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2 days in LA for fish and tacos

I've got this Sunday and Monday in LA. I've never been, and I'm trying to fill both days with amazing things I can't get at home in NYC. My interests run heavily to shellfish, and the Asian and Latin American foods that aren't up to snuff in the frigid East.

Where should I go? Anyone want to come along?

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  1. Check out Ricky's Fish Tacos in East Hollywood. Open Wed-Sun Lunch only. The best in LA.
    https://twitter.com/RickysFishTacos

    12 Replies
    1. re: wienermobile

      Will do - that'll have to be Sunday Lunch then. The schedule begins....

        1. re: estarriolvetch

          Always check his Twitter account first. Sometimes Ricky moves the location. Check first.

        2. re: wienermobile

          I did RFT and TBFTIE today. I think RFT wins pretty much hands down. Better batter crisp on the fish and the shrimp, crisper cabbage, etc. The TBFTIE fish had really great flavor, though, and the range of salsas was great.

          I wasn't there during a super high demand time for TBFTIE, so I could easily believe that during a rush the frier turns out better stuff.

          1. re: estarriolvetch

            Thanks for reporting back. RFT is definitely tops in my book. Closest to the fish tacos I had in Ensenada.

            1. re: estarriolvetch

              RFT has been on my bucket list for close to 2 years, and I finally checked it out Saturday afternoon. It was mid-afternoon, so no appreciable line. I had fish and shrimp combo. Liked it very much. A great bargain - huge pile of nicely fried fish and plump shrimp for $4.00. But, since I live on the far west side, Tacos Puntas Cabras is still going to be my go-to place based on geography. Saturday was actually a double bucket-list day, because after my RFT stop, I headed over to Connie & Ted's for a chowdah sampler, lobster roll and Indian pudding. Of the chowders, I preferred the New England, with the Rhode Island second. The NE was just how I like it: no thickener, and plenty buttery (like Swan Oyster Depot in SF - my fave). The lobster roll was good, but overly expensive at $26 (website still says $24), and not as good as the $18 version I just had at Brentwood Café (which also has spectacular fries). The Indian pudding was awesome - hadn't had it since undergrad days in Boston, when I'd get it at Durgin Park when my parents or big bro' visited and took me out to dinner. Easy to get in C&Ts at 3:30 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon. And a nice place to watch the KY Derby.

              1. re: Wayno

                I physically couldn't find tacos puntas cabras at the address google thinks it's at. Where is it? I want to update my starred places in maps for next time....

                1. re: estarriolvetch

                  On the North Side of Santa Monica BLVD
                  1/2 block East of 23rd St. Between a dreary Thai place (Pot's and Pans) and a far drearier vacuum cleaner repair shop.
                  It's tough to spot.

                  1. re: Ciao Bob

                    in that case it was closed when I walked right by it four times. That bothers me less. :-)

                    1. re: estarriolvetch

                      What time was that? They seem to be open continuously from 11 till early evening. Some Mondays they close earlier to prep for special pre-paid dinner called Supper Liberation Front but I do not believe that has occurred for a while.

                    2. re: Ciao Bob

                      The vacuum guy, though, does great and cost-effective repairs. =)

                      To the OP, the patio for the Thai place and TPC is essentially continuous. TPC is on the left (if you're facing the patio).

                2. re: estarriolvetch

                  Now with photos! outdoors=RFT, indoors=BFTIE

                   
                   
              2. So I just found out that all last month the LA chowhounds were posting all the shellfish they ate...... I am so lucky. Thank you all for you research! http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9709...

                  1. Where are you staying?

                    I haven't been to many of the favorites. Do you want to wander to a few of the inexpensive joints or looking for proper meals?

                    Your only previous Chowhound post was six years ago asking for help in DC. You got a few replies and said you'd report...

                    21 Replies
                    1. re: nosh

                      I'm going to be based in Glendale, but with car.

                      I'm looking mostly for inexpensive stuff, but I might manage a higher end meal.

