Author Archives: everybitecounts

About everybitecounts

Certified foodie all day and all of the night; successful music marketing and television production professional to pay the bills.

Tire Shop Taqueria

  
Tire Shop Taqueria has been an underground favorite in the Southland for a number of years. Their name originates  from setting up a pop up Taqueria, after hours, at parking lots of tire stores.  Diehard Taco finatics swear by this place even tho’ it isn’t easy to get to.

To find the Taqueria, set your google maps to route Avalon Blvd and East 40th Street in Los Angeles. It’s not the prettiest nor safest neighborhood, so bring a friend and park close by. Driving down the desolated strip of Avalon Blvd, follow the wonderful aroma of Carne Asada, which eventually leads  you to the best smelling parking lot. 

There’s always a huge line at Tire Shop Taqueria.

  

Their yummy  Corn Tortillas are made fresh, with love, on the premises. 

   
    
 

Watch your tasty meat being grilled as you salivate patiently in line.

   
   

There’s no menu, but Tire Shop Taqueria offers two types of meat: Carne Asada and Chorizo.  You can and should order their signature Tacos with either meat or a Tostada (open face or Sandwich style)

Backstage, there’s a well organized Taco Assembly Line, making the ordering process super quick and easy.

  
  

Tire Truck offers free fresh made Guacamole with your order. Now where else is that an option? 

  

They  also offer house made fresh Red Salsa, but man it is super duper spicy. I suggest getting it on the side or not at all.(pictured above Guacamole)

And if that isn’t enough… Tire Shop Taqueria also offers free cooked beans, onions and jalapeños.

Each taco is individually wrapped so it doesn’t fall apart or stick together. 

  

This is their take on a Tostada. I had mine with Carne Asada served sandwich style (grilled Tortilla and the top and bottom)

  

There are a few communal picnic tables to enjoy your meal.

Lastly, these rock star tacos are super cheap, clocking in at only $1.50 each! 

Tire Shop Taqueria is located at 4069 Avalon Blvd in LA.  

They  are open Thursday through Monday from 6 pm – 11 pm.  

No credit cards, cash only. 

  

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Revolutionario Tacos


Not too far away from DTLA lies an area near USC some  call South LA. It’s here that you’ll find what I think is LA’s best but not fully yet discovered Taco spot, “Revolutionario Tacos.”  This joint was also just named the Southland’s favorite in the annual Taco Madness tournament.

First off, Revolutionario does not serve traditional Tacos. So if you’re craving a cheap taco truck Al Pastor or Carne Asada Taco, this isn’t the place for you.

Instead, if you have a sophisticated, adventurous palate and love tacos, Revolutionario will bless your hungry belly with their one of a kind  North African Tacos.

Chef Farid Zadi creates unique cross border inventive tacos with bold flavors. I have yet to find such an eclectic tasty variety anywhere else.
 The taco choices are overwhelmingly delicious.  Selections include Duck Hash, Smoked Lamb, Pozole Tangine (vegetables, hominy, lamb, beef and chicken) Chickpea Tagine (spinach and sweet potatoes) Cilantro Yogurt Chicken, Black Eyed Pea Falafel, Beef Brisket Barbacoa and  Shakshouka (sweet peppers, tomatoes and egg)

Chef Zadhi’s suggested I order his signature Tacos.

The Duck Hash Taco

 
The Smoked Lamb Taco

 

I would’ve ordered more but had another eating engagement immediately following. My advice:  Bring a friend so you can try everything, even the tacos without meat.

To compliment your Tacos, there is a unique salsa and toppings bar.  My favorite is the Pineapple Kimchee… (3rd from the right), but honestly, these tacos are  so yummy and flavorful on their own, the toppings are not needed.  

Salads, Burrito bowls, Quesadillas and Sandwiches are also offered, but what you really want to order are the Tacos.

Revolutionario Tacos has creative fun artwork.

 

No alcohol, so order a fresh Agua Fresca with your Tacos.  Flavors vary weekly.

