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Where To Eat This Weekend: Bulgogi Pupusas, Hemp Seed Guacamole, ‘Sticky Rice Sticks,’ and Korean Street Food In Venice

Plus an Roman chef veteran in a Hollywood apartment, chocolate Cuba Libres, Uzbeki plov with lazer rice, and cochinita melts in a Silver Lake yard. Here are the best things to eat around Los Angeles (and San Juan Capistrano!) this weekend.

VENICE

Owner Ken Lee at Assa in Venice. Photo by Hadley Tomicki for L.A. TACO.

We can't recall seeing a street stand devoted to Korean food in L.A. But now there's Assa (which they tell us is like the Korean version of "¡vamanos!"), setting up on Lincoln on the sidewalk in front of Whole Foods in Venice. The stand comes from husband-and-wife team Ken and Savannah Lee, who together prepare gimbap, cup-bap, bulgogi with noodles, bulgogi and pork tacos, bulgogi burgers, and a variety of packaged ramen from Korea.

Lincoln Blvd. just north of Rose Ave. Venice, CA 90291. Closest transit lines and stop: Santa Monica Big Blue Bus Lines 3 and Rapid 3 - "Lincoln/Rose" or Santa Monica Big Blue Bus Line 18 - "Rose/6th."

PICO-UNION

A spicy pork bulgogi pupusa at La Pupusa. Photo via @LaPupusaDTLA/Instagram.

Downtown's La Pupusa Urban Eatery is teasing us with a secret menu of 15 L.A.-influenced pupusas, including Korean barbecue pupusas topped with your choice of spicy pork bulgogi or beef bulgogi, and a spicy kimchi curtido made with gochujang. The restaurant also offers a 10-pound pupusa with an expected wait time of 45 minutes and asks, "Who’s going to get mad at us now for being influenced by our own life and growing up in L.A.?"

1051 W. Washington Blvd. Unit # G Los Angeles, California 90015. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Line 35 - "Washington/Union", Bus Line 33 - "Venice/Union", or Bus Lines 2 and 603 - "Hoover/Washington."

VENICE

Two Wagyu tartare crisps with horseradish from Venice's Gran Blanco
Wagyu tartare crisp with horseradish at Gran Blanco. Photo via Jakob Layman.

Gran Blanco, Venice's chic restaurant (and sister concept to Great White), is now reopen in its Abbot Kinney-designed former Bank of Venice space, following a reworking of its interiors, as well as a Japanese metamorphosis of its food and drink menu. Dishes include a katsu chicken curry, tonkatsu brussel sprouts, wagyu tartare crisps and toro caviar crisps, yellowtail crudo with yuzu balsamic, and sticky rice sticks.

To drink, you'll find low-intervention sake, wines from small producers, amaros, vermouths, and cocktails like a yuzu-and-clementine-based Cosmopolitan.

80 Windward Ave. Venice, CA 90291. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 33 - "Main/Grand."

WESTLAKE

A bowl of Uzebk plov with lamb, rice, and a big green chile
Lamb pilaf with lazer rice. Photo via The Osh's website.

Remember the last time you were craving Uzbeki food but had few places to turn to? Now you'll just order delivery from Westlake-based The Osh, which specializes in the nation's most famous dishes, such as beef or lamb plov (pilaf) with Uzbek lazer rice, manti dumplings, lamb cabbage rolls, shurpa stew, and fruit-and-honey compote to drink.

1644 Wilshire Boulevard. Los Angeles, CA 90017. Closest Metro lines and stop: Metro B and D Lines - "Westlake/MacArthur Park Station", Bus Line 20 - "Wilshire/Union", Bus Line 51 - "7th/Burlington", Bus Line 18 - "6th/Burlington", or Bus Lines 2 and 720 - "Wilshire/Alvarado."

Spring polenta, made with fresh white corn and sautéed shrimp with brandy sauce. Photo via @da_barbara_p/Instagram.