                      I did totally blow that play, and I'm quite the lurker when I need info on a new town I'm going to. Nowadays I've got a smartphone and a data plan, and I want to do better this time around. As poor-community-member-recompense all I can offer to start with is a bunch of my cocktail recipes: http://kevinclarkcomposer.com/categor...

                      1. re: estarriolvetch

                        A guilty pleasure of mine is The Hat in Pasadena on Lake St. Giant pastrami sandwiches and chili pastrami cheese fries that will feed a family of four. If you need a to be in a fast food coma this is the place. Very inexpensive.
                        http://www.thehat.com

                        Now if you want the best pastrami on earth, Langer's Deli near Downtown LA. You'll pay around $16 for a sandwich but it may be the best $16 you've ever spend. Open till 4pm Closed Sundays.
                        http://www.langersdeli.com

                        1. re: wienermobile

                          To be clear, the pastrami sandwich at Langer's is currently $13.50, but with tax and tip it will be over $16.

                          Also, know that the sandwich is not quite as special if you don't get it on rye. The rye is prepared in a special way that sends it over the top. Add Guldens (not French's) & enjoy.

                          If you go, try to avoid the siren song of the #19, which they pimp at every. Single. Opportunity. Globs of all manner of unholy milchig treif, sugar, and mayonnaise-based dressings mounded upon the holiest of holy beef preparations. To add insult to injury, they'll charge you extra for it. My advice is to avoid at all costs, and allow the magnificence of the pastrami to shine all on its own.

                          Last tip is if your pastrami arrives dry, send it back and tell them to give you a moister cut. It's rare that it happens, but it sometimes does. The two times that it happened to me, my sandwich was replaced quickly and cheerfully.

                          Mr Taster

                          1. re: Mr Taster

                            As a counterpoint: if your not tied down to preposterous notions of tradition, the #19 is delicious.

                            Had to do it T ;)

                            1. re: ns1

                              Or Swiss and horseradish and cold kraut on side

                              1. re: jessejames

                                If I go for pastrami I may just have to have two sandwiches....... and like three other people.

                                1. re: estarriolvetch

                                  Try side corned beef hash and eggs or fries

                                  1. re: estarriolvetch

                                    Their crinkle-cut fries are a great accompaniment to the sandwich. Not expressly traditional, but delicious.

                                    Mr Taster

                                    1. re: Mr Taster

                                      Very pleased that we can agree on something....woof woof! harpoons for straggler pieces of pastrami

                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                        Fries at Langer's ordered well done.

                            2. re: estarriolvetch

                              If you're in Glendale, it's pretty damned hard to beat Elena's Greek-Armenian. Ignore those who recommend Raffi's, as it's about 2x the price and the quality is not as good (dry chicken kebabs are an unforgivable sin). It is a nicer environment, though-- so if you want a pretty courtyard with fountains to distract you from how difficult it is to get down that leathery chicken breast, go for it.

                              I've never, ever had a piece of overcooked meat at Elena's, and the prices are incredibly reasonable. The lamb chops are particularly magnificent (the grill they use imparts a lovely, fragrant char), and the have no problem subbing the rice for tabbouleh, if you're so inclined. (It's great if you go with someone else who orders the rice, so you can go half and half). Expect $7-10 a plate, which includes lentil soup and salad, hard pita from a plastic bag, one (tiny) cup of garlic sauce, and all the pickled veg you can eat.

                              As for fish tacos, my (only) experience at Ricky's was that it was distinctly un-crunchy, and lacking flavor. For reference, the best fish tacos I've ever had was El Fenix in Ensenada, and the fried batter was bulletproof; it stood up to layers of salsa and crema over several minutes.

                              I recall the shrimp tacos at Ricky's being better, but certainly not worth hanging out in 40 minute queue with throngs of 20 year olds in googly grandma glasses and their mustachioed hipster companions.

                              My experience at Best Fish Taco in Ensenada (on Larchmont) has been consistently good. Short lines, low prices, consistently crunchy and flavorful. Still plenty of hipster customers, but at least I didn't have to wait in line with them for 40 minutes, being forced to listen to their attempts to out-cool one another.

