely worth it. Had a dram of The Hakashu 12 when we got home, very strong scents of asian pear and fruit, quite good, if not quite as strongly flavored and more on the smooth side.
Lunch the next day later was a so-so meal at Dina's Cafe in Westwood. Brand-new place, excellent emapandas, but the sandwiches (the Cuban and the roast beef) were decidedly underwhelming. Something about the veggies and cheese they use just didn't compliment anything, and the roast beef, while a thick cut, was not very well seasoned. The sauces they had were only so-so as well; the chimichurri was decidedly mediocre.
Slogged through Friday evening traffic to Five Star Seafood in San Gabriel to catch dinner with Constant plus some of Erik and Dawn's friends, Michael and his wife Mariko. We managed to devour the entire order (!), including an excellent dry beef chow fun and some equally good duck, before heading to downtown LA to hang out at Michael and Mariko's place.
They had nice view of DTLA in a very modern loft. Throw in some drinks and an interesting game based on the Jenga concept called Chairs and it was an enjoyable evening, even if Erik's parking skills were frayed by LA parking lots!
Final wrap-up at Volcano Tea because we weren't feeling like any more drinking, for milk tea and Taiwanese popcorn chicken. Mmmmmmmmmmm...