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Mariscos Jalisco – a seafood truck worth flying cross country for

LA certainly has no shortage of amazing inexpensive taco trucks. However, the majority of these trucks are meat driven, serving your usual selection of Carne Asada, Carnitas and Al Pastor.

So if you’re hankering for seafood, head on over to Mariscos Jalisco Truck, serving fresh cooked to order seafood tacos, ceviches and (non-alcoholic) Seafood cocktails.

The original Mariscos Jalisco Truck has been serving customers on LA’s Eastside for a decade. There is honestly nothing like it for the taste, quality and price.  It’s well worth a cross country plane ticket to the City of Angels, where the weather is nice, year round. Eater.com recently named Mariscos Jalisco one of the best places to eat in America.

Their signature most popular menu item is the Dorado de Camarones aka a delicious fried shrimp taco. The taco shell is fried to order so it’s perfectly crispy and folds over a giant portion of fresh marinated shrimp, homemade salsa and fresh avocado.

They also serve a variety of fresh seafood ceviches and tostadas

Mariscos Jalisco is a family run operation – Raul Ortega and his daughter are often seen backstage, cooking, taking photos and composing your delicious order

Comfy indoor seating with proper tables, chairs and a clean bathroom is located in the building a few feet from the truck

Where else (anywhere??) will you find such fresh, inexpensive, delicious seafood?

Just make sure you have the right truck as there’s a seafood taco truck with a similar name on the same block.

Location and hours:

Original Truck

3040 East Olympic Blvd

Open daily, 9-6 pm

Other locations:

East 10th and Towne Ave

South Figueroa and 140th Street

Open Mon-Fri 10:30a – 4:00 pm

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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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