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Spot Check! Kashmiri Duck Tacos in DTLA, Colombian Tamales Tolimenses in N. Hollywood, Chicano Burgers, and Free Edibles With Kogi Tacos

Spot Check! Welcome to L.A. TACO’s column, where we bring you the latest and most exciting openings, pop-ups, finds, and food events around Los Angeles this week.

2:18 PM PDT on May 9, 2023

Baar Baar DTLA, photo: Wonho Frank Lee

Dog.R LA, Gerardo Pacheco's Venezuelan hot dog business covered here in 2022, now has a food truck of its very own. In addition to roaming the city to various locales, Dog.R is posting up weekly at Wednesday's farmers market in Altadena, the City Hall Farmers Market on Thursdays, and Smorgasburg on Sundays.

Missing the comfort that only banana leaf-wrapped pork, chicken, veggie, and egg-filled Colombian tamales Tolimenses can offer? Give a call to North Hollywood's Casa de Tamal Colombiano, which is making them from 38 years of experience. The business might know how to hook you up with a lovely lechona, as well, also representing the Tolima region.

Up 'N Smoke is now open in South Gate from the owners of Tacos El Unico. The new concept will offer tacos with smoked brisket on Sonoran flour tortillas and blue corn taquitos with carnitas, as well as fries topped with brisket or carnitas.

2801 Firestone Blvd. South Gate, CA 90280. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 60 or 115 - “Firestone/Long Beach.”

You're in Venice and in quite a state. Your appetite unsated by any familiar forms, you wander into Philly's Exotic Snacks on Lincoln. Suddenly you're confronted by colorful packages of fried crab XO and double cheeseburger Lay's, melon-flavored Kit Kat, waffle-and-cheese Ritz, bright blue colas, and beef brisket taco Doritos. You may be about to spend some serious money on munchies...

2556 Lincoln Blvd. Venice, CA 90291.

Birrieria Ricky's Estilo Tijuana is now open in Lennox for birria de res and asada, served in mulitas, tacos, quesatacos, and burritos, as well as the occasional birria de res pizza.

10836 Hawthorne Blvd. Inglewood, CA 90304. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 40 or 212 - “Hawthorne/Lennox.”

Josh Gil's Mirate is now serving weekend brunch in Los Feliz, including the breakfast burrito you see here, plus fried chicken, hangar steak, or pork belly chilaquiles, molletes with pickled ayocote beans, and "Chicano burgers" with mil islas, grilled onions, fried egg, and sharp cheddar.

1712 N. Vermont Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90027. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 180, 206 or 217 - “Hollywood/New Hampshire.”

This Wednesday, esteemed agave sorcerer Mal Bien Mezcal will join Messhall Kitchen in Los Feliz for a unique mezcal tasting and dinner, featuring chef Charbel Adaimy's dishes such as grasshopper tetelas and braised pork neck barbacoa paired with a Tepextate from mezcaleros Felipo and Ageo Cortes, and smoked goat with spicy mole served with papalote from Guerrero, made by mezcaleros Ciro and Javier Barranca. Tickets and details here.

4500 Los Feliz Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90027. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 180 - “Los Feliz/Hillhurst.”

Green chickpea and avocado bhel puri at Baar Barr, credit: Evan Sung/NY Times

Kolkata-raised chef Sujan Sakar has brought his acclaimed Indian gastro bar Baar Baar to Downtown L.A., opening last week on the corner of 9th and Flower in the former Faith & Flower space. The high-energy, beautifully-appointed space offers creative, modern, and photogenic dishes such as tacos with birria-inspired Kashmiri duck, dahi puri with avocado, lamb shank road with cilantro, rose, mint, and Nihari gravy, and monkfish osso bucco with millet khcidi and rhubabr achar. Cocktails are named for Indian films, such as the milk-washed RRR, with rum, crème de cacao, chocolate, and coffee bitters.

705 W. 9th St. Los Angeles, CA 90015. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 28, 81 or Metro J Line (910/950) - “Flower/Olympic” or Metro A, B, D and E Lines - "7th Street/Metro Center Station."

Con Todo Tacos is serving tacos al pastor in Larchmont in the evening from an owner-taquero-artist from Veracruz named Asta, along with other meats including buche, cabeza, and suadero.

367 N. Western Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90004. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 14, 207 or 210 - “Western/Beverly.”

photo: Jakob Layman

Maple Block Chicken is now popping up weekly from Mike Garrett & Daniel Weinstock, owners of Culver City's Maple Block BBQ, and pitmaster Rudy Suazo. Catch it through May, Sundays at the Brentwood Farmer’s Market and Wednesdays at the Miracle Mile Farmer’s Market, serving coal-grilled, spin-roasted spatchcock chicken, carved to order, as well as fries topped with chopped chicken, gravy, and a drizzle of three sauces, including white, mojo, and aji verde.

This Friday, May 12, Tsumo will be giving out tastes of Roy Choi's THC-infused Spicy Cheesy Ramen and Spaghetti & Meatballs snacks on Abbot Kinney. While the first 100 visitors get a free Kogi taco plate, everyone who comes gets to meet the chef. It's all going down at MadMen in Venice from 12-2pm. Swag bags and surprises are also being teased. RSVP here.

1310 Abbot Kinney Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90291. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 33 - “Venice/Abbot Kinney.”

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