"We Angelenos hustle hard for our moolah, and nothing bites more than blowing that hard-earned cash trying to satisfy a surprise snack attack. And yet, we're also staunch believers in avoiding the drive-through by all means necessary.
But, don't fret — you won't go home hungry tonight. Whether you're in the mood for refined tapas, a massive bowl of noodles, or just a slammin' slice of pizza, Lala's got your back in the cheap-cuisine category. In fact, we've scouted 15 must-try dishes — under 15 bucks! — that will send your taste buds on a delicious trip. One ticket to chow town, please!"
Taco Sampler at Guisados, $6.99
Tacos are a dime a dozen in Lala Land, but some handheld treats taste better than the rest. And good grief the six-taco sampler at Guisados is impressive! Not only because of its rich slow-braised flavors, but for the amount of food. Grab a buddy to split this mando-meal, pronto. Don’t forget to pace yourself and refresh with a melon agua fresca.
Guisados, 1261 West Sunset Boulevard (between Innes and Marion avenues); 213-250-7600.
Tonkotsu Original Ramen at Jinya Ramen Bar, $8.55
We are firm believers in the magic healing powers of soup. This massive serving of ramen will not only cure your day’s ailments, we’re pretty sure it’ll send you into a fit of flavor flares (a.k.a, jazz hands) upon first noodle slurp. Get it with the seasoned egg for an extra buck and an extra wow!
Jinya Ramen Bar, 2208 Sawtelle Boulevard (at Olympic Boulevard); 310-481-0977.
Anticucho Black Cod at Picca, $15
Who doesn’t like to eat things on sticks? The utensils provide mess-free fingertips, and despite their compact stature, these mini munchies from Picca are busting with flavor. This cod skewer is no exception, high fiving your mouth with miso anticucho and served with crispy sweet potato. Chef Zarate is a sculptor when it comes to presentation and flavors — and this is one edible art show you don’t want to miss.
The Burrata Pie at Pitfire, $9.95
If we could come back as a pizza, this one just might fit the bill. It’s classic. It’s timeless. It’s very popular. This mouthwatering 'za is topped with burrata cheese, wild arugula, caramelized onion, hazelnuts, and a pesto drizzle. We’re pretty sure it’s the kind of pizza that tells the best jokes at parties and always writes a thank you note. It’s perfectly delightful that way.
The 50/50 Burger at Slaters 50/50, $9.95
While the merge of burgers and bacon isn't that big of news, a burger patty that is actually 50% bacon should be something to perk your taste buds to attention. This 50/50 masterpiece gets even more intense with the teetering addition of a fried egg and avocado. You can even add more bacon on top of this gut buster if you’re so inclined. Go ahead, get hog wild and make time for a nap afterwards.
Slaters 50/50, 61 North Raymond Avenue (at Union Street); 626-765-9700.
Nana’s Frito Pie at Bar Amá, $13
Bar Ama’s nod to authentic Tex-Mex cuisine can get you into some serious trouble. The need-for-stretchy-pants kind of trouble. Go in focused, because you will want to order one of everything, and by no means will you skip the Frito Pie. Unlike the sloppy chili in a chip bag variety we’ve tried, this version is made with lengua (yes, thatlengua) and served in a heaping cast-iron skillet. It’s handsome, it’s hearty, and you will feel no shame for scraping up every last bit.
Bar Ama, 118 West 4th Street (between Main Street and Spring Street); 213-687-8002.