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Los Angeles

The Lime x L.A. TACO Guide to Hollywood

4:30 PM PST on November 15, 2019

    Los Angeles is a city defined by neighborhoods you move through. But it’s hard not to feel isolated and stuck in your bubble. We created this guide, in partnership with Lime, to spotlight the tried-and-true spots that tie locals together.

    [dropcap size=big]T[/dropcap]here’s a memorable, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment towards the end of last summer’s Quentin Tarantino blockbuster, Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood.

    Sitting at the Mexican restaurant El Coyote, right before Sharon Tate and Jay Sebring are ostensibly about to have their last meal, they glance east on Beverly Boulevard towards a spotlight glowing at the edge of the frame. Tate mentions that it looks like they’re having a premiere. Sebring raises his eyebrows and responds, “a premiere at the porno theater?”

    That inside joke speaks almost exclusively to old-school L.A. movie lovers. In 1969, the theater in question was known as the Europa and exclusively screened erotic films. A half-century later, the theater belongs to Tarantino himself. Long since renamed The New Beverly Cinema, it is arguably the city’s principal rallying point for cinephiles, screening programming that is curated by the Pulp Fiction director seven days a week, typically featuring 35 mm films from the legendary director’s private collection.

    Los Angeles has world-famous neighborhoods like Santa Monica and Hollywood, Silver Lake and Venice, but there are vast swaths of cohesive blocks that are harder to pin down by common geography, nomenclature or media coverage (though, inevitably, eager real estate brokers have names for them that no resident would ever use).

    Some people may lump certain sections of the city into Mid-Wilshire. Or Miracle Mile. Mid-City or Fairfax. But this is one of the central charms of L.A.; a certain inability to pin everything down with absolute certainty, forcing everyone to create their own individual sense of discovery as they press on through its streets.

    These culturally vibrant areas demand a closer look, as they get historically slept on for more stereotypically glamorous sections. Spots where all walks of life connect in line for popcorn or tacos, at comic book store signings or while listening to the L.A. Phil in a legendary outdoor amphitheater.

    The waitresses are garbed in billowing traditional dresses and serve piping hot albondigas, tantalizing guacamole, and extra cheesy tacos, burritos, and enchiladas that define the gut-busting excess of California Mexican cuisine.

    This journey starts at the New Beverly, a crown jewel that draws celluloid worshippers from all over the world. A monument with a history that reflects the neighborhood’s own. Built as a nightclub at the tail end of the Roaring ’20s, it first became the New Globe before turning into a Yiddish theater by the beginning of the Eisenhower era. Surrounded by temples, this area has long served as a hub of Orthodox Jewish-Angeleno life.

    By the mid-‘60s, the theater became an adult movie house, before briefly shutting its doors in 1977. Re-opening as the New Beverly Cinema the following year, with a Marlon Brando double-bill of A Streetcar Named Desire and Last Tango in Paris, it sparked an unprecedented 42-year streak as the city’s best unofficial film graduate program. From film luminaries to aspiring screenwriters, directors, and actors—everyone with a deep love for the art form has munched on popcorn inside these walls. You can even catch an old screening schedule on Jon Favreau’s fridge in Swingers. During a period of financial duress, Tarantino swept in to save his favorite theater, and has been at its helm since 2007.

    The most iconic L.A. date night possible may be catching an early movie at the New Beverly and a late dinner at El Coyote, the nearly 90-year-old Mexican-American landmark that serves the city’s best margaritas (according to Los Angeles Magazine and the Los Angeles Times.) The waitresses are garbed in billowing traditional dresses and serve piping hot albondigas, tantalizing guacamole, and extra cheesy tacos, burritos, and enchiladas that define the gut-busting excess of California Mexican cuisine. It’s not fancy or regionally authentic, but it has an endearing familiarity that has led generations of local gringos to turn it into a tradition—from average joes, to Carol Burnett and Robin Williams, to the cast of Vanderpump Rules, who are often filmed dining at this, their favorite restaurant.

    Further north in Hollywood, you'll find a solid concentration of historical landmarks where you can thankfully also find a drink. In the famed capital of moviemaking, check out Boardner’s, Frolic Room, the Formosa Cafe, Yamashiro, and Musso & Frank Grill—classic watering holes that channel the spirits of Chandler, Faulkner and Bukowski.

