Archive for the ‘take-out’ Tag

Taco Tour   1 comment

Back-to-back taco tastings at two Los Angeles taquerias may not constitute a true test, but it did provide a fun opportunity for comparison – plus alliteration. Both Mexicali Taco & Co. and Yuca’s have garnered a lot of ink in The Los Angeles Times, mainly thanks to critic Jonathan Gold; all of it well deserved.

I first heard of Mexicali Taco several years ago in a Gold review. What I recall is that the owners travel to Baja a few times a week for the tortillas. While I think there are plenty of good tortillerias in East L.A., I appreciate Mexicali’s efforts. They are worth it. We ordered carne asada tacos. The meat comes almost naked on a plate, wrapped only in a soft tortilla. A grilled scallion is added for can only be color. It was the carne we were after, but a small salsa bar features a few different heat levels, pickled onions, radishes, slaw, cucumbers and lime. The charred diced meat is surprisingly tender.

However, Yuca’s carne asada is a bit more flavorful. These feature grilled pieces of meat with fresh onion, tomatoes and cilantro. They don’t need anything else except two corn tortillas, which don’t hold up well. Yuca’s offers a few outdoor tables, otherwise plan to eat in your car – if you can’t wait to get home.

The best of the taco world, where these two are concerned, would be Mexicali’s tortillas because they hold up well and have a distinct corn taste, and Yuca’s melt-in-your-mouth carne asada.

Mexicali’s Taco & Co. 
Four Plates
702 N. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles

Four Plates
2056 Hillhurst Ave.
Los Angeles

Partaking Take-Out   Leave a comment


A recent trip to Los Angeles to see my mom was a bit different than previous visits. She’d had surgery last month and I had gone to provide some belated help. Mostly I cooked. And cooked some more, filling her freezer until the next time I can return to offer more over-due assistance. Dining at special or new restaurants is one of the many things we usually do when I go to LA, but on this trip circumstances allowed for only one restaurant meal, which we ate at my mom’s. Thank goodness, one of our long-time favorite Mexican restaurants, Barragan’s, has take-out.

It’s practically a tradition for us to dine at Barragan’s when I’m in town. We’ve gone for dinner, lunch and even brunch. We take friends there. We’ve got a thing for Barragan’s because the food is consistently fresh and flavorful. I am glad to know those same qualities carry over when ordering in.


I ordered the Mole Enchiladas which came with a salad, rice and beans. The enchiladas were filled with chunks of chicken slathered in mole thick with an abundance of spices that blend perfectly with one another. The sweet taste of cinnamon was the perfect foil for the hint of bittersweet chocolate. Not only were my taste buds enamored with the entrée, but the rice and beans – especially the beans – were also loaded with flavor. These are no canned variety.

My mom ate very little, but I made up for it relishing my meal – food I didn’t cook.

Four Plates
814 S. Central Ave.
Glendale, CA

Pizza Topped With Flavor and Arrogance   Leave a comment

Any place that goes by the name Hell’s Kitchen must be pretty confident that its
food is actually divine. At Ruffrano’s Hell’s Kitchen Pizza that doesn’t mean
the place is heavenly. In fact, far from it, but the pizza is, well, damned close.

Attitude is everything and the guys (I haven’t seen any women) stretching the
dough and taking the orders are no-nonsense whadda-ya-want pizza pie poten-
tates. Sometimes the pizzas are ready when expected, and other times they’re
not. You wanna make a deal out of it, go somewhere else. This isn’t something
I’ve seen or heard, it’s just a feeling;  I’ve never left without my pizza though.

The crust is firm without being a brick, and thin without taking the shape of my
hand as I ate. The best thing about it is the sauce that graces the top. Thick and
full of intense tomato flavor, I almost wanted to pour it over a bowl of pasta.
Almost. The sauce with the crust and smoky mozzarella cheese is the food of
quasi- angels. We ordered Grandma’s Pie Bake, which is described as a “reverse
pan bake,” but no one explained what that means. The rectangular-shaped pizza
is simplicity at its best: sauce, cheese and basil. It’s too hearty to be a Margherita.
The only problem was charred corners. The Four Cheese White Pizza with ricotta,
mozzarella, provolone and parmesan is decadently gooey.

I recommend take-out. The surly staff may make you feel like hell, but the pizza

Three-and-a-half plates
Ruffrano’s Hell’s Kitchen Pizza
9 Ruxton Ave.
Manitou Springs, CO

Lunch With a Friend   Leave a comment

Although I enjoy the food at Yakitori 2, it is the good friend I usually meet
there that makes it a special place. I have been a few times with others, but
it is my  friend, B.B., who I most enjoy the meal with. When we get together
we are able to ignore the large television screen permanently set to a sports
channel. We dismiss the torn Nagahyde booths. We even forget that we’re in
a strip mall set like an island in one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares. In-
stead, we order the lunch special and spend an hour or more catching up.

It helps that the special is consistent, filling and a bargain. For under $6 per
person, it includes a cup of soup, two Teriyaki chicken skewers, onion rings,
white rice and cole slaw. The soup is nothing more than lightly seasoned broth
garnished with scallions. The surprise on the plate is the onion rings. These
panko-breaded sweet onions are crispy inside and out.

It’s always a struggle to remove the chicken from the skewers. There are no
knives making it an exercise in grace and dexterity, but worth every second
of effort. Grilled in a Teriyaki sauce, the bite-sized pieces of glazed chicken
have just the right amount of tangy sweetness. The white rice, which must
have been plated with an ice cream scoop, is a great foil to the sauce from the
chicken and the slaw.

Poor health has kept B.B. homebound. Thank goodness for take-out.

Three-and-a-half Plates
“Yakitori 2”
1612 N Academy Blvd
Colorado Springs, CO