Carnitas El Momo ~ Los Angeles

Cheap Eats, Los Angeles, Tacos/ Mexican, West Coast By February 17, 2020 Tags: , , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Carnitas El Momo 2411 Fairmount St, Los Angeles, CA 90033
the eats: Carnitas tacos
the bucks: $2.50 a taco
the full nelson: Carnitas so juicy and full of pure porcine flavor that you don’t need salsa . . .

When it comes to great tacos, you can reinvent the wheel but you sure don’t have to. Case in point: Carnitas El Momo in the historic Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles. Masters of simmering pork in lard filled copper pots for hours, Carnitas El Momo has been long considered the spot to get carnitas in Los Angeles, ever since Bill Esparza aka the Street Gourmet LA shared this find back in 2013. The internet hype train soon followed.

Finally, I got my chance to see what the buzz was all about.

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Dai Due ~ Austin TX

Austin, Burgers By February 9, 2020 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Dai Due 2406 Manor Rd. Austin TX 78722
the eats: Dry Aged Double Wagyu Burger
the bucks: $20 (comes with sweet potato fries)
the full nelson: the best bacon cheeseburger you never saw coming

Back when I started Bang for your Burger Buck, I was protesting the rise of $10+ burgers that didn’t satisfy without a side of fries, or really, just weren’t all that. I made it a point to find burgers with all the right earmarks like a brioche bun, burger patty cooked to order, caramelized onions etc, for under $10. FWIW even then I said I was open to the idea of burgers that broke the $10 bar if they offered something those contenders under $10 could not.

It’s been a long time coming but as late, I have found a few burgers tipping near the $20 scale, with fries that are worth your time and money. And with that let me present to you The Dai Due burger:

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Dave’s Hot Chicken ~ Los Angeles

Cheap Eats, Fried Chicken, Los Angeles, West Coast By January 29, 2020 Tags: , , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Dave’s Hot Chicken 970 N. Western Ave Los Angeles CA + locations throughout the city 
the eats: Chicken Tenders and Chicken Sliders + fries
the bucks: $11-$13 for a combo
the full nelson: A delicious gut buster on multiple levels

Nashville Hot Chicken ain’t just a Nashville thing anymore. Take it from a guy who has been to Nashville and done the deed, you can now find spicy as Hell fried chicken in Austin, Chicago, NYC and most certainly Los Angeles. The kind of spice level Nashville Hot Chicken is known for is a young man’s game. When I was 22, I’m sure I would have been up for signing that infamous waiver before eating the Reaper spice level Chicken Tenders or Chicken slider at Dave’s Hot Chicken. But you don’t need to go through all that torture to break a sweat at Dave’s Hot Chicken. In fact, that part comes pretty easy.

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Ippudo ~ NYC

Asian, New York City By January 18, 2020 Tags: , , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Ippudo 65 4th Ave New York NY 10003
the eats: Ramen
the bucks: $16 
the full nelson: a ramen that comes with a ton of hype and some seriously good pork belly buns

How much should you pay for a bowl of ramen? That answer has changed dramatically over the last 20 years, in the US at least. In college, I never touched the stuff. And by “the stuff” I mean the ramen packets my pals would turn to when they realized that their food allowance took deep of a hit from last night’s beer run.

Cut to around the mid 2000s and I finally went to a respectable ramen joint. A spot that gets the people hooked with that super rich Tontkatusu pork broth and a line out the friggin’ door. The place was called Daikokuya in Little Tokyo – downtown Los Angeles. Back then the line was fierce but the tab was pretty tame. 14 years is a ways back but I’m pretty sure a bowl of ramen loaded to the loaded to the gills should have set you back no more than $10. Today, expect to drop about $14. Which takes me to a ramen joint in NYC with a big rep and wide net: Ippudo, a ramen joint that can be found in locations spanning four continents.

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Casita Nicole Antojitos Mexicanos ~ Austin TX

Austin, Tacos/ Mexican By January 11, 2020 Tags: , , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Casita Nicole Antojitos Mexicanos 9618 Manchaca Road Austin TX (parked at the Texaco)
the eats: Machete, Huitlacoche quesadillas, and everything else on the menu
the bucks: $10 a person will set you up nicely
the full nelson: the taco place Danny Trejo should have opened and Austin’s answer to a Mexico City delicacy

Just when I think I have seen it all when it comes to tacos, I come across machete tacos, tacos shaped like a machete blade though far safer to eat than a machete blade, or any blade for that matter. Bigger isn’t always better, especially when it comes to tacos, but in the case of these Casita Nicole Machete tacos, well big is kinda awesome.

Especially when the taco is bigger than the plate.

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Salt and Time ~ Austin TX

Austin, Burgers, Southwest By December 31, 2019 Tags: , , , No Comments

The Vitals:
the spot: Salt and Time 1912 E. 7th St. Austin TX 78702
the eats: Butcher’s Burger
the bucks: $11(with cheese)
the full nelson: the best burger I have had in years . . .

I’ve been reading Aaron Franklin’s book about steak recently, and it got me fired up to splurge on a premium steak. Not just a Filet Mignon from Whole Foods(ps I think filet is overpriced and not close to the best) but a steak carefully sourced from a local farm. I’m fortunate to have two butcher shops here in Austin to fulfill that request. One is walking distance to me. The other serves The Salt and Time Butcher’s Burger, the best burger I have had in years.

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