1050 S Flower St
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Dining date: 12/19/15
Broken Spanish opened in June replacing Rivera in the South Park neighborhood of downtown LA. While Rivera had a notable chef (John Rivera Sedlar), notable partner (Bill Chait) and notable mixologist (Julian Cox), the restaurant never seemed to catch on. Chait partnered up this time with Ray Garcia (Fig) to open Broken Spanish, a modern Mexican restaurant.
Broken Spanish’s menu is very shareable, composed of a selection of snacks, tamales, tortillas, starters, and main plates. Between a party of two, we ordered one item from each section of the menu.
Petty Cash Taqueria
712 S Santa Fe Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90021
Dining date: 10/21/15
Petty Cash’s Arts District location officially opened a couple of months ago. I’ve been there once during its soft opening when Javier Plascensia and Tim Hollingsworth were guest chefs. I’ve also been there for post-dinner drinks, but this was my first time having a full meal.
In a city full of cheap taco options, one of the primary criticisms is that Petty Cash is too expensive. It’s definitely above average pricing at $4-6 apiece, though the quality of the ingredients is a differentiating factor. Sustainable fish for the fish tacos, Cook Pigs Ranch pork for the carnitas and prime grade ribeye for carne asada are a few examples. Happy hour (weekdays 5-7) is a great time to score some of these tacos at more approachable prices. On top of a couple of drink specials, tacos are 2-for-1. On this visit, we just made the cutoff coming in at 6:45.
Javier Plascencia & Tim Hollingsworth with Petty Cash Taqueria
Petty Cash Taqueria
712 S Santa Fe Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Dining date: 8/12/15
I’ve never been to mid-city’s Petty Cash, a modernized taqueria from chef Walter Manzke and restaurateur Bill Chait. The restaurant has been pretty popular since opening two years ago spawning this second location in the red hot Arts District of downtown.
The restaurant recently soft opened with a number of ‘Test Kitchen’ dinners. Night one included a mashup of Carlos Salgado of Taco Maria and Wes Avila of Guerrilla Tacos. Night two, the one recapped here, featured Javier Plascencia (Tijuana’s Mision 19 and San Diego’s Bracero Cocina) and Tim Hollingsworth (The French Laundry, Barrel & Ashes, Otium) pairing up with the Petty Cash team to cook up some tacos.
I’ve seen and heard about Plascencia’s cooking for some time and have never tried it so this was a great opportunity to get a taste of his Baja-Mediterranean cuisine. I’ve been a fan of Hollingsworth since his days at The French Laundry so I’m always in for a peek at what he’s cooking. This served to be a sort of preview of his forthcoming concept Otium at the new Broad Museum downtown.
Vegas Uncork’d @ Border Grill
445 S Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Dining date: 1/27/15
This past week, Bon Appetit and Las Vegas hosted a Vegas Uncork’d preview at downtown’s Border Grill. It was a fitting location, given Mary Sue Milliken and Susan Feniger’s restaurant has two locations in Las Vegas and has been a consistent participant in the annual food event. This evening’s event served to garner attention to the April fest, as well as celebrate Border Grill’s 30th anniversary.
Now in its 9th year, Vegas Uncork’d has moved up a little earlier this year to the last weekend of April. As usual, it will amass dozens of big-name chefs cooking their way through various different seminars, tastings, classes and sit-down meals. The 20+ event, 4-day Uncork’d has been a tradition in my family for many years now and I’m looking forward to what 2015 has to offer (see 2014 here and here).
306 Broderick St
San Francisco, CA 94117
Dining date: 11/30/14
Nopalito is the sister restaurant to ever-popular Nopa, located just a few blocks away (though there is a second location of Nopalito in the Inner Sunset). Whereas Nopa serves New American cuisine (that pork chop!), Nopalito serves up modernized Mexican fare. Tacos, quesadillas, ceviche and other Mexican flavors – they’re all here with a slight twist.
I really enjoy Nopa so naturally a visit to Nopalito was due. We came here on my last evening in SF during the Thanksgiving holiday on an evening when it was pouring rain. The rain clearly helped convince people to stay home as we had only a minimal wait for a table on this Sunday evening.
826 E 3rd St
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Dining dates: 7/12/13, 5/2/14, 5/3/14
Guerrilla Tacos began almost two years ago and has consistently generated positive attention for its unique approach to tacos. There are so many taquerias in Los Angeles it’s difficult to stand out, but Guerrilla Tacos has done it with its upscale, modern approach to the casual taco. Chef Wes Avila went to culinary school and is classically trained; leveraging many of those principles, he’s really upped the game for the casual taco. Avila uses tortillas as a vehicle to showcase top-notch seasonal ingredients and meats in a wide variety of ways.
The menu changes constantly; I’ve seen few taquerias with such a varied menu. One day may have octopus, Proscuitto di Parma, and fresh squash tacos; the next may have lamb shank and oxtail. Diver scallops, sashimi-grade fish and live sea urchin are commonplace on the menu. Sure the tacos are more expensive than most in LA, but the quality of ingredients are clearly a differentiating factor. A meal can still be had for under $15, maybe $20 for bigger appetites.