Revolutionario Tacos are cheap!  These delicacies range in price from $1.75 – $3.25. The tortillas are on the smaller side, but there is a pile of filling on top; making the Taco a hearty portion.

Bells and Whistles:

Clean and ample tables for eating , napkins and utensils, free water (no more water rationing) a proper bathroom (yes) and a free parking lot with limited spaces.

If you live far away or just don’t have it in you to drive to South LA,  save the visit for your next flight to or from LAX.  My most recent flight landed smack in the middle of rush hour, so this was a perfect way to break up the monotony of traffic with a delicious taco treat.

Credit cards are accepted but they prefer you don’t use Am Ex.

Revolutionario Tacos is located at 1436 West Jefferson Blvd, in Los Angeleson on the south side of the street.  Call them at 424-223-3526

They are closed on Mondays and open Tuesday through Sunday from  11:30 am – 9 pm.

  
 

 

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Randy’s Donuts

  
Donuts aren’t the healthiest option if you’re hankering for something sweet.   But sometimes you just gotta have one, because life is way too short.

When in LA and have that sugar craving, head on over to Randy’s Donuts.  It’s conveniently located en route to or from LAX, at the intersection of Manchester and La Cienega.  You can’t really miss the giant iconic donut, right in the parking lot.

  

 Eat one or two there; then take some to go for your long overnight fight!

  

Randy’s makes their donuts daily.  They offer an awesome variety and the usual favorites such as Glazed, Cake, Filled and Friters. The donuts at Randy’s are super delicious and fresh.  They range in price from $1-$3.00. Where else can you get donuts this cheap? 

My favorites are their signature raised Glazed Donuts 

 
Coconut raised Donut

 

And Orange (taste like Tang!) Cake Donut 

 

If you’re indecisive or need a user friendly photo description, ask to look at their laminated menu. 

  

Randy’s is open 24-7, has a parking lot and  a drive thru.  Cash only, no cards.

Get your donut fix at 805 West Manchester Blvd, Inglewood, CA. 

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How much BBQ can you eat in 5 days? 

I visit Austin at least once a year.  My number 1 priority is always BBQ – eating as much delicious smoked meat as I can possibly stomach in the short time I’m there.  Whatever is left over, I freeze and bring back to New York.  

Here’s a BBQ pictorial of my meaty 5 day binge from last month.

Day 1

Upon landing in Austin, head onto I-183 and drive straight to Lockhart.

Blacks BBQ

Been in business since 1929.  I personally prefer their side dishes over their BBQ.  It’s a nice atmosphere and always filled with locals…  but I like smelling and watching the meat cook while I wait, which you can’t do here.    

   
Pick a few sides…

  
 They do have some killer desserts tho.  

Banana Pudding!

  Sweet Potato Soufflé  
Smittys BBQ 

My favorite BBQ joint in Lockhart. It’s old school, family run.  Watch and smell your meat being cooked as you wait in line. Ask the nice people who work there if you can check out the room that used to be a store. Should  you decide to eat there, note that forks are not offered, but they’re not needed either. Smittys meat is that tender!    

    
   
They make their own sausage… 

  
  The old store   
 Day 2

Micklewhait BBQ

This awesome East Austin trailer always runs out of meat a few hours after they open. They were way popular and busy before Michelle Obsna recently did take out. Saturday’s are special because they serve Goat. Love their moist brisket and lamb sausage.    

    
    
    
 Day 3

La Barbecue 

One of my favorite BBQ joints in Austin.  Such nice people too. They tend to run out of meat, so show up early. If you can score a beef rib bone, do it! So worth the price and you’ll be craving another. Pittmaster John Lewis is opening a BBQ joint in Charleston this year.    

    
 Day 4

Franklin BBQ

Spend hours waiting in line… or not.  I chose not to even tho’ their BBQ is amazing.  So why spend half the day waiting?   But  do take a photo of their now iconic sign.

 
Brown’s BBQ

I’m told this trailer is good too, but only has time to take this photo while driving by. 

