L.A. the Blog: Two New Eateries On Hollywood Blvd.

As the machine development wheels forward unconquerable, implacable along the famous stretch of Hollywood Boulevard known as the Walk of Fame, where in golden stars immortalized forever rest the names of iconic people who bestowed years of entertainment upon us – L.A. the Blog is happy to announce two new eateries marking the mythic landscape.  They totally make the “cheap eats” list of places to grab a quick bite and both are well worth the visit.

The first place anyone from New York will recognize, and everyone else who watched Spider Man 2 the movie should remember fondly.  The silver screen made-famous Joe’s Pizza where Toby McGuire playing Peter Parker worked delivering pizza in the film’s opening scenes – yes!  Joe’s Pizza is now gracing Hollywood right at Wilcox and Hollywood Blvd., and yes!  Right around the corner of another New York staple Papaya King.  We are experiencing a wholesale invasion from the east coast.  Next will see Dunkin’ Donuts or something.

Joe's Pizza

Joe’s famous NYC Pizza

As L.A. the Blog is personally very familiar with Joe’s pizza in New York our readers can trust us to safely critique the flavor of this new Joe’s in comparison to the one in NY.  Surprisingly the pizza is very similar in taste, almost exactly the same in taste, so we give the place an A+ for its pizza.  We will point out the slight differences.  Whether it is the high-volume of pies that Joe’s in NYC throws out compared to this one, or that the cooks on the east coast have a process they are used too, the pizza at the Los Angeles location definitely was in better condition and looked as if they LA guys took time and tender loving care putting the pizza together.  The crust was a little thicker, and in LA-fashion crispy too.

Where Joe’s NYC is famous for fresh out of the oven pies, and a really thin crust that no one in their right mind would call crispy; the LA spot hasn’t reached the years of perfection in knocking down millimeters off the thickness and doesn’t do the volume to demand out-of-the-oven pizzas every five minutes.  That we believe give the NY pies their distinct difference.  Or as others believe it could be that the water in Los Angeles is different from the water in NYC.  Yeah we use less chlorine maybe?

As taste goes if you miss a slice of NYC, then head to Joe’s because it is damn close!!!  The prices for a slice were around $2.50 so this place also makes our “cheap eats” list.

The other spot that just opened is right next to Joe’s at Hollywood and Wilcox, and is a taco stand, err … truck, or restaurant, or a really awesome and creative eatery that serves up some good Mexican food.

The Calle Taco truck, once a real food truck that graced the streets of Los Angeles now sits under an old Hollywood theater marquee near the intersection of Hollywood and Wilcox, slightly back from the sidewalk with tables and chairs in front, giving costumers a place to eat what the truck dishes up.

Calle Tacos should get an award for best-designed restaurant on the boulevard.  Not only did the place take a food truck, cut it in half, and place it on the inside of their restaurant so costumers have to order from the taco truck window, they also went all out in gracing the inside of the restaurant with beautiful graffiti murals of Los Angeles, and literally made the entrance to the bathrooms the front door to the food truck too.

Why you ask?  All in honor of the many taco / burrito dishing food trucks that everyday feed us on our merry ways through the city.  Memorializing in true Hollywood fashion a staple of Los Angeles life and culture.  L.A the Blog loves LA, so we love you Calle Tacos.

The food was good, we didn’t try everything on the menu but the carne asade burrito tasted great.  While not as cheep as a food truck with tacos at $1.95 and burritos at $5.95, you can definitely get some grub for under the $5, so it also makes the Blogs “cheap eats” list.  Check out below for some picks of the place and when in Hollywood be sure to stop in!  FYI – the graffiti is by LA-based artist Hex, aka Hector Rios.

UPDATE:  We just visited Calle Tacos again and noticed that Tuesday is $0.99 taco day, every Tuesday, and right now if you visit they have a free can of soda if you check in to their facebook page, or tweet about your visit.  We scored a great lunch for $3.24!

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L.A. the Blog: Cafe Tropical

If someone said this small, nondescript cafe in Silver Lake served the best coffee in town it would be easy to brush it off and say, “Oh lord, another Silver Lake lover who can’t figure out what’s west of Western because their bike got a flat tire.  They’re just saying that because they think their town is the best.”

