Urban Myth

Ξ April 26th, 2010 | → 1 Comments | ∇ 90041, 90042, Beyond Northeast, Highland Park, Press |

In honor of Ira Glass’ recent excoriation of Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner, we’ve decided to address a couple of recent descriptions of our neighborhood that don’t sit well with us.  If you haven’t heard This American Life’s episode “True Urban Legend”, Poizner has some difficulty defending his depiction of his semester at San Jose’s Mt. Pleasant High School, which he generally portrayed as the opening scene from the Gangsta’s Paradise music video.  Likewise, we’d like to call to task two depictions of our neighborhoods that seem to stand more on urban myth than reality.

First, our local Northeast paper wrote what appeared to be a well-intentioned bucolic description of a neighborhood walk.  Just like the old Highlights Magazine covers, see if you can spot something incongruous:

Now I am in full view of the Eagle Rock.  She looks down over treetops.  I wonder will the trees soon block her from view?  I stop and look here, then there, all along the way to the post office and see everything, and everything is in bloom, everything is shining.  Even the homeless people near McDonald’s look shiny and new.  Legs aching, I wait for the Dash bus to bring me back home.  That was a good walk.

Now onto something that I can more effectively apply logic to, the travel website Wikitravel.org needs a geography lesson from the bloggers over at LAEastside.  Not only do they commit the cardinal sin in their entry on Los Angeles in defining the Eastside as “north of downtown and east of Hollywood”, but for some unknown reason, they locate Highland Park and Eagle Rock in East L.A.  Now, mistakenly placing Hollywood and Highland as the center of Los Angeles  has been debated ad-nauseum on the internet, and to be fair, at least Wikitravel didn’t place us “east of East L.A.”.  What bothers me is the warning to travellers that East L.A., which includes Eagle Rock and Highland Park, is “dangerous regardless of time of day and should be avoided altogether when walking if possible“.  I don’t for a moment delude myself into thinking that brochures for Northeast Los Angeles will begin disappearing from the shelves of travel agents in Buffalo, but one of the reasons we founded this website was to accurately craft an image of our neighborhood for friends who joked about bringing their passports to drive east of the 5.

Therefore, I’d like to see a concerted effort on all of our parts to correct the Wikitravel article.  Correctly defining Los Angeles’ Eastside isn’t my prerogative, but the article should at least properly define East L.A. and avoid characterizing it as somewhere to avoid at all costs.  I hope to see you on their discussion page.



Ξ April 22nd, 2010 | → 1 Comments | ∇ 90042, Food, Highland Park |

This post would have been much more appropriate for 4/20; unfortunately,  I didn’t discover Highland Park’s newest jewel in our street-food crown until last night: A churros cart at the Figueroa Street Marketplace.  Apparently, my girlfriend has been hiding this from me for months as she’s dieting, but I’m pretty sure last night’s freshly fried dough dipped in sugar put her over her points for the day.  Seven churros cost three dollars and they sell fried plantains as well.  According to the owner, they’re parked next to Taco Sabroso, in front of the Food 4 Less parking lot every night until 10:30.  The inevitable reprimands from your dentist will be worth the dopamine rush in your brain’s pleasure center.

Courtesy: spottedbylocals.com

Courtesy: spottedbylocals.com


YorkBlvd’s Guide to an Authentic Cinco de Mayo

Ξ April 21st, 2010 | → 2 Comments | ∇ 90042, Beyond Northeast, Drinks, Food, Highland Park |

So you’ve decided to celebrate a Mexican holiday that most of Mexico doesn’t observe in the American tradition of appropriating foreign holidays as an excuse to drink? (See: St. Patrick’s Day and Oktoberfest).  Before loading up your fridge with Trader Joe’s carne asada (which I love) and your cooler with Coronas (which I don’t), let the gringos at YorkBlvd add a dash of Poblano authenticity to your annual celebration of kicking French ass.  (Just don’t make mention of the subsequent French occupation of Puebla and Mexico City.)

1.  We’ve harped on this before, but Highland Park has its own cornerstone of Poblano cuisine near the corner of Avenue 50 and Monte Vista inside Eibis Restaurant.  The cemitas are good, but the tacos arabes will make for a unique appetizer and a history lesson on 19th Century Mexican immigration.

Taco Arabe

Taco Arabe

2.  Just 15 minutes away (on a weekend), El Mercado de Los Angeles in East L.A. carries more Mexican merchandise than you can shake a cesta at.  Specifically, the second floor boasts two shops that sell a variety of regional moles.  I prefer the mole oaxaceña, but since we’re celebrating the Battle of Puebla, we’ll go with the mole poblano.  The mole is sold as a concentrated paste that goes a long way.  Stir chicken broth in over a medium heat, and pour over chicken for a rich main course.  Again, there is a Mexican history lecture that can accompany this course if you like being the wisenheimer of the party.

Enchiladas with Mole Poblano

Enchiladas with Mole Poblano

3.  Our gift to you is the only English recipe on the internet for the Poblano menjul, a central Mexican version of the Mint Julep:

Place six mint leaves and one tablespoon sugar in an old fashioned glass.  (Instead of sugar, a simple syrup should also work nicely.)  Fill glass with crushed ice.  In a shaker, mix two ounces of Amontillado, two ounces dark rum, a few drops of creme de menthe, and a few drops of Angostura bitters.  Shake thoroughly and pour into glass.

Menjul and Michilada

Menjul and Michilada


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