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What To Eat This Weekend In L.A.: Sonoran-Style Chicharrón, Tikka Masala Fried Chicken, Japanese Curry Arancini, and ‘Flintstones Burgers’

Plus a breezy new restaurant in the South Bay, Guam-style barbecue at the races, smoked birria, and cassava tortillas. Here's where to eat this weekend from Cudahy to West Adams to Arcadia!

In which L.A. TACO's Hadley Tomicki fills you in on the most exciting new restaurants, pop-ups, and events cracking in and around Los Angeles...


A huge burger skewered with a beef rib
A Flinstones-inspired burger featuring a beef rib at Tacburg. Photo via Tacburg/Instagram.

Tacburg is a restaurant dedicated to tacos and burgers, soft-opening today in Whittier. The food here is pointedly unsubtle, with a menu reveling in tacos de asada topped with split, marrow-filled shanks, al pastor burgers loaded with caramelized pineapple rings,  a Flintstones burger speared with an entire beef rib, and Sonoran-inspired bacon-wrapped and hot-dog-filled chiles.

"We wanted to bring something different," an owner tells L.A. TACO. "We all love tacos, burgers, and hot dogs. We just amplified them to certain things we grew up with... for example, the chile relleno hot dog. I remember that during cuaresma (Lent), all we ate was chile rellenos. So we created plates that take us back."

6541 Greenleaf Ave. Whittier, CA 90601. Closest transit lines and stop: Norwalk Transit Line 7 - "Greenleaf/Hadley" or Montebello Bus Lines Routes 10 and 50 - "Philadelphia/Milton."

Santa Monica

Watermelon and yellowtail sashimi on a black plate
Yellowtail and watermelon sashimi at Chelsea. Photo by Watermelon and yellowtail sashimi on a black plateYellowtail and watermelon sashimi at Chelsea. Photo by Cara Harman.

Chelsea is now open in Santa Monica from father-and-son Moez and Karim Megji, owners of Wood & Water in Sherman Oaks. Chef de cuisine Manolo Espejel's kitchen unites a harmonious world of big flavors with dishes including harissa lamb tartare, escargot-stuffed mushrooms, naan bread with raita, tagliatelle with boar ragu, tikka masala fried chicken, a hoisin-marinated porkchop, and a New Zealand seabass in coconut lemongrass broth. 

Drinks include a cherry wood-smoked Manhattan with walnut bitters and the "American Samurai," with olive oil-washed vodka, yuzu, lime, and arugula, with a wide selection of wines by the glass.

2460 Wilshire Blvd. Santa Monica, CA 90403. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Line 720 - "Wilshire/26th" or Bus Line 4 - "Santa Monica/26th."  


A tray of golden brown chicharrones
Chicharrónes at Carnitas y Chicharrónes Méndez. Photo via Carnitas y Chicharrónes Méndez/Instagram

New Sonoran specialty unlocked! Carnitas y Chicharrónes Méndez shows off the porkier side of the northern state synonymous with sizzling beef and flour tortillas. The stand offers cazo-fried chicharrones, cueritos, pork ribs, buche, panzita, and other forms of carnitas in tacos, tacos dorados and "semidorados," sopes with asiento, quesadillas, tortas, and bulk to-go containers for your events or personal pig-outs. The business also sells Sonoran products, including machaca and coyotas (cassava tortillas).

Sat.-Sun. 8 AM - 3:30 PM, 4944 Patata St. Cudahy, CA 90201. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 260 and 611 - "Atlantic/Patata."

Culver City

A beef rib on a tray with a bun, brussels sprouts, and mac-and-cheese on the side
A smoked beef rib with honey butter bread, brussels sprouts, and mac-and-cheese from Smokin Woods. Photo via Smokin Woods.

Straight out of North Oakland, barbecue restaurant Smokin Woods is setting up shop in L.A. this weekend.  What do they smoke? Whaaddya got? They've got Texas-style brisket, handmade beef links, tri-tip, St. Louis-style pork ribs, chicken, pulled pork, salmon, and one big ol', badass "colossal" beef rib. Sides include honey butter bread, mac-and-cheese, and collards with turkey. Available for takeout and online orders.

1870 W. Washington Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90007. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 35 and 206 - "Washington/Normandie" or Bus Line 33 - "Venice/Normandie."

West Adams

A chef in a Dodger hat stands on the street showing off two arancini he made
Ateball chef Steve Cho with two of his arancini. Photo by Hadley Tomicki.

Ateball sells arancini in creative recipes from chef Steve Cho, who previously owned and operated KTown's Soseji sausage pop-up. Ateball's offerings include a risotto rice ball filled with Japanese/Korean-inspired curry (which is sold at Kyu, where the first 50 guests will receive one free sample tomorrow), a Brazilian-inspired coxinha arancini with creamy chicken, bacon, and creme fraiche, and a classic Italian with ragu. Stayed tuned to Instagram for updates on its June pop-ups to get the Ateball rolling!

10 AM - 12 P.M., 2100 W. Washington Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90018. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 35 and 207 - "Washington/Western" or Bus Line 33 - "Venice/Harvard."

Manhattan Beach

Two large split shrimp with a hand picking up a lemon from the plate.
Wood-grilled New Caledonia shrimp with Calabrian chile butter at Brewco Social. Photo by Patrick Record.

Brewco Social opened this week in Downtown Manhattan Beach, serving a panoply of items that beach-adjacent Californian communities enjoy, including pao de queijo, wood-grilled New Caledonia shrimp with Calabrian chile butter, Jidori chicken and rotisserie lamb sandwiches, sushi rolls, and main dishes like spicy Korean Duroc pork spare ribs,  Bavarian wiener schnitzel, pasta pomodoro, and spit-roasted chicken with skinny fries. Dessert involves caramel-injected frozen custard dipped in chocolate and placed in a waffle cone and there are 24 locally brewed beers on draft, as well as cocktails.

124 Manhattan Beach Blvd. Manhattan Beach, CA 90266. Closest transit line and stop: Beach Cities Transit Line 109 - "Manhattan/10th."


Nachos covered in brisket in a basket with a red-and-white checkerboard color scheme
Brisket nachos from Saulito's. Photo via Saulito's/Instagram.

Smorgasburg is holding its first ever BBQ Invitational at Santa Anita Park over three days this weekend, starting Saturday. There will be seven celebrated and up-and-coming BBQ vendors competing, plus carnival rides, horse racing, and an adjacent beer festival (May 25 and 26).

The participating BBQ vendors are Beatdown BBQ with such hits as smoked birria and BBQ burritos, the Guam-style BBQ of Island Smoke & Grill, Domestic BBQ and its chipotle-barbecued breakfast flautas, Mecha BBQ (makes of smoked nachos and mole-smoked tacos), Zef BBQ, Saulito's, and Nia & Jag's.

The winning vendor will win a permanent spot at Smorgasburg's weekly Sunday market. Tickets here.

May 25-27, 11 AM - 7 PM, 285 W. Huntington Dr. Arcadia, CA 91007. Closest transit lines and stop: Metro Bus Line 179 or Foothill Transit Line 187 - "Huntington/Holly."

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