Gastronomy 101, a blog about food and Los Angeles restaurants

LOS ANGELES: Hidden Los Angeles Part 6: Jake's Picks

For the sixth edition of my "hidden" Los Angeles report, I have Jake's picks. Jake is a recent MBA and workaholic who somehow still manages to find the time to have fun. His picks are all of the food and merriment variety, and really who doesn't like to eat and drink?

The Bowery: Located next to celeb hangout Magnolia in the newly renovated section of Hollywood radiating outward from Amoeba and the Arclight, The Bowery is a low key alternative to the Hollywood cliche hotspots. The Bowery, created by native NYCer George Abou-Daoud, aims to be a New York style bar and bistro that is comfortable, yet elegant.

The menu consists of simple pub fare upgraded for big city tastes. There's also a hand-picked wine list, a full bar, and beer, including PBR in a can for you hipsters. The Bowery is decorated like a subway stop. And the food? I have only been there once and I remember having a decent sandwich and a fun time. But don't just listen to me. Sarah liked it, and she ain't afraid to tell you.

This is a good stop pre- or post-Cinerama dome, or after you've exhausted yourself pouring through the acreage of CDs at Amoeba. You refuel, and get your drink on in a low-hassle manner, unlike many of the other bars and restaurants nearby.

The Bowery
6268 Sunset Blvd @ Vine
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 465-3400

Paco's Tacos: Jake describes Paco's Tacos as hole-in-the-all Mexican with great prices and awesome margaritas. He also marvels at the bizarre decor, which completes the picture. In addition to tacos and burrito's, the menu features "regional" dishes and "native" dishes. Native dishes appear to be dishes that are particular to the different states of Mexico.

I do believe they are known for their homemade tortillas, so it's probably worth trying just for that. If you're on the Westside go there to either create or recover from your hangover.

Paco's Tacos
4141 S. Centinela Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 391-9616

HotCakes Bakes: Moving down the block from Paco's you'll arrive at HotCakes Bakes, a bakery of course. According to Jake it is the most unpretentious bakery around with the best stuff, too. He commands you to try the butterscotch brownie.

I am a fair an balanced reporter, so I feel compelled to tell you that reviews are mixed on the internets: Caroline on Crack and Potatomato both had less than stellar experiences. Although I note that the owner is French and takes pride in her French pastries, so you may want to lean toward the pastries with the accent Francais, like macarons or caneles. Cupcakes are two dollars, and they also serve lunch in addition to desserts.

HotCakes Bakes
4119 S. Centinela @Washington
Los Angeles, CA 90066
(310) 397-2324

Killer Shrimp: If you haven't been to Killer Shrimp, let me tell you a secret. You must like two things: shrimp and SPICY to eat here. Killer shrimp basically just makes drunken shrimp New Orleans style and gives it to you in a bag-ass bowl with a thing of bread. If you're not feeling the bread, then you can have rice or pasta instead. And ... that's it. That's your choices.

It's not just a meal, it's a project! The shrimp are whole, in the shell and they are drowning in this spicy, beery sauce, so you have to first locate them, then deshell them. It will make you feel nice and primitive to be ripping the legs right off your food before you eat it. Make sure to give instructions to be supplied with lots of beverages. This stuff will burn you and then burn some more, but in a really delicious way.

Also, don't wear your nice clothes, especially not white, and maybe bring some of those wipe things for your hands. It's not a clean thing to eat.

Killer Shrimp
523 Washington Blvd.
Marina Del Rey, CA 90292
(310) 578-2293


Bar Melody: This is like one of those scary dive bars you are never sure if you should go in or not. This one is located near the airport and Jake assures me that you most certainly can go in there. You'll probably find lots of airport workers and locals. Jake also vouches for the live music there, and I'm going to go ahead and guess that the drinks are a bit cheaper.

Bar Melody
9132 S. Sepulveda
Los Angeles, CA 90045
(310) 670-1994


Wow, great picks. We've never ventured into Bar Melody, but now that we know we can, we just might. Killer Shrimp is also more fun as a group instead of a couple, I think, because there is so much peeling and bib-wearing. Not a great place to go on a first date.

said by jessica at 10:33 PM Delete

Interesting mix of places -- I can vouch for the deliciousness of the Bowery's sweet potato fries & their "the Works" burger; alas, not so hidden anymore, it was quite packed and VERY loud last time I went.

said by H. C. at 10:38 AM Delete

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