                              Mr Taster

                              1. re: Mr Taster

                                hard to ignore that amazing pinwheel cut filet mignon kebab from raffi's.

                                1. re: jessejames

                                  I'll defer to your judgment on that, as I've never ordered it. I couldn't bring myself to go back (and risk paying those high prices again) after that initial experience, particularly when Elena's is a known quantity so nearby.

                                  Mr Taster

                                2. re: Mr Taster

                                  damn Mr T we just can't agree today can we?

                                  I was a BFTiE regular until RFT came along. Went to RFT twice in the past month, in/out in less than an hour including parking. 10 minutes from the time I got in line until the time I got food.

                                  Their operations have changed A LOT since Mr T has last been there.

                                  1. re: ns1

                                    Alright ns1, maybe it's time I gave Ricky another shot. But if the tacos aren't crunchy and the lines are long, your CH cred is going to drop a few notches!

                                    Mr Taster

                                      1. re: ns1

                                        Can't get to RFT today but now - for sure - I am going to Tacos Puntas Cabras for lunch.

                                        1. re: Ciao Bob

                                          I'm seriously jelly, love TPC but don't get out that way very often.

                                        2. re: ns1

                                          I'd be pissed right about now if I wasn't heading there in 20 minutes. ;>)

                                      2. re: ns1

                                        +1. Last few times even when lines have been not short, still got our tacos relatively quick and piping hot. They actually seem to be working faster since getting their truck.

                                3. For shellfish, I've been dying to try El Coraloense based on TonyC's rec. http://sinosoul.com/2013/03/el-coralo...

                                  12 Replies
                                  1. re: TheOffalo

                                    oh wow - that looks incredible. If you wanted to make a trap for me, that's what you'd use as bait.

                                    They're closed on Monday, but they're open Sunday 12-6. My plans are taking shape....

                                    1. re: estarriolvetch

                                      You really should try to get over to CaCao Mexicatessen http://cacaodeli.com/ in Eagle Rock. You'll be close by (maybe 3 miles or so). Great shrimp and fish tacos, but many, many other interesting and delicious Mexican food choices to sample if you want to branch out a little.

                                      1. re: Servorg

                                        that is super close and looks great.

                                        1. re: Servorg

                                          cacao is great. i'd also recommend mexicali which isn't too far from glendale. if you can get to east la, mariscos jalisco for their shrimp dorado tacos. while in east la, might as well stop by los cinco puntos.

                                          1. re: cdub

                                            But, if you are going to mariscos jalisco, shouldn't you also go to Guisado's nearby, for one of their shrimp tacos on a fresh masa tortilla, just to compare?

                                            1. re: happybaker

                                              i also like guisado's too. just forgot. good call.

                                              1. re: cdub

                                                when a buddy from Dallas visited me, we hit up RFT and then went to Guisados right after for a sampler plate and horchata.

                                                AND IT WAS GLORIOUS.

                                                For the maximum LA experience, on our way back we bought a coconut + mangos/chili/lemon from a vendor who was walking down alvarado hawking them.

                                                note: guisados (echo park) parking is TERRIBLE.

                                        2. re: estarriolvetch

                                          there are now 2 El Coraloense's and the newer one - in Downey - has expanded service hours compared to the orignal. I am told the food is the same. I ate at the Mother/Father ship and loved it.
                                          http://www.yelp.com/biz/el-coraloense...

                                          1. re: Ciao Bob

                                            Yelp thinks that location's closed, but if it is it must have happened super recently - the last review is from 4/11

                                            1. re: estarriolvetch

                                              just called, they are open
                                              maybe you looked at yelp before they opened FOR THE DAY I think it changes daily

                                              1. re: Ciao Bob

                                                Huh, I hadn't thought of that. I think the notice on the yelp page is the one for "this restaurant is no longer there"... maybe I can submit a correction after taking all of their food away.

                                                1. re: estarriolvetch

                                                  Just called - they're open tomorrow from 7 AM to 10 PM. Wow.