y4pcT1JaIwGptQJPO6l_mZmgv34 tiffin unboxed: More Six Taste - Downtown and Hollywood Tours

More Six Taste - Downtown and Hollywood Tours

Back in December 2010 I wrote a post about my first two Six Taste tours. I've never been much of a "tour" type, let alone touring in a city I've lived in since my family moved here when I was a toddler!

Well, those tours of Santa Monica, where I lived for 5 years, and the Delicious Dumpling Tour, right in my current backyard, so to speak, showed me the things right before my eyes that get overlooked.

Tracy, our guide, met us at Pershing Square. The moment I saw her dangling cherry earrings I knew she'd be fun. Since then I've copied her fab style and got a pair of my own!

Let me recap my Downtown L.A. and Hollywood tours. Both neighborhoods are the places I most often hang out in when not at my own neighborhood, and I even went to school in downtown. So my skepticism of learning new things stayed on the back of my mind.

The group kicked things off at Grand Central Market, where we had an intro then had some time to explore and shop on our own. My parents used to bring me here food shopping during my whole childhood, so it's full of nostalgia for me.

First tasting at Sarita's Pupuseria within the market proved to be a great choice. I never met a pupusa I didn't like. If you haven't tried these Salvadoran masa tortillas stuffed with cheese, meats and other great stuff, it's a must try.

Crunchy and golden brown on the outside and gooey on the inside, the texture perfectly balances with the acidic, spicy cabbage salad.

The nice thing about walking through the city is seeing little details like these bronze pig heads above a bicycle rack. One may not notice this when driving down the street, but they certainly caught my eye upon exiting the market by foot.

We walked into an alleyway off 4th Street past a filming crew to this obscure door that leads into the Harlem Place Cafe, another place I walked by but never noticed. Part art gallery, coffee house, bar with a food menu and wi-fi it served many purposes beyond what its speakeasy looks indicated.

This establishment apparently closed down since our visit, according to Yelp and Four Square.

Another thing I haven't done much in Downtown area is grocery shop. Tracy explained that the Two Bits Market provides a very important thing for the neighborhood by selling local, organic, artisanal, "non-processed" foods as their website says front and center.

We enjoyed a simple yet tasty sandwich there which the owner presented to us while giving some background on the store.

We stopped at Syrup Desserts for a beverage and dessert trio. Their extremely well brewed ice teas with fresh fruit quenches any thirst. In fact I enjoyed the fruit teas so much that friends on the tour handed me theirs and at one point I walked holding 3 cups. You can really taste the high quality teas as well as the fresh fruit.

The dessert tastings included a citrus sorbet, berry croissant and the star of the plate - a Belgian Liege sugar waffle, carmelized with sugar crystals cooked into the batter. Once again, great interplay of crunch and softness at the center. If that wasn't enough, dollops of nutella and whipped cream sat atop the waffles.

After having eaten quite a bit of food, only a really strong dish would interest me to eat more, and Mac & Cheeza fit the bill. The simple concept of this take and bake at home shop is to pick a size - the baby mac, momma mac, daddy mac or mac daddy, choose meats or veggies to add in, choose a topping and you're done.

Yelp indicates this shop has also closed since then, although the website indicates another Eagle Rock location inside Larkin's.Whether it's there or not, Larkin's itself delivers on comfort food inside a charming Craftsman house setting.

They prepared two combinations for us. The spicy toasted walnut topping added a great crunch to the dish.

We enjoyed the macaroni mural on the wall and mac and cheese art throughout the shop.

These paintings consist of macaroni noodles.

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Our Hollywood tour began with each person introducing themselves and discussing their favorite food movie or food scene in a movie - a cute departure from the usual "what is your last meal on earth" icebreaker.

Walking around for the Hollywood Tour also helped us see some fun stuff. I had to keep up with the group, otherwise I would have checked out this Bettie Paige Clothing store, being a sucker for rockabilly and retro pinup girl type garments.

One of our early stops on the Hollywood Tour fell during happy hour at Loteria Grill. The standout dish among our antojitos for me was this wonderfully crunchy Chicharron de Queso. 

It doesn't take much to understand the allure of this dish, and the tomatillo salsa and jalapeno margarita only serves to take it over the top. 

We took a quick trip to Mel's Drive-In to have the adorable mini shakes. We stopped at a couple of other somewhat expected Hollywood institutions such as Miceli's and Skooby's Hot Dogs.

The highlight of this tour for me was our visit to the legendary Boardner's, the last place where Elizabeth Short, aka The Black Dahlia, the victim in L.A.'s biggest unsolved murder, was last seen alive.

The dark, velvety booths scream Old Hollywood and being inside, one can just imagine the scene in the 40's and 50's.

We were still in the midst of happy hour, planned nicely by our guide, so drinks were half off. Besides the signature cocktails such as The Black Dahlia, The Bloody Bugsy, The Hollywood Starlet, The Crooked Cop and The Blonde Bombshell, they serve "Mocktails" such as Safe Sex on the Beach, Fauxjito and  Mockarita.

Chef William Annesly brought out a couple of extravagant dishes to taste. Above you will see the Morcilla, or black sausage with fried quail eggs and below that the richest mac and cheese in the hottest plate ever! As delicious as it was, nobody left hungry after just a few bites.

During Prohibition era, Boardner's had a hidden speakeasy in the back, with separate entrance. The original bar, fountain and a stage are in the back courtyard.

Another door led to the downstairs Club B52, in all its red velvet and black Gothic splendor. Our Tour Guide Danny appears in the shot above, in the club's Lovin' Lounge.

The club is full of ornate chandeliers, murals, statues and nude pinup girl photos, not to mention a go-go dancer stage (with a sign indicating the platform is for hired dancers only).

That spot on the tour truly transported us back to the heyday of Hollywood.

Overall the Hollywood Tour, while enjoyable, didn't deliver as much as the other tours on the exciting food promise. However, it never gets boring learning about old Hollywood and our Tour Guide, Danny, made it fun.

2 Responses to “More Six Taste - Downtown and Hollywood Tours”:

  1. LOVE your blog. Though I live in San Diego, I LOVE to come up to LA for fun happenings. I've been to the downtown art walks twice. I would totally take one of these tours if LA was closer.

  2. Thank you so much Jenny, for reading! I am flattered,especially from a food writer. I like your blog too. Unfortunately I don't bake much (cook savory and w/out measurements mostly) or I'd try more recipes.

    I hope you do make it to these tours. They offer great specials and discounts at times also, which I can hook you up with if/when you decide to go. Would love to meet with you when you are in LA - maybe at an art walk. Art is another passion of mine.

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