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Downtown near (or easy from) Union Station

I'm a visitor, unexpectedly staying a day or two extra in Claremont (which I asked about in another thread). Matapoisett on this board suggested I might take Metrolink into LA proper, which would bring me to Union Station. I have work to do, though, and don't have a whole day for getting to places, but I'm cool with taking the train in and out of Union Station for something special.

I live in Indiana now, which means that the following things are hard for me to get normally:

--great Asian flavors, especially Thai, Vietnamese and Korean, but also Chinese. In fact, I've never tried or even seen a place near me making banh mi sandwiches. Even pho is rare.

--really fresh, good Mexican foods, like tacos made with excellent corn tortillas and great carnitas, fish, adobada, barbacao, etc.

I gather that Chinatown is pretty close to Union Station. Walkable? If anyone wants to suggest that I go on the subway or bus to somewhere, could you add in the realistic time involved?

Thanks in advance for all ideas!

p.s., does anyone know if Spitz in Little Tokyo, or anywhere in LA, has German-style Döner Kebab? (Note: totally not the same deal as gyros or even traditional Turkish style.) For THAT, I would do serious travel.

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  1. Yeah, Chinatown is walkable. You can definitely get your fill of banh mi and pho at Chinatown.

    This link provides a pretty good rundown of the highlights of Chinatown. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7707...

    1 Reply
    1. re: ipsedixit

      Great link! Thanks. You're always adept at finding these things.

    2. Olvera Street is right across the street from Union Station. You may find some good Mexican there.

      But, if I were you, I would take the Gold Line to East LA and you'll find some great Mexican food.

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      Olvera Street
      845 N Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

      1 Reply
      1. re: reality check

        La Luz del Dia in Olvera Street has good soft tacos. Cross Alameda at Los Angeles Street and it will be right on the plaza there at the end of Olvera Street.

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        Olvera Street
        845 N Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

      2. Purple Line from Union Station takes you to the heart of Koreatown. 10 to 15 minute ride. Chinatown is on the Gold Line north, there shoud be some acceptable Chinese food there. It's a walkable distance, too. Red Line will drop you in the middle of Thai Town in Hollywood.

        Check CH for recommendatons in those areas.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Akitist

          Thanks. To judge by browsing the board, it sounds as if Park's BBQ in Koreatown might be worth such travel. Perhaps also Jitlada for Thai. Will it be odd at either of these places to eat alone for lunch? They sound a bit upscale. I'd also travel for really great but cheap tacos or mexi, by the way, but it seems harder to nail down particular places.

          It will take me up to 4 hours all told to get into and back from LA, but at least I should be able to do some reading on the Metrolink train. So I'm really trying to make sure this is a good bet before I jump.

          Are these colored lines (purple, red. etc.) subways or buses? (The transportation website doesn't make that immediately clear to me). Sorry to be so out of it!

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          Park's BBQ
          955 S. Vermont Ave, Suite G, Los Angeles, CA 90006

          Jitlada
          5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

          1. re: Bada Bing

            All the colored lines (except the orange busway line) are rail lines and subways. The Red, Blue, Purple and Gold lines all leave from Union Station.
            Park's BBQ is wonderful. The Seasoned Boneless Beef Short Ribs • 주물럭 are incredible. To me definitely worth the trip.
            http://www.metro.net/around/maps/.
            http://www.parksbbq.com/

            1. re: wienermobile

              Well, the Blue Line doesn't go to Union Station, but I didn't see recs for anything on that line, so the point may be moot.

              1. re: Akitist

                You can catch all the lines from union station through transfers

            2. re: Bada Bing

              Jitlada is not upscale. It's more like a family restaurant. It's probably better to go there for lunch since dinner can get busy and it's not a big place.

              1. re: Bada Bing

                It would be hard at either Park's BBQ or Jitlada to eat alone -- either at lunch or dinner. Neither places is really suited well for the solo diner unfortuantely.

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                Park's BBQ
                955 S. Vermont Ave, Suite G, Los Angeles, CA 90006

                Jitlada
                5233 1/2 W Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  Thanks for this. I wondered with good reason, I guess.

            3. My favorite Langer's Deil is just a few minutes and a few stops on the Red Line Subway out of Union Station for some of the best hand cut and tender Pastrami you'll find anywhere. They are open till 4pm and closed Sundays.
              http://www.langersdeli.com/

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              Langer's Delicatessen
              704 S Alvarado St, Los Angeles, CA 90057

              2 Replies
              1. re: wienermobile

                I'm tempted. All that softens my interest in this direction is that I've already experienced really solid pastrami in New York and also at Zingerman's in Ann Arbor, MI. One day soon, I hope to try a place in Indianapolis that's supposed to be tops, as well.

                1. re: Bada Bing

                  If you want a really quintessential LA sandwich experience, check out Philippe's French Dip - it's right across from Union Station.
                  Oh, and you don't want to leave Southern California, and the Inland Empire in particular, without hitting up In-N-Out. There are a couple right near Claremont - not walking distance, but a very short bus or cab ride will take you there.

              2. Off the Mariachi Plaza station of the Gold Line about 3 stations from Union Station, is La Serenata di Garibaldi for more "upscale" Mexican. Personally, I haven't been too impressed with the eats in Olvera St.

                For train accessible places from Un Station, I think K-town or Thai town will have more "best of LA" options than Chinatown for Viet/Chinese.

                Also, not on your list, but Little Tokyo has various options, only 1 station away from Un Station.

                FYI, there were threads regarding places to eat along the different train lines but haven't seen them in a while. May wanna search around for them.

                BTW, I'm pretty sure you can travel free along any of the MTA train lines from Union Station with a valid Metrolink ticket. Check to make sure though.

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                La Serenata
                1416 4th St, Santa Monica, CA 90401

                Little Tokyo Restaurant
                150 E Bonita Ave, San Dimas, CA 91773