Ciro’s

My blog has gone international. That’s right, it’s gone global.  How global? One reader in Korea, ahaha, but hey, I’m totally happy with that. She had requested that I update the blog so thank her for the update. This one’s for you noona!

Some setbacks have let me home having much time in my hands. In the beginning it was cool. I got to relax. But too much time led to my idleness and I felt I needed to establish a routine. Rather than sitting on my rear end and getting fat, I started going to a Muay Thai gym last week. It’s probably as close to Rocky as I’m going to get. When I signed up I was told, “When you walk through those doors, you’re ours.” I get a work out and learn a martial art, it’s a win-win situation. Well, my bruised feet and shins might not feel that way.

The gym being in the industrial part of downtown is pretty close to the Eastside. Heck, The Yard is pretty much at the western border of the LA River. What does that mean for me? I’m gonna cross those damn bridges and get me some breakfast in East Los. Heck yea.

Recommended by Valentina of Eastside Food Bites, I stopped by Ciro’s, down the block and across the street from Manny’s. If you’re not on the lookout for Ciro’s, I’d say it’s easy to miss. Dark windows and no flashy signs. You walk in, and you’ll be welcomed in by friendly people telling you to sit wherever you please. So I sit and I’m ready to order a complete meal after being worked at the gym.

Some chips and some salsa and avocados come out for you to snack on. Let me tell you, that’s $1.20 worth of avocado you get at Subway that Ciro’s just gives to you. I don’t know what it is with many of the places in the Eastside but what you get for your money is a pretty damn good deal. Anyway, last week I ordered the Chorizo and Eggs and a tamale.  Today was the Huevos Rancheros and a tamale. A complete breakfast.

So I’ve noticed a couple of different variations of the Huevos Rancheros.  You have one where the tortilla is deep fried with a slightly thicker ranchero sauce and you have on where the torilla isn’t deep fried but with the ranchero sauce not quite as thick.  I’ve come to like both kinds.  The Huevos Rancheros here is the non-fried variant.  The eggs are cooked right with the yolk a bit runny and the ranchero sauce… yum! Roll up the tortilla and soak up the sauce and yolk, yum again. The peppers and onions that were simmered in the ranchero sauce, with the egg, the tortilla, and the sauce all in your mouth create a party in your mouth. These are some good huevos rancheros.

The lady brings out my tamale and tells me that now I have a complete breakfast. The tamales here are pretty special. They are made only in the month of December and on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays only. The one you see here is the pork tamale. The corn base is good and the meat is spiced well. They’ve got other tamales I want to try, for instance, the sweet one with pineapple, coconut, and raisin. There aren’t that many days left to get them so I better hurry. I think you should hurry too.

I’m pretty glad to have tried Ciro’s. The folks are friendly. The food is good. The portions are generous. Looks like I have a new breakfast joint to frequent.

Ciro’s
705 N Evergreen Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90033
Phone: 323.269.5104

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Square One Dining

This is only my second week back and it feels like I’ve been back in LA for much longer. Anyways, last week I sat around and did a whole lot of nothing. This week, I started to run in the mornings. Today though, I had an errand to run before I could run so after that errand was finished, I decided to run in Griffith Park. The course would be from The Trails Cafe to Mt. Hollywood and then back down again, about 4.5 – 5 miles (Note: The Hollywood sign is on Mt. Lee, not Mt. Hollywood).  It was my first time actually running up that trail so it was a bit harder than I thought.  Took me an hour to complete.  I could definitely shave off some time there!

Anyways, I went over to Square One Dining afterward for brunch.  Despite the ominous looking Scientology building across the street towering over this spot, my meal was pleasant.

The baked egg dish with chorizo was crying out to me.  The entire dish comes baked in a skillet.  On the bottom layer was a tortilla.  Then there was chorizo, tomato, onions, and roasted bell peppers.  Then another tortilla on top.  Two eggs baked perfectly with gruyere cheese melted on the eggs and some salsa roja to top it off.  This thing was heavenly.

I also got a half-order of the buttermilk pancakes.  It’s one pancake as opposed to three and I got a topping of strawberry rhubarb with vanilla cream.  The pancake was fluffy and light.  The slight tartness of the strawberry rhubarb and the sweetness of the vanilla cream went real well with the pancake.  Slather on some of their syrup and you got yourself something really good.

The chorizo baked egg dish was great and so was the pancake.  And there’s still more to try from their breakfast menu.  Sounds so… good.

Square One Dining
4854 Fountain Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90029
Phone: 323.661.1109

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El Huarache Azteca

It is said that El Huarache Azteca is THE place to go in Los Angeles if you want a “huarache.”  The sad thing is that the times that I’ve been here, it wasn’t for a huarache.  Heck, I’ve never even had one, ever.  A shame, I know, but what can you do.  Just from trying to describe what it looks like, all I can say that it looks like a humongous sope.

