Added some mules to the carriage. Pleb map.
Halu is a teensy weensy restaurant in a neighborhood full of teensy weensies. They hit all the right notes when it comes to yakitori and ramen, and have a specials board—which overlaps with the regular menu curiously often—that features some off-the-beaten-path izakaya fare. Plus, if you order a bottle of sake and don’t finish it, they’ll ascribe your name and save it for you on a shelf with other people’s unfinished booze. What better incentive is there to encourage recidivism than your own food/booze waiting for you? Case in point: The other day I made a batch of potstickers and had one left over. I left it on the counter the whole next day, and as I was driving home from work that evening, I began to crave that lone, disgusting potsticker. I sped home and ate it. The point? Halu is that leftover, borderline dangerous potsticker.
Chilango. This is the place I’ve been waiting for. According to some reports, this place used to be a run-of-the-mill taqueria, maybe even worse than that. But now. Now! It’s like Nopalito without the price gouging. Like International Boulevard in Fruitvale without being in Fruitvale. Like dating Rick Bayless’s daughter. Exactly like that. This place is legit. Huaraches, pambasos, short rib tacos, and all the Mexican treats that going to a run-of-the-mill taqueria makes you crave.
Izakaya Sozai. I’m unfamiliar with the politics or backstory of how this joint came under the management of its current crew. I do know that they’re churning out the city’s best new bowl of ramen. And the best hamachi kama—broiled (fried??) yellowtail collar—I’ve had in recent days. And they are—they must be—intentionally hiring inordinately attractive waitresses, who, during my last visit, were drinking sake with a lonely customer (not me, seriously).