 Day 5

Opie’s BBQ  

See previous review from 3.27.16.

R.O’s  Outpost BBQ    

    
 On the way back from Opie’s, the signage for this roadside BBQ stand caught my eye.   There’s also some fun folk art type figures placed throughout the property, so if anything, the photo opps were good. I couldn’t possibly eat anymore BBQ but my dining pals said that this joint makes good pies.  Who doesn’t love pie?  

I’m all about the Banana Creme.  The owners wife makes it fresh, every day! 

I also got to sample a piece of brisket.  Apparently this meat is cooked for over 20 hours.  It was lean and tasty but I prefer my brisket moist with some fat.    

I am still happily stuffed with a little bit of Texas Q in my freezer. 

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Porfirio’s Tacos

When in Austin, I’m always hankering for a great Taco. I visit often so I have my favorite go to places I swear by. 

On my most recent visit, I stumbled upon a  no frills joint I loved  – it’s called Porfirio’s Tacos.

  

Porfirio’s is in East Austin, like most or the other great Mexican/Taco joints. It’s located on Holly Street  in the back of a small corner strip mall.  There’s a cool old school sign that stands out, so you can’t really miss it, along with a few parking spots in front.  

  

Porfirio’s serves a variety of  Breakfast Tacos include the usual combos, bacon and egg, potato, cheese and egg, beans and egg etc. You can also order tacos with the meat of your choice and a variety of  Mexican lunch plates. There’s no table service, so order at the counter, while you smell the yumminess of tacos and Mexican Food being prepared from the open kitchen behind.   After ordering, sit at one of the few small tables while you wait in anticipation for your meal. 

  

I wanted one last memorable  taco before heading out of Austin, so I ordered a local staple, The Migas Taco. The Migas Taco at Porfiro’s did not disappoint.  Eggs, cheese, peppers and chopped up tortillas were perfectly seasoned and cooked, and generously filled a single thick warm flour tortilla.  House made Green Salsa Verde is offered, but honestly not needed.  I devoured one taco there and took one to go for the plane ride home.  This is one of the biggest yummiest Migas Tacos I’ve eaten lately – and it was a delicious filling bargain at $2.35 plus tax.

  

Porfirio’s is open Mon-Sat from 6 am to 1 pm and is located at 1512 Holly Street in Austin. 

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Opie’s Barbeque

Hey Austin!  Are you hankering for some great BBQ, a little off the beaten path?

Here’s a tip that will delight your BBQ fixation.

Get in your car and head towards Highway 71; you’re going to Hill Country!

Approximately 35 miles from Austin on Highway 71 is a Texas town called Spicewood.  It’s here you’ll find a BBQ joint called Opie’s.

Opie’s has been around since 1999.  It has some of the best BBQ that Hill Country has to offer; without the miserable lines, loud tourists and running out of meat (that is if you don’t get there at the very end of the day)

Upon entering the restaurant,  you will see a huge, black heated BBQ pit.  Your ordering process will now begin.

All meats available for the day are displayed, stored and kept hot in this smoker.

Pick the meat choices of your liking and let the slicer helper standing by know how much or how little you want.  Once your order is sliced, it’s handed off to another helper who will bring it to the register for weighing.  (No mess or having to carry your meat until purchased!)

The meat choices are:

Brisket (lean and moist)

Fred Flinstone sized Pork Chops (rumor has it this is one of their signature items)

Lean Pork Loin

Pork Ribs

Baby Back Ribs (not pictured)

3 different types of sausage; Plain, Jalapeno and Jalapeno and Cheese



BBQ Chicken, cooked whole but you can order however much you want

Smoked Turkey

I ordered the moist brisket, turkey, a Jalapeno and Cheese Sausage and Pork Rib.  The Brisket has just the right amount of fat and melts in your mouth.  The Turkey was super tender and can often dry out – but not at Opie’s.  The sausage and rib was consumed a few days later when I returned to NY.  I firmly believe it tasted almost as good as it would’ve had I eaten it at Opie’s.  My dining party doesn’t partake in meat so they ordered half a chicken, which was very moist.  The skin was a perfect crisp as well.

