I just spent 3 days in The Valley. Yes - horror of all horrors. I was taking a workshop over there - you know, enhancing some skills and what I found was just incredible - it was the food I've been looking for all over LA! All within a few miles of where I was spending long, long days holed up in front of a computer.
Koko's - I kid you not - maybe the best Middle Eastern I've had on the West Coast. One bite of the velvety hummus and I was braving the dusty streets of some two-horse town in Lebanon. Same goes for the fluffed out rice and the perfect feta salad (now, this was before the vegan comment, mind you - haven't had dairy or eggs since then). Located in a dreary strip mall.
Next day was Thai. Kinnara - found in a bustling little strip mall. Full transport on over to Thailand - with nothing but a backpack and loose sense of hunger leading the way to the freshest papaya salad in the world and a pile of smoking green beans. Joy.
Final day was a jovial joint run by a Vietnamese dude named Kevin (I know this cause every single patron called him by name). A tiny spot called Vinh Loi Tofu - where they have a full blown tofu factory set up rocking in the back. Yep one bite in, I was over in S. East Asia, to Vietnam...a place I've never been but have been dreaming about since birth, I'm sure. I slurped down a loaded down bowl of tofu curry and slammed a Thai Iced Tea from the happy folks at the Viet shop next door. Again, strip mall heaven.
So, turns out the valley is good for one thing - good eats. And, who knew Van Nuys had an airport. And....it only took me a half hour to get there. LESS than it takes me to get to friggin Hollywood. Good to know, good to know.
And - don't you know it on the way home that final day, I stopped by my fave Mexican joint and ordered up a horchata...and the f'er was half frozen. Most insane treat of all time. I guess if you can't hit the road, may the road hit you.