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Mar 4, 2010 12:37 PM

Healthy cheap eats in MacArthur Park/Westlake neighborhood

Hi 'hounds,

I'm an English teacher at a high-need secondary school in the MacArthur Park/Westlake area. My 12th Grade English class is completing a unit on fast food and obesity and we have been reading about the links between poverty and obesity. We have read about how childhood obesity is greater in low-income areas such as ours because of the lack of cheap, healthy options and the proliferation of fast food restaurants.

To further our learning and promote healthy eating, we're investigating non-fast food alternatives in our neighborhood.

Can we think of any cheap, healthy options in MacArthur Park/Westlake? By "cheap," I mean within a similar price range as we would spend at MacDonald's--so ideally under $10. As great of a value as it is, we can't necessarily afford the $13 pastrami sandwich at Langer's!


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  1. Papa Cristos is not too far from you. Fresh greek food. Take a look at the menu and see if this works.

    1. I've lived in the area for a little over 2 years and have never found anything that would be considered healthy. Maybe some vegetarian tamales at Mama's. Or the combo at Pollos el Brasero that is chicken, rice, and salad. Along similar lines, you can get lunch at Tigeorges for less than $10. For an okay sandwich, you can check out Village Kitchen. That's all I can think of that would remotely fit the criteria.

      1. Sure -- first choice is Pollo ala Brasa on southeast corner of Western at 8th Street . . . small shack for rotisserie chicken, you can see the firewood piled high all sides outside the place. The chicken is very fresh, you can do a 1/4 or a 1/2 chicken with sides under $10, choices include black beans, white rice, simple green salad or fries.

        A little further west into Koreatown you can find a couple locations of BCD Tofu House (one on Wilshire near Western, the other on Vermont just south of Wilshire I think) . . . the whole first page of the menu offers different types of tofu bowls mixed with meat or seafood with kimchee sides for just under $10.

        On Hoover just below Olympic is El Taurino which is some of the best carne asada in the city, if you skip the fried stuff you can do an all-meat carne asada burrito (even add extra steak) for about $7.50 . . . same offering at King Taco at Pico & Alvarado, as they are under the same ownership and the menus are very similar.

        Lastly, haven't been there for a while but there was a place on west side of Western just below Wilshire called Pho 2000 which had several varieties of Pho for $7.50, I've tried several of them and never been disappointed.

        1. Thanks for all the suggestions everyone!! I showed my class your suggestions, and I think the kids really appreciated seeing adults in the real world responding to them.

          Several of the students also recommended el Taurino, so it must be a local fave.
          I'm a fan of Village Kitchen and Mama's Tamales (a fellow teacher is a server there on weekends). Great recs.

          The other places I will have to check out after school sometime.