There’s nothing more fun than reviewing the best things you ate in a year and 2016 was anything but traditional.
For the first time ever the stomachs of Americans turned Westward for advice! And meanwhile here in Los Angeles with an ever growing population of ADD adults, I was shocked at how our patience was tested in the quest for the best food. Whether it was the line for a chicken sandwich at Howlin’ Rays or for a burger at one of the now many Shake Shack’s, the longer the line just meant more time to prove your devotion to food on social media.
While I’m hoping that 2017 will see a return to reservations, I’m pleased that this year was truly the year of Alexander Hamilton! Both on Broadway and in my food bill.
The Asian Fever at Baroo
Co-owners Chef Kwang Uh and Matthew Kim created a fermentation-frenzy with their strip-mall casual cool spot Baroo. Although Chef Uh has recently returned to Korea for an indefinite amount of time, he has certainly left a lasting impression on the nation. Thankfully Matthew Kim will remain to keep the $9 Asian Fever brewing.
The Cherry in my Anticuado at Salazar
Call me crazy, but I sort of enjoyed the cherry dusted with ancho chili from La Anticuado cocktail more than the tacos at Salazar. This Mexican Old Fashioned is crafted with mezcal, whiskey, ancho chili, huitaloche (corn fungus), and Mexican fernet and is guaranteed to make time move just a little slower.
The Pork Longganisa from Rice Bar
Blink and you might miss this Filipino comfort food cottage, but Rice Bar from Chef Charles Olalia is definitely worth driving around the downtown city block again for. I recommend the Pork Longganisa, or house made sweet and spicy sausage with pickled vegetables and garlic crumbs over garlic fried rice. The $8.50 price tag more than makes up for the $5 you spend parking your car for 15 minutes.
The $5 Pasta Special at Knead & Co. Pasta Bar +Market
After making my best bites list for 2015 with Union in Pasadena, Chef Bruce Kalman claimed an even bigger piece of my heart earlier this year with his arrival at Downtown’s Grand Central Market. Knead & Co. Pasta Bar + Market offers Northern Italian to those busy DTLAers who just need to grab a quick handmade pasta before returning to the office. My favorite offering is their daily $5 Pasta Special that shaves anywhere from 8 to 13 dollars off the price without skimping on quality.