    But the most venerable institution in this part of town is The Hollywood Bowl, arguably the most famous outdoor concert venue in the U.S. Built in 1929, the site’s scallop-shaped exterior stands in a natural amphitheater that ancient Athens would’ve envied.

    More recently, the district where Fairfax meets Melrose has turned into the country’s streetwear capital. Finding the hot spot these days is as simple as searching out whatever eternally long line idles outside one of its many sneaker boutiques.

    From late spring to fall, it hosts the L.A. Philharmonic and a number of impeccably curated concerts that span across jazz, indie rock, reggae, and soul. The Doors. The Beatles. James Brown. Sinatra and Kraftwerk. Just think of an immortal musician and it’s likely they’ve graced this 17,500-seat theater, where there’s no such thing as a bad view.

    Over the last several decades, nearby Melrose Avenue has been celebrated as a retail paradise. During the 1980s, it achieved notoriety as a hangout for the city’s burgeoning punk scene and everyone else who just had to have green hair or pants held together with safety pins. Even if it’s wider name recognition comes from a series about photogenic yuppies.

    More recently, the district where Fairfax meets Melrose has turned into the country’s streetwear capital. Finding the hot spot these days is as simple as searching out whatever eternally long line idles outside one of its many sneaker boutiques.

    Beyond the expected Supreme Store and vintage emporium Wasteland, this part of town has always served as a hot spot for cultural propagation. Take Golden Apple Comics, the town's primary landing pad for comic book aficionados.

    Long before the Marvel multi-verse became a mainstream spectacle, this comic book outpost on Melrose and La Brea served as the spot kids begged their parents to take them every weekend. No less than the legend Stan Lee himself once declared that it was his favorite spot: “When [I] go to a bookstore, I go to the Golden Apple,” Lee once said. “It’s a great comic book store.” Bob Wayne, the vice president of Lee’s rival, DC Comics, has called Golden Apple “one of the most important comic book stores in the world.”

    The newest spot in the neighborhood also happens to be its most infamous. If you’ve never heard of the On Some Shit store, you probably haven’t been paying much attention to rap over the last few years—especially raucous strain bubbling up on the Soundcloud platform. The shop is owned by Adam22, host of No Jumper, a video podcast that the New York Times once called “the Paris Review for the face tattoo set.”

    Leo's Tacos, on the corner of Venice Boulevard and La Brea, is the city’s favorite for true tacos al pastor, thin slices of marinated pork shaved off the spit by a bladed expert, a wedge of pineapple fluidly nipped from the crown at the last second before they're served.

    In the store’s anterior are custom-made tees, BMX bikes and gear, and Kendama toys for sale. Out front, you can always find dozens of teenagers and 20-somethings clotting the sidewalk, a communal sub-culture forming in real-time, just waiting to get a glimpse of the proprietor or the famous figures that appear on his show. The guest list includes the likes of Juice WRLD, Lil Yachty, and Trippie Redd, not to mention many of the higher paid adult film stars currently working today—a reminder that as much as the neighborhood has changed, Hollywood Babylon remains eternal.

    And while this legendary cluster of L.A. neighborhoods tends to have more trendy restaurants than the game-changing Mexican food abundant in others, there are some treasures to seek out.

    Leo's Tacos, on the corner of Venice Boulevard and La Brea, is the city’s favorite for true tacos al pastor, thin slices of marinated pork shaved off the spit by a bladed expert, a wedge of pineapple fluidly nipped from the crown at the last second before they're served.

    A little further south, L.A. Birria is fully armed for the birria de res zeitgeist in West Adams, with all the cheesy, crispy quesataco mutations that entails. To the east in Koreatown, amongst hundreds of places to grill your own meats, Guelaguetza is the city’s, probably the country’s, greatest champion of Oaxacan cooking.


    The Lime x L.A. Taco guide to Silver Lake
    The Lime x L.A. Taco guide to Hollywood
    The Lime x L.A. Taco guide to Leimert Park
    The Lime x L.A. Taco guide to Downtown L.A.
    The Lime x L.A. Taco guide to Venice & Santa Monica

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