In addition to their meats, Opie’s offers a unique selection of side dishes you don’t often find on BBQ menus such as:

Corn pudding (their most popular side) and available until they run out. I managed to get the last portion of the day, which was about 2 pm on a Tuesday.

A creamy rich Tator Tot Casserole

A twist on Coleslaw with raisins and slivered almonds, and Potato Salad

Delicious unlimited BBQ sauce; not too sweet, spicy or sour, is available, pipping hot in a big soup pot.

A huge pot of delicious hearty vegetarian pinto beans; eat as much as you want… for free.

Finally, the usual BBQ sides are also free – white bread, pickles, onions and hot peppers.
On weekends, Opie’s offers their special Butterbeans; but read the signs first, before trying to sneak these out to go, because it isn’t allowed.

For dessert, Banana Pudding is Opie’s signature dessert, but only available on weekends. However, to cure  your sweet tooth, there’s a variation of rotating Fruit Cobblers, that you can also get ala mode.

In the beverage department, Opie’s doesn’t service alcohol, but you can purchase unlimited servings of iced tea and sodas and of course (free) water.

Once you’ve purchased your meal, eat your meat and fixings on the provided sturdy wax paper with proper silver wear (no plates, none of that brown meat paper, so no tearing!)

Finally, if you overeat (like most of us do) and your full belly can’t consume anymore BBQ, there’s a complete To go station that has plastic bags (even if they are banned in Austin) foil and plastic utensils.

Also, Opie’s ask that you don’t clean your table. How awesome is that?

Besides the usual selection of beer cozies and stickers, Opie’s has some of the best restaurant t-shirts I have seen to date.
Their shirts are a play off of classic rock bands such as Iron Maiden, The Stones, Boston & Led Zeppelin. They are well worth the $20. Pay cash for your shirt and skip the tax.


Like all other good credible BBQ joints, Opie’s opens a little before lunch and closes when they run out of meat. Bonus – Opie’s is open 7 days a week.

Opie’s is located at 9504 Highway 71E in Spicewood, Texas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Hominy Grill

  

Just about any Chatleston local will gladly give you tips on where to eat in the Holy City.  There are many tasty options, but my favorite go to spot is The Hominy Grill, a historic house in the Elliotborough area of Downtown Charleston. 

This charming single house opened in 1996. It’s since expanded to accommodate it’s loyal local following and the plethora of visiting tourists wanting to eat some of the best Low Country cooking the city has to offer.

The Hominy Grill is vey popular for weekend brunch and offers a rotating menu of specials.  The portions are hearty and the service is top notch; southern hospitality as you would expect.

  
They are best known for their large high rise biscuits ($2 a piece) which comes with butter and house made berry jam.

  
Local Stone Ground White Grits served with a smattering of cheese are also a popular item.

  

But the most popular menu item is their signature dish, “The Nasty Biscuit” a piece of perfectly fried chicken breast sandwiched between a high rise biscuit swimming in a bowl of delicious sausage gravy. 

  

If you’d rather enjoy their chicken without the bells and whistles, you can do that too. It’s just as yummy on its own.

  

If you venture into the restaurant after the breakfast hours, you’ll be treated to some tasty salty boiled peanuts. 

  

And if you are still hungry, enough to try dessert, order the house made Buttermilk Pie along with  a bottomless cup of coffee.

  

When the weather is nice (almost all the time in Charleston) the outdoor patio is perfect for enjoying a southern cocktail. And if you’re in a hurry, you can take your meal to go at the takeout window.

The Hominy Grill is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and weekend brunch.  They are closed Sunday evenings for dinner.

One extra tip… If you happen to venture out to the Upper King area, check out Chicks Fry House, for the same yummy chicken but with a kick.  They serve it spicy, similar to Nashville hot chicken.  