HOLLYWOOD

Rome-raised, veteran L.A. chef Barbara Pollastrini has opened da Barabara in Hollywood, after converting an apartment into a romantic restaurant. Here she's serving elegant and beautiful dishes using the best ingredients from Italy and California. Dishes include housemade ricotta with Kaluga caviar and lemon jam, pappa al pomodoro tortelli, filet mignon rolls stuffed with prosciutto di parma, Parmigiano Reggiano, caramelized onion, and wine sauce. Wines are BYO, with a $20 corkage fee for the first two bottles and $20 for each subsequent one. Dishes are offered a la carte and on different tiers of tasting menus, while lunch is coming in May.

6411 Fountain Ave. LW4 Los Angeles, CA 90028. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Line 210 - "Vine/Fountain", Bus Line 2 - "Sunset/Ivar", or Bus Line 4 - "Santa Monica/Wilcox." 

SILVER LAKE

A cochinita melt sandwich on the griddle
Cochinita melt, via 901 Cochinita

901 Cochinita Tacos is serving its cochinita pibil melt this Sunday at its home base in Silver Lake from 11 A.M. to 4 P.M. and will also pop up at Frogtown Brewery this Tuesday evening starting at 4 P.M.

901 Sanborn Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90029. Closest Metro line and stop: Bus Line 4 - "Santa Monica/Hoover."

LOS FELIZ

A carne asada burrito at Guac Daddy. Photo via @theguacdaddy/Instagram.

While the name makes us squirm in our skin, we remain somewhat intrigued by Guac Daddy, which opens this Saturday next to the Los Feliz Theater. Claiming Mexico City-influenced cooking, the restaurant comes from a trio of partners who, among them, variously started places including Tu Madre, Halal Guys, and Tacos el Superior. The menu is built upon mesquite-grilled meats like asada and pollo asado in tacos, burritos, vampiros, and quesadillas. You'll also find birra de res, char-grilled bulgogi, trompo-roasted pollo al pastor, and vegetarian options like guacamole with hemp and chia seeds, tacos, burritos, and quesadillas with mushrooms, beans and cheese, and squash with corn, tomato, and mojo de ajo. A grand opening party begins tomorrow at 11 A.M. The first 100 guests will receive free tacos, and $1 tacos will be available throughout the weekend. In addition, expect a DJ and giveaways.

1824 N. Vermont Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90027. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Line 180 - "Vermont/Melbourne", Bus Lines 204, 206, 217, and 754 - "Vermont/Hollywood", or Metro B Line and Bus Lines 2 and 182 - "Vermont/Sunset Station."

CENTURY CITY

Old Fashioned with SelvaRey Rum Reserve, Giffard Banana du Brésil, Aztec Chocolate bitters, and brûléed banana. Photo by Hadley Tomicki for L.A. TACO.

Flat out in Century City with no safe harbor? Head to the tried-and-true address currently known as Fairmont Century Plaza, where the wintertime outdoor chalets have been turned into "Havana Nights"-style cabanas, complete with creatively-tweaked rum-soaked classics like chocolate-flavored Cuba Libres, banana-dosed Old Fashioneds, and rum-and-lime-spiked coconuts, plus snacks like picadillo croquetas and mini Cubano sandwiches.

2025 Avenue of the Stars Los Angeles, CA 90067. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 4 and 28 - "Santa Monica/Avenue of the Stars."

AROUND TOWN

Three packages of Kanha's high THC gummy belts

For lovers of high-potency cannabis edibles, Kanha Treats just released a 25 mg live rosin THC gummy belt, found in packs of four at California dispensaries.

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, O.C.

A hand gripping a blue corn taco
Blue corn tacos in San Juan Capistrano. Via the Ecology Center.

Tie Dye Taquería launches this Tuesday and returns every other week at The Ecology Center in San Juan Capistrano. The menu includes fish and vegetarian tacos on blue corn tortillas, including one with rockfish, salsa macha, and chile crema, and a charred cauliflower en mole in a phenomenally gorgeous setting.

32701 Alipaz St. San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675. Closest transit line and stop: OC Bus Line 91 - "Del Obispo/Camino Del Avion."

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