The Eggslut

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Confession: Before Saturday, I’d never been to a food truck.

Predicted reaction: WHAT?! OH MY GOD!? YOU’RE A FOOD WRITER AND YOU’VE NEVER BEEN TO A FOOD TRUCK OH MY GOD I’M TOTALLY NOT GOING TO READ YOU ANYMORE AND I’M BURNING MY COMPUTER RIGHT NOW TO RID IT OF YOUR EMBARRASSING HUMILIATING ATTEMPT AT BEING A DECENT HUMAN BEING.

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Bäco Mercat & La Casita Mexicana

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Two things are making me more of a restaurant adventurer here in L.A. than I was in New York: (1) nicer weather and (2) a car. In New York, on the bitterest, most miserable days of January, I would stick to a very specific loop that involved lunch at Hummus Place, coffee at Joe, and a slushy trek home. Here in L.A., it’s just a matter of unlocking my car door, rolling down the windows, cranking up the Original Cast Recording of “Next To Normal” and hitting the road.

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Double Double Animal Style

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I didn’t want to believe the myths and legends surrounding the secret menu at In-N-Out Burger. I’m a man of the people: if it’s not listed on the wall, I don’t want to eat it! But when I wrote about In-N-Out Burger a few months ago, all you secret menu advocates slapped me on the wrist and said, “You’re not a man of the people, you’re a damn fool if you don’t order your burger ‘double double animal style.'” And so, on our most recent trip to In-N-Out, I followed your orders and did as you said.

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A Field Trip To Atwater Village: Atwater Village Farm, Proof Bakery & Canelé

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One thing I know to be true about cities is this: they’re best judged by their neighborhoods.

I fell in love with some of my favorite cities–Seattle, Atlanta, New York–by visiting off-the-beaten-path neighborhoods with hidden-away restaurants, coffee shops, bakeries, book stores and movie theaters. In Seattle, there’s Capitol Hill and Ballard; in Atlanta there’s the Virginia Highlands, Little Five Points and East Atlanta; in New York there’s the West Village, the East Village, Williamsburg and Park Slope. In all three of these cities, you could easily go there as a tourist and miss the best parts: you could stay downtown and see the Pike Place Market or the Coca-Cola museum or (midtown) Times Square and never venture into the parts that make these cities so beloved. Then you miss the whole point.

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The Apple Pan, Gjelina Take Away & The Lazy Ox Canteen

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I’m terrible at geography (please don’t ask me to find Iowa on a map) but I’m wonderful at food geography, especially when I know a city really well. In New York, friends would call me on a regular basis with queries like: “I’m going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and need a place for an afternoon snack before going to a 5 PM chamber music concert at The Frick.” (Answer: Cafe Sabarsky.) Here in L.A., though, I’m on shaky ground (earthquakes notwithstanding). I’m new here and when a food geography issue arises, I’m not as quick on my feet. But I’m getting better.

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The Mole Negro at Guelaguetza

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According to Jonathan Gold, when the mayor of Oaxaca comes to Los Angeles, he eats at Guelaguetza. It’s listed on Gold’s 99 Essential L.A. Restaurants 2011 and in his original review he calls it “one of the best Oaxacan restaurants in the country.” Clearly, then, I knew I had to go there; and I knew I had to go especially for the mole negro which Gold describes as “black as midnight, black as tar, black as Dick Cheney’s heart.”

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Banh Mi at Ink.Sack, Chile Rellenos at Loteria

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Let me tell you about this sandwich that I ate at Ink.Sack, Michael Voltaggio’s sandwich shop on Melrose. It’s a Banh Mi, which if you haven’t had one (and I had my first one on Calvin Trillin’s walking tour of Chinatown many moons ago) it’s a sandwich, served on a baguette, usually made with pork pâté , pork sausage, pickled vegetables (carrots, daikon), mayonnaise, chili sauce and lots of cilantro.

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