But I can tell you this.  El Huarache Azteca serves a mean plate of Huevos Rancheros.  After browsing through blogs that dealt with the neighborhoods east of the LA River, I came across Chanfles.  It’s a great blog based in Lincoln Heights and gives you a perspective of Los Angeles that isn’t the Westside’s.  In addition to being a blog for the community, El Chavo seems quite dedicated in finding the perfect plate of Huevos Rancheros.  El Huarache Azteca is up there for him and after reading that the tortillas were deep fried, I just couldn’t resist.

The plate of Huevos Rancheros were just perfect for me.  Before this, I was only used to the tortillas that weren’t deep fried.  Little did I know how much of a difference deep-frying the tortilla could make.  Not only that, the eggs were cooked perfectly; the yolk was cooked just right where it didn’t run all over the place but just enough.  And then the ranchero sauce.  The tomato and chili are blended so well.  It fit my Korean palate just perfectly.  The same goes with the rice that comes on the side.

El Huarache Azteca is a nice spot in Highland Park.  The restaurant itself is very tiny but the food gets made pretty quickly.  If you’re here, you should probably try the huaraches as I’m probably not wrong in saying that it’s their specialty.  But if you’re here during breakfast, the huevos rancheros aren’t a bad choice.

El Huarache Azteca
5225 York Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90042
Phone: 323.478.9572

Huaraches Aztecas on Urbanspoon

Bloom Cafe

Usually on Saturday mornings, I have a nice Korean meal waiting for me at breakfast.  But the parents went to Mission Hills Country Club for a round of golf and to watch a little bit of the Kraft Nabisco tournament.  That created a little bit of a problem.  Where’s my breakfast???  Me cook?  Yeah, right.

The plan was to eat breakfast and then go to school to work on this essay of mine.  Something about whether or not NATO is relevant today.  I didn’t stray too far off from home for breakfast and went to Bloom Cafe.  I get on Pico and pass through what I like to call “Kosherville.”  I pass through some more streets until I see Bloom Cafe.

It was a little past 9 in the mornin’ so it wasn’t busy at all.  I look at the menu and it seems promising.  The stuff here is organic if that’s your cup of tea.  Now all this place needs to do is make the food well.  I ordered the Avocado Spring Scramble: scrambled eggs with avocado, “baby asparagus, snowpeas, cherry tomatoes, wild arugula, and guacamole.”  Wait, I don’t remember any guacamole in there.  Eh, maybe it was the avocados instead.  It came with a side of potatoes and toast.  My breakfast definitely wasn’t heavy, but it was satisfying.  Just enough.  The Spring Scramble tasted fresh, probably from the veggies.  The arugula gave it a nice flavor.  And the avocado had a bit of a citrus taste to it.  The potatoes were baked with some herbs and that was good too.

‘Twas a  nice meal at Bloom Cafe.  It’s also nice that it’s pretty close to home.  But my level of contentnesss was to soon disappear when I went to VKC Library at USC to do some research for this paper.  Damn lower division course.

Bloom Cafe
5544 Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90019
Phone: 323.934.6900

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Teresitas Restaurant

I don’t quite know what authentic Mexican food is.  I’m not talking about your standard taqueria fare.  Because I’m sure there’s more to Mexican food than just that.  That’s just like saying all there is to Korean food is dduk-bokk-kee, kimbap, kimchi, and some Korean barbeque. I would scoff at anyone who said that.  Not really having any Mexican friends, it’s kind of hard for me to know more about Mexican food.

The closest I’ve gotten to authentic Mexican food is probably Teresitas.  What am I comparing this too?  El Cholo.  Don’t get me wrong, I love El Cholo, but it’s probably Americanized to a large extent.  And you can also tell that I don’t have much to compare against.  What makes me think this is more authentic?  1) They claim to be authentic.  2) A Mexican person took my dad here and my dad took me here in return.  3) It’s in East LA.  4) There are a lot of Latin-lookin’ people here.  Ah the ignorance.  But bear with me.

This was my third time here, twice for breakfast and once for lunch.  This time was breakfast again.  And I ordered the same thing as I did the first time I was here… Chilaquiles with eggs and top sirloin steak.  The Chilaquiles are “fried corn tortillas prepared with spicy red or green hot chile sauce, topped with onions and cheese.” It wasn’t hot at all but man… so good!!  The fried tortilla is soaked in that sauce and cheese is sprinkled over it.  The fried tortilla is somewhat soggy from being soaked in the sauce, yet it’s still somewhat crispy.  If you let it sit then it’ll get soggier, but it’s still good!  With the steak and eggs, it makes a real hearty breakfast.  It comes with a side of beans and potatoes too but I was too full to touch it.  MmmMMmmMmm~~!!!

Their carne asada on the lunch/dinner menu is pretty darn good too.

Check their hours.  They don’t open so early for breakfast during the weekdays.

Teresitas Restaurant
3826 E 1st St
Los Angeles, CA 90063
Phone: 323.266.6045

Teresitas on Urbanspoon

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