Cafe Tropical

Cafe Tropical

Well, Cafe Tropical might just make the best Cafe con Leche / Cafe Americano with steamed milk ever.  Yes it is in Silver Lake.  Just to make sure everyone understands … ever.  Now don’t get me wrong $3.25 for a cup of coffee is no mean deal, and after paying that much you might also ask yourself what to call this delicious drink that they advertise as coffee.

The Plate of the Day food blog covered the spot and describes the drink as Cuban.  That makes sense as they had a menu full of ham with cheese sandwiches.  With those sandwiches they serve breakfast.  An overly filling breakfast too (maybe to make up for the price of the coffee).  They had a ton of egg sandwiches, a ton of pastries, and all the servings were large (so large they single handily contribute to the obesity of this nation – did you see the size of the cookies?!).

The food was reasonably priced where the coffee was not, but the coffee tasted sooooo good, while the food was average.  No matter, if you have an extra five spot in the pocket and you need a coffee drink, go.  Maybe the best damn coffee drink in Los Angeles.

Cafe Tropical – 2900 West Sunset Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90026

LA The Blog: Hollywood Cheap Eats – Cactus Taqueria

It is safe to say that in Los Angeles these days it is hard to find a cheap, good meal.  Not on Vine between Santa Monica Boulevard and Melrose Avenue.  I am talking cheap, good and as authentic as you will get for Mexican food.  I am talking Cactus Taqueria and it ain’t your higher priced organic / healthy style of Cali-Mex-Whole Foods fair, not one bit.

Cactus Taqueria

Cactus Taueria sitting on Vine

When I say cheap I mean $1.25 for a taco, and the tacos are damn good!  Just like the one I had in Tijuana a few years back.  Of course if you are a taco fan you probably know of this joint that opened in 1992, and sits across the street from the grade school that Marilyn Monroe attended.  The LA Taco blog puts Cactus as the #1 Taqueria – Hollywood, and while I would not go that far (I like the Mex-Whole Foods style) I definitely rank it the cheapest and best for the $ in the area.

Cactus Taqueria Signage

Cactus Taqueria logo stating the best taco in Hollywood

Oh yeah if you are vegan I would stay away : (

While I have only had the beef and carnitas tacos, I can guarantee from the long lines at lunch, and the jam-packed lines during the weekend that Cactus makes millions of people happy each year.  The red sauce is HOT, so be warned unless you go that way, and a ten-year veteran of Cactus tells me the beef burritos (a little more pricey at $7) are his the best in the city.  That is if you can afford them!!

If you are wondering why I am blogging about old cheap restaurants in Los Angeles, well just look at how Google sold out when you type in Hollywood Cheap Eats.

Google Screen Shots

Is Yelp and Urban Spoon really the only people talking about cheap eats out there?

All you get is Urban Spoon that lists Cafe 101, or In-N-Out Burger.  Both relatively cheap but they all break the $5 mark (and 101 breaks the $15 dollar mark jeez!).  Yelp isn’t much better.

So to sheer away from the Google advertising blitz I bring the truly cheap that is worth eating.  So next time you are in Hollywood and you only have some parking change left and you need to eat, and you can’t seem to find your favorite taco food truck, then Cactus Taqueria can fulfill your need.

Cactus Taqueria – 950 Vine St. Hollywood, CA 90038 – open late

CORRECTION:  The above posting mistakenly referred to Cactus Taqueria as the #1 spot in Hollywood ranked by LA Taco, when in fact I have been informed that Cactus Taqueria #1 is actually just the full name of the Taco joint.  Per the comment below left by LA Taco they rank it as not #1.  My bad!!!!

UPDATE:  I have come to understand that this location is called Cactus Taqueria #1 because there is Cactus Taqueria #2 at another location in Los Angeles.  Location #2 is located at 4370 W. Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles.

School that Marilyn Monroe attended

LAUSD Vine Street Elementary School where Marilyn Monroe was said to attend grad school.