The Hominy Grill is located at 207 Rutledge Ave in Charleston, South Carolina

You can find Chicks Fry House at 1011 King Street in Charleston, South Carolina

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Happy Hour at McCrady’s

  
Here’s a tip for foodies and fans of James Beard award winning Charleston Chef, Sean Brock. Do you want to eat at his 5 star restaurant McCrady’s, but can’t afford the fine dining prices or pre-fixe menu?

Well you’re in luck. McCrady’s now offers a rotating bar menu of happy hour appetizer sized snacks and alcoholic beverages that will keep your wallet and belly happy.  These items are available for consumption only at the bar, Mon-Thurs between 5 pm and 6:30 pm.  

On my recent visit last month, I ate some delicious crispy fried pigs ears cooked with burnt honey and Szechuan peppercorns 

  

A hearty helping of Escargot with pickled ramps, Gruyere and parsley 

  

All happy hour dishes are $10. Beer, Wine and Cocktails range in price from $4-$9.

We  were also offered a bowl of popcorn seasoned with Asian spices 

  

And before departing… delicious house made milk chocolates with a lovely gold topping.

  

McCrady’s  is located at 2 Unity Alley in Charleston, South Carolina.

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Breakfast at Ben’s Chili Bowl

Ben’s Chili Bowl

1213 U Street

Washington, D.C. 20009

(202) 667-0909

Call for hours

Cash only!

Bphoto 5

Ben’s Chili Bowl, a DC landmark since 1958, is best known for their half smoked hot dog, smothered with chili, onions and a smattering of potato chips.

Located on U Street, this institution is frequently bustling with locals, tourists and celebrities such as Bill Cosby.  In 2009, President Obama paid a visit for one of these tasty legendary dogs.

photo 6

On my recent visit to DC this past weekend, I discovered my favorite hot dog joint also serves early morning breakfast that includes the half smoked combo.  With this deal, you get eggs cooked to your liking, grits, potatoes or baked apples, toast or a biscuit…  and the crown jewel of the  plate, a half smoked dog, sans the bun, for $7.55!

The Half Smoked Hot Dog

photo 4 House made Buttermilk Biscuit

photo 2Baked Apples floating in syrup and Cinnamon

photo 1Half Smoked Breakfast

photo 3

If you’re not a fan of enjoying a hot dog for your morning meal, Ben’s offers the usual traditional breakfast fare as a combo or ala carte. This includes a side or of Scrapple!

Ben’s Chili Bowl is open for breakfast Monday through Friday from 6:00 am-10:45 am and Saturday from 7:00 am-10:45 am.  No breakfast on Sunday, but you can always go for a proper half smoked hot dog later in the day!   Remember to bring Cash!

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Tacolandia 2015!

TACOLANDIA. SATURDAY June 6, 2015, EL PUEBLO DE LOS ANGELES

A San Francisco native, I grew up eating some of the best taco’s, burritos and Mexican Food that the City by the Bay has to offer.  Post college, I moved to LA, and in my 10 years of living there, discovered and can confirm that The Southland has some of the best taco trucks ever – most of which don’t charge more than $1.50.  Basically, I’ve been spoiled with excellent, authentic tacos most of my life…. until now.

A few summers ago I moved to Brooklyn.  Mexican food here is below average; finding a great authentic taco in any of the 5 Boroughs, whether from a food/taco truck or restaurant is usually disappointing and will almost always burn a hole in your wallet. A few fellow Californians have made attempts at opening places in NY, but to me, they just don’t have the authentic flavor, seasoning and home cooked love you get when in California.

Lucky for me, Tacolandia 2015 coincided with my recent trip to LA!
I landed at Tacolandia a bit after 3 and the line was already wrapped along the sidewalk. It was a little slow moving, primarily due to people walking up to the front, not knowing where the end was, and bag/ ID checks for alcohol. Once that was done, getting in was easy. The lovely LA Weekly folks checking off names/handing out wristbands and the mini guide books were very pleasant and helpful.

tacolandia line line 2

Prior to arriving, I had a quick look at the list of over 80 vendors on the Tacolandia/LA Weekly website. Having eaten at a few of these establishments, I wanted to focus on places I’d never been. My strategy as a first time Tacolandia attendee, was to eat on the fly, eyeballing what looked delicious, checking out the places with the longer lines, asking people what they liked and trying to eat more eclectic, interesting & adventurous tacos. I wanted to eat my way through Tacolandia one area at a time, as opposed to running around the entire venue. My overall goal was to eat as many tacos that I’ve never tried, in hopes these vendors wouldn’t run out of food before I got to them.

