Huell Howser in the Northeast

Ξ June 14th, 2009 | → 4 Comments | ∇ Highland Park |

Channel surfing this afternoon, I ran across Huell Howser fawning all over Galcos Old World Grocery and their nostalgic stock of candy, soda, and beer.  Unfortunately, the man with his own drinking game doesn’t have the video on his site, but he does have the tape of a visit to Polka.  Enjoy California’s answer to Rick Steves.


Loncheros Unidos and other Mobile Food Updates

Ξ June 12th, 2009 | → Comments Off | ∇ Beyond Northeast, Food, Politics |

Not exactly NELA specific, but Thursday night, the newly official Loncheros Association celebrated their granting of “trade association” status at the UCLA Labor Center in MacArthur Park.  The food was excellent, the mood was upbeat, and everyone there was excited at how far the group has come while still recognizing how far they still have to go.  Essentially the Loncheros have organized in order to more effectively lobby the city, county, and state government.  While some degree of legislation is inevitable, they hope to be able to legitimize their businesses and reach a reasonable compromise that still allows them to make a living.  (For example, a one hour time limit punishable by jail time is not something they consider reasonable.)

Community Organizer Erin Glenn Speaks

Community Organizer Erin Glenn Speaks

We ran into El Random Hero from LA Eastside, and he took some photos and wrote a nice piece on his site.

In other related news:

  • Negative assumptions about taco trucks still abound.  I have  a feeling Eastsider LA  may be asking “Do taco trucks attract criminals as well as carne asada lovers?” in order to attract hits, but we’ll link to them nonetheless.  The answer is simple: Yes.  Everyone eats whether they be “criminal” or not, but I have never experienced Taco Trucks as being a magnet for illegal activity (beyond parking infractions).  In fact, I would argue that adding crowds and light to otherwise deserted streets make a neighborhood safer.  As for dealing drugs out of the trucks, that seems to be more of a Starbucks issue lately (but I doubt if the city will be trying to push them out of business anytime soon). 
  • Silver Lake and Echo Park are riding to the rescue of the ladies at Taco Zone.  Tonight Spaceland held a show benefiting the well-loved and recently firebombed taco truck.
  • Fox Searchlight has released the trailer for 500 Days of Summer starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel.  While this may seem totally unrelated to the loncheros (it mostly is), the production team was a big fan of the cause and invited us to an evening of shooting at the Redwood Bar & Grille downtown.  Look for the “Carne Asada is not a Crime” posters in one of the exterior shots when they put a mutual friend into a cab.  Unfortunately, that scene isn’t in the trailer.
  • Finally, Dwell magazine will be hosting a design forum downtown on June 26th.  The 12:00 panel will include yours truly, along with the owner of the Green Truck and the co-founder of Let’s Be Frank.  The topic on hand will be Los Angeles’ quickly changing mobile food scene.  Even better than listening to us talk for an hour will be Saturday’s “Mobile Restaurant Row”.


Another Victory for the Loncheros

Ξ June 10th, 2009 | → Comments Off | ∇ Highland Park |

We haven’t posted an update of the political wrangling over taco trucks in a while.  The county ordinance was struck down earlier this year, but over the past few months, the city of Los Angeles had begun selectively enforcing their own existing ordinance that had been long ignored by the LAPD.  Truck owners were being fined $150 for spending more than 30 minutes in a residential area or 60 minutes in a commercial area.  As the Time’s LA Now blog is reporting, the loncheros, with a lot of help from the UCLA Labor Center, have successfully defeated this attempt to limit their existence.  Had this ordinance been allowed to stand, neighborhood favorites such as Leo’s, Sonia’s, and Rambo’s would have had to shutter their trucks as they park on city streets.  Even you Kogiphiles out there would have technically been patronizing an illegal mobile vendor when they make their visits to Eagle Rock.

If you want to thank someone, congratulate the truck owners, or just enjoy some good food and music, the Loncheros Association will be celebrating their recent granting of trade association status tomorrow night at the UCLA Downtown Labor Center.  The group promises presentations by the affected members as well as by supportive politicians and community leaders.  If a similar event in East Los Angeles last year is any barometer, come hungry.

6 PM – 10 PM

UCLA Downtown Labor Center
675 S. Park View St.
Los Angeles, CA

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