The Pluses:
None of the lines, even for the most popular spots were too long, and everyone patiently waited their turn (no cutting)
Most vendors didn’t run out of food until about 6:30pm; a few a bit later, which is reasonable since the event started at 3 pm.
Speedy, efficient and friendly service from the vendors
You were served a hearty full sized taco, (normal portions) with the exception of a few vendors I visited who served Calamari and Seafood; those were cut in half.
Easy enough to find places to sit and eat; some with tables.
Plenty of stands to buy alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages
Dessert options were on the premises for anyone craving sugar
Trash cans available throughout the premises
Free non alcoholic beverages and samples – Jarrito’s, right as you enter, as well as a sweet mango and chile juice/drink, and fizzy exotic flavored water to name a few.
Great presentation and good food porn opportunities
Disappointment:
None whatsoever, except for one…
Quite a few vendors didn’t display a description of what they’re serving and what you’re actually eating. It’s not a bad thing, as many adventurous hungry Taco fans (such as myself) might want to be surprised here and there.  But from a marketing/pr point of view, it would be great to have have a sign, chalkboard etc in addition to a sample on the table.

My favorite Tacos, the best of what I ate:

beef heart taco
Border Grill
Anticuchos Taco
Grilled beef heart, Black Beans,  Avocado Corn Salsa on a Corn Tortilla – total genius!

squid ink tortilla blue corn
Taco Maria
Calamari, Chili Dusted Peanuts and Purslane on a Squid Ink Tortilla – beautifully presented, and cooked to order

pork belly puffy taco
Bar Ama
Puffy Pork Belly Taco

A San Antonio Classic ( I’ve never eaten or found one outside of Texas),  consisting of a lightly fried corn tortilla so it puffs up, complimented by chunks of juicy fried pork belly

ricky's fish taco
Ricky’s Fish Taco’s
Classic fried Fish Taco with Ricky, the master himself at the fryer!

the oinky
Bull Taco
The Oinky
For those who love pork as much as I do- Pork, Bacon, Chorizo mixed into one yummy taco!

cactus tortilla mole and cactus tortilla
Rocio’s Mole De Los Dioses
Shrimp taco with delicious rich dark Mole Oaxaqueno on a Green Cactus Tortilla!

manzanilla squid taco
Manzanilla
Grilled Calamari Taco; simple but delicious!

Surprises:
Cult movie and tv star Danny Trejo in the flesh.  I didn’t get to sample his taco, but excited he’s opening his own taco joint on LaBrea!

susan and mary sue
Food TV superstars and Border Grill masterminds, Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Miliken serving all their hungry customers and posing for photos.

top chef
Top chef Katsubi Tanabe serving his “Filthy Taco” I regretfully gave the line a miss on this one, but it sure looked good!

la tortilla factory
Coupons for a free pack of handmade tortillas of your choice from the LA Tortilla Factory (this was especially exciting as I had planned on buying tortillas to bring back to NY)
Reasonably clean honey buckets, portable faucets with ample paper towels, soap and running water (considering the drought)
Easy parking (I drove and parked in Chinatown for $4)

In sum, I didn’t get to taste 80 tacos, but I did leave Tacolandia, fully and happily stuffed, a little after 7 pm. The entire experience was deliciously amazing, and it made me wonder why I ever left The Southland… On my way home, I stopped at both Kogi and Leo’s to buy some tacos for the long plane ride home.  Kudo’s to the LA Weekly for such a great, delicious, well organized event!  I will hopefully return to Tacolandia in